Over the past five years, I’ve done a lot of traveling. First, pretty much all over the United States and now in the Eastern Hemisphere. The first time I went west, it forever changed my life. I was only thirteen years old and it was a family trip. We didn’t make it past Wyoming, but that was enough to awaken something inside me that longed for new places and experiences.
I wouldn’t return west for another 8 years. The second time was with a friend of mine, who I ended up dating about halfway through the trip. We took her Ford Taurus and loaded it up to the roof, then headed for California. We took the same route as I had with my parents years before–through The Badlands and Black Hills National Parks–but this time was definitely different.
I was old enough this time to start realizing things about life that I had been too busy to notice. I met people from all over, saw parts of the country that stunned and amazed me. I started to realize just how much more was out there waiting to be seen. Some parts of the west looked like a different planet. I thought to myself: If it’s this different, only couple days away from home… imagine how much there is to see in the whole world…
I started to realize more about people. That people are different where ever you go, and it’s not a bad thing. Cultural diversity is a wonderful thing when you think about it. Without these differences that bring color to the world, we would all be essentially the same.
I learned to accept people who were different than me. They were simply raised in a different background than myself, it’s the way things are where ever they are raised. It comes back to Freudian theory; that you can raise anyone’s child in any environment, and as an adult they will display more personality traits from active parents with whom they were raised, rather than their biological ones. If I was raised in China, I would be speaking Chinese right now.
Travel will change you. Believe me. I’ve had several life-changing epiphanies while rambling around, that have changed my life for the better. I’ve realized potential in myself, which gave me the motivation to work for something; to make something of my own. I’ve gained confidence from meeting and conversing with people I meet everywhere I go, as well as from simply surviving by myself in a world far away from home… and these were before started traveling abroad.
I’ve learned much more on this journey, and a lot about myself as a person. I can go on and on about the benefits of travel, but don’t just take my word for it… do it! Get out and go on a trip. Meet new people. Challenge yourself, and succeed.
You don’t have to throw a career away, and I know it’s hard for people who have children to get away, especially for an extended period of time. Just take a couple of weeks, if not a month off of work and see The West. If you have children, wait for them to get a little older and take them along with you! After all, that’s what my parents did for me, and it was one of the greatest gifts they have ever given me. The gift of the world at my fingertips, just waiting for me to go see it.
Peace and happy travels,
If you have any questions about travel, big or small, I am more than happy to help you! I love telling people great places to see, and giving advice to help them get started. You can comment here or post to my Facebook Page with your questions, or feel free to tell me about any life-changing realizations or experiences you’ve had while traveling. I wish you the best of luck in all endeavors 🙂