A few days ago I wrote a post about why California will never stop calling me home. While this is true, not even California can keep me from hitting the road whenever possible.
My first true travel experience was a six week study abroad program in Barcelona, Spain. The program was very structured and I didn’t reach out much past my fellow American students, but it got me out of my country, immersed into a new city and culture and, maybe most of all, it got me thinking. Before the trip, my worldview was pretty shallow, but Barcelona turned out to be much more than a vacation.
Of course I loved the endless sites to see and bars to visit, but what really took me off guard was the people. They had different priorities, different thought processes and went about their days so much differently than the people of my California culture that I was so used to. Mark Twain put it best. “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness.” When I got home I realized that I needed more. I was hooked on travel.
- The Natural Beauty: The natural beauty of this world is as varied as it is staggering. Looking at the endless limestone cliffs of Halong Bay or the massiveness of the Grand Canyon will make you mind stop and your eyes stare. Even more thought provoking are the millions of organisms so perfectly adapted to live in every environment on earth
- Diversity of People: The lives people lead are countless, but a closer look at even one can make you think for hours. What’s important to them? Why do they make the decisions they make? Everyone has a story.
- Never Stop Learning: I love to learn. I can’t get enough information in my head and thousands of years of human history provide a lesson to be learned wherever I go.
- Fellow Travelers: The type of person that travels is the type of person I want to know. Someone interested in more than their little box and willing to hit the road and do something about it.
It’s been nearly 5 years since that first trip abroad and after 12 countries, I’m nowhere near ready to stop. I may not be able to continually travel to my hearts content, but I’ll never stop traveling, time and money willing.