Why I love to travel
How many times have you found yourself planning a trip and reaching out to everyone you know for travel tips– from where to eat, to where to stay, to where to explore! I gotcha covered. I’m a recent college grad living in the San Francisco Bay Area working hard but always playing harder. I have been to 50 countries and counting and I blame thank my constant case of wanderlust on my equally-as-addicted-to-traveling family. I grew up always exploring and seeing new worlds from the innocent and impressionable eyes of a kid. But it wasn’t until college that I truly discovered what it meant to travel, and not just vacation.
In the Spring of 2010, I was admitted to the study abroad program Semester at Sea, and my life has never been the same since. It was that Spring that I boarded a ship with 500 students for a semester of immersing ourselves in the cultures of Japan, China, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Cambodia, India, Mauritius, South Africa, Ghana and Brazil. We took classes on the ship but our main focus for four months circumnavigating our big world was to travel. Not to see places, but to understand people, not to sightsee, but to explore, not to be tourists, but to be adventurers. We had about a week, sometimes more, in each port. We wouldn’t have classes while in port, so we were left to create our own travel plans.
It was the most incredible experience a college student could ask for. After my voyage on Semester at Sea, I shared with my friends and family my concluding thoughts and how the trip had changed me incredibly. I learned some really important travel lessons while trekking across the globe that I thought I’d share with you all:
1. Never let your age get larger than the number of countries you have been to.
2. Meet people wherever you go. Participate in their culture, learn the history. Be a traveler, not a tourist.
3. Trust people, even in the most dangerous countries in the world, trust the good in people, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
4. Spend your money! I know this sounds naive, but when you’re on vacation, buy everything you want to, eat everything you want to, drink (almost) everything you want to! This may be your only chance to get everything you possibly can from this new place, so make the most of it!
5. Always learn phrases of the language if you’re going to a different country. Even if you’re bad at it, it’s always a conversation starter!
6. Dont be afraid to get lost. The most amazing times come from when you have no idea where you’re going and you fully step outside of your comfort zone.
7. Do things even when you’re tired–you won’t get another chance.
8. Travel with great friends, or someone you love.
9. Keep your feet on the ground. I personally love running in new cities, so get out and run or walk the city, or go out of your way to see things off the beaten track. You’ll see so much more than you would in a car or a taxi.
10. Be thankful. Even if I’m going somewhere just for the weekend, there is nothing like the gratitude I have to be able to do what I love and get out there and see the world.
11. Smile. Always. It’s universal. Plus, when you’re traveling, what is there not to smile about?