I admit, it wasn’t until I was seventeen that I fell in love with travel.
Growing up, I didn’t have many opportunities to travel. Some summers I’d get to go on a beach vacation, and my school often took field trips to Philadelphia, but I never really ventured outside of the tri-state area of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York.
It wasn’t until I was seventeen that I boarded my first airplane. And it was an international flight.
I was nervous, but excited. I’d be traveling to Germany as part of the German-American Partnership Program. I had just gotten my passport six months prior. It was a huge deal for me. I couldn’t wait to see what I’d find overseas.
A few years later, I made another overseas trip to Ireland. I hadn’t had much opportunity to travel much in college, so I worked hard and paid for a trip during my summer break. Even though the financial strain was stressful, the trip was worth it.
Still, I had never boarded a domestic flight.
I had only recently gone beyond the tri-state to Massachusetts. Boston was a breathtaking city, and I’m grateful I got to spend a bit more time there before I moved overseas.
When I received my first job after graduation, it was an admissions counselor position. One of the greatest benefits of the job was how much I got to travel. In the year I worked as a travel admissions counselor, I visited more cities than I can count.
And I finally boarded a domestic flight to Georgia.
What Travel Teaches Us
I’d be lying if I said a love of travel wasn’t one of the reasons I decided to move abroad. I wanted to learn more about the world. About cultures unfamiliar to me.
I wanted to grow in a way that is impossible without travel.
And there is truth in that. Our home cultures can offer us so many things. We learn about our communities and our own cultures when we live in our home country.
But when we take the leap and leave the comfort of our home, we learn so much more.
We learn about our place in the world. And how our own journey is just one of many.
We learn to see the humanity in everyone we meet, because they’re no longer abstractions we’ve never come face to face with.
We truly learn that we are all human. Regardless of where we live, of what we look like, of what religion we follow. We are all human. We all have the same basic needs. Wants. Desires.
We learn all of these things in a way we never can if we never take the time to travel.