The Benefits of Travel

I think there's something to be said for taking a break after high school. By break, I don't necessarily mean sticking around and working a part-time job while you sift through the possibilities of things you could do with your life. If that's what you want, then that's great. What I am referring to is a total upheaval; a total change of pace. 

Traveling is one of the best things i have ever done. Why? Because it opened me up. It completely transformed the way I see the world and relate to people. It taught me not one new language, but three. It brought me friendships more unique and intimate than I had ever had, because we were on this journey together. We were young and terrified yet exhilarated by this freedom, and it brought us together in a way i had never experienced. 

Traveling taught me things about myself I never knew. It taught me that I'm more determined than I thought. It taught me I can actually do a decent sketch (seriously, who knew?!). It taught me I have a passion for cooking and languages and learning about people. It showed me that I move at a pace slightly that of a small horse and that sometimes, slowing down can be a good thing. It taught me that I should probably keep most alcoholic drinks at a minimum. It taught me that I can belong with anyone, anywhere, if I open up my heart to them. It taught me that I can seriously accomplish what I'm dreaming of if I never, ever give up. 

Traveling also brought me to places I never thought I would see. It took me to Budapest, London, Vienna, Sicily, Paris, and beyond. It found me on a beach in Palermo on my birthday, surrounded by people i couldn't love more, being whisked into the ocean by them as I carried a single rose in my teeth. It fostered the creation of experiences I couldn't have had had I stayed at home. Even more than that, travelling showed me just how beautiful my own home is and how lucky I am to live where I do. It showed me what poverty really looks like. It made me realize how everyone wants to learn English and my fluency is a gift. 

Traveling allowed for the creation of relationships I never could have dreamed of having. I now have real families, best friends, and an entire school of people who love me and whom I love with my whole heart. I now have bonds with these people that can never break. We have and will cross oceans for each other. It taught me that love doesn't know language or boundary or passports or any of that shit. Love is transcendent, and it will find you if you let it. 

Traveling taught me to grow up. It taught me hard lessons when I didn't ask for them. It shoved me into the lap of a scary man on a moving train, into the bathroom of a cancer patient, into the office of a principal who I couldn't understand. It taught me how to be accountable for myself and how to take care of myself. It showed me how to navigate transit systems and airports and restaurants on my own. It allowed me to learn how to shove every single thing I need for a two-week vacation into a backpack the size of my torso. 

Travel changed me as it changed most people. It revealed to me a world much different than my own; that there was a completely different way to live out there. And that way of living, when I was immersed in it, was something that fulfilled me and brought me happiness in a way I hadn't known before. 

You see, you almost don't know you're in the rat race until you escape from it. And now I'm aching to escape again and one day make it my reality .

So if you're not sure if you're in the right place in life; if you're contemplating where to go next; if you know you need something crazy to shake things up and show you what you're missing... please. Please just take a chance. Get on a plane and go. Do it now, while you're still young and you probably don't have a mortgage or a husband or someone else who depends on you. 

You'll learn more than you ever could from a book, I'll tell you that. 

Laura