Traveling expands my cultural appreciation.

When I’m immersed in a culture, I can understand how other people live. When I was in Fiji, I stepped out of the resort for a day to take a tour of one of the close-by villages. The leader of the village welcomed us into his home and told us about their daily lives. He mentioned that if we were ever to come back and ask for a place to stay, they would say “yes”, without hesitation. Their people are so friendly and greet everyone with a warm “BULA!” and huge smile. It felt so different from the US, where you might get a slight smile from a passerby on the street, but rarely get so much as a “hello”.


Our group with some Fijians we met

Traveling gives me new places to take interesting pictures.

Photography is one of my hobbies. My apartment and office are covered with photos of people and places that make me the happiest. I’m a sucker for great scenery and am always looking for the perfect setting to take a picture.

Traveling is something to look forward to.

Sometimes spontaneous trips can be a lot of fun, but I feel like I get the most out of a trip when I’ve thoroughly planned out everything I want to see and do. The worst feeling is getting back from an exotic place that you’ll probably never go back to and finding out you missed something major. Planning a trip gets me excited and is half of the fun! There have even been studies that show that the largest boost in happiness (in regards to a trip) comes from the act of planning. Vacations break up your year so you’re not stuck in the same old boring, monotonous cycle. I always have countdowns to my trips within the last few months leading up to them to raise my excitement level.

Traveling teaches me more than a textbook ever could.

I never really enjoyed history in school. You read about people that existed hundreds of years ago and it almost doesn’t even seem real. But when you’re standing in the middle of ancient ruins, it’s hard to deny. On my trip to Athens, Greece, we came across an excavated ruin that had been buried by thousands of years worth of rubble from other ruins and debris. That was the first moment that it felt real to me.

Excavated ruins in Athens

Traveling has helped me to realize that I can do more than I thought.

I think when I’m on a trip, I’m more courageous than I normally am. I’m willing to try new things because, let’s face it, that’s why I’m there! And once I’ve accomplished these things, it expands my expectation of my potential.

I’ve conquered the most fears while traveling. I’ve always been wary about the ocean, and to top it off, I’m also claustrophobic, so when I was presented with the opportunity of scuba diving in Fiji, I was a little hesitant. Luckily, my good friends talked me into it, and I realized it was nothing like what I imagined and was amazing!

I’ve also realized I can figure mostly anything out if I put the right amount of focus into it. Taking public transportation in a large city with a different language or learning to drive on the left side of the road have been a couple challenges I’ve faced. I may have turned down the wrong side of the street once or twice though!


First time driving on the left side of the road

Most importantly, traveling makes me appreciate home and my life in the United States.

Some countries’ cultures and governments are so different from the US. Visiting the Middle East opened my eyes to the fact that freedom of speech does not exist everywhere. My friend that I was visiting warned me not to speak ill of the government, because they could be listening at any time.

When I spend time in other places, it makes me super thankful for what I have. When I’m gone for longer than a week, I really get sick of living out of a suitcase, especially if I’m not staying in the same place the whole time. It makes me grateful for my bed, kitchen, and walk-in closet! I usually am thrilled to come home and get back to my routine.

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