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Why I Travel

Flashback to my early high school years, Saturday mornings were for lying in bed and scrolling through travel boards on Pinterest for hours on end. I had various travel related decorations scattered around my room, and still do. But now that I think of it, as I sit here writing this post, I remember having the desire to travel even before then. My earliest memories of wanting to travel came when I was around 9 years old. Disney Channel aired a mini-series called Pass The Plate, which introduced viewers to a variety of health-conscious meals from around the world. I vividly remember watching an episode that was filmed in Italy and thinking about how I hoped to go there someday. So, was the so-called “travel bug” something I was born with?

Either way, the thoughts and the daydreams are absolutely nothing compared to the actual experience. My first opportunity to travel internationally came during my senior year of high school, and I’ve been hooked ever since. Now here I am, 3 years and 13 countries later, writing this post and far exceeding my goal of one new country each year. So why do I travel?

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Talking to Cambodian students that were learning English. PC: Rachel Fullwood.

For me, travel is more than just having bragging rights. It’s all about the experience and the lessons learned, which brings me to reason number one:

  1. Travel has given me ENDLESS opportunities to learn. From museums and historical sites, to the people and their stories, there’s always something to be learned. I’ve learned more in the last three years than I ever learned in World History classes in school. 
  2. Travel has the potential to bring you extremely far out of your comfort zone (in a positive way!) and gives you an opportunity to try new things! I can’t even begin to list the number of “firsts” I’ve had while traveling.
  3. Traveling has given me more confidence, independence, and increased my ability to problem-solve. If you can navigate your way through a country that speaks almost no English, what can’t you do?
  4. Traveling to a new country is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. The feeling I get when I step foot into a new country, or finally visit a destination I’ve dreamt about for so long, is so surreal. Waves of thankfulness wash over me every single time and sometimes I’ll even shed a few tears.
  5. Lastly, it gives me the opportunity to disconnect and clear my head. It’s such a hateful time in the US at the moment, and negativity is something I can’t stand to be around. As important as politics are, it’s also important to disconnect for a little while if that’s what’s needed for your sanity and mental health. 

I’m not sure if any other travelers can relate, but typically I feel happiest and most comfortable when I’m halfway across the world. I get a sense of satisfaction knowing that I’ll never get to go everywhere. It’s incredible that the Earth is so big and there’ll always be some place that you’ve never been to. 

It’s that time of year where we reflect on our memories and share the things we’re most thankful for. For me, travel is definitely one of those things. What are you Thankful for? Comment below!

Have a happy Thanksgiving! 

Stephanie

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