The travel is a very real thing. Once you get a taste of what’s out there in the world, any thought of staying in one place for the rest of my life sounds dreadful. I would feel like I’m not taking advantage of the short life I have and the vast, diverse world surrounding me. Obviously money and all of the little details make that desire much more complicated, but nonetheless, it is a sense of freedom and adventure I never hope to lose.
I never traveled much in my younger years, a couple of road trips, but nothing too far. Where I live, there isn’t exactly much to see, except if you to drive by endless flat fields of grass. The nearest “big” city is at least two hours away.
I experienced my first flight on an airplane when going to Florida, to the panhandle area if you were expecting the typical Disney World trip (although I’m sure that might be a little more lively). I don’t remember much from that trip because it was mostly surrounded by a lot of relatives, but it was, to say the least, humid.
My sophomore year of high school, my band class packed into a bus and drove to Chicago, my first time experiencing a true city atmosphere. I fell in love with the energy and the sense of opportunity. Since the small-town Midwest is predominantly white, simply seeing people from all walks of life, all colors, all cultures, speaking in different languages, was something new. A good new. A chance to actually learn something new from people from different traditions and backgrounds. I wish I could have stayed longer. Next time I won’t need to visit Medieval Times though. I won’t have anything to eat and I’m still bitter that my red knight lost in the last joust.
My next time traveling was when the wanderlust really set in. I was blessed enough to play in a band and sing in a choir with the Midwest Ambassadors of Music. We spent several weeks in Europe, traveling and performing in seven different countries. My favorites were definitely London and a cute little village in Switzerland. I have never visited a place where I feel more alive, constantly in awe by the beauty surrounding me. If I had my say, I would have avoided the last flight home and extend my visit long term. Obviously my family wouldn’t be too happy about that, but I was tempted.
My travel since then, which was still several years ago, has been limited. My family took a short trip to Las Vegas a couple of years back that was really fun, combining my love for the populated atmosphere with people I love. Any sort of travel, of course living on a college budget, has been more or less road trips around the area, the farthest being the most western parts of my state, and another weekend seeing a friend at the University of Nebraska Lincoln.
My next trip, however, will be my longest one yet. But not necessarily the farthest. I’ll be spending a semester abroad in Quebec, Canada, attending Bishop’s University. I’m itching to get out of my comfort zone again and get a change in scenery. This will be my first time traveling solo, which that itself is both scary and thrilling. Besides that, I’ll be gone for four months. And with the recent election results, my jokes about staying in Canada for an extended stay are pretty serious. The details organizing my study-abroad trip have been tedious and frustrating at times, but I have a very good feeling about it and am beyond stoked.
I still have so many places I want to visit and experience, within the United States and worldwide. I would love to take a trip Down Under. I would love to see the beauty of the Pacific Northwest, like Seattle and Vancouver. I have always wanted to backpack through Europe and really get a taste of the atmosphere across the pond. I’m not really picky about the place I go, I just want to pick my bags and go mobile. Again, it isn’t that easy when reality sets in, but a girl can dream. I spent the first 18 years of my life in one small town, and I’m still in my home state. I’ve always known I don’t quite fit in here though. When my moment comes, the world better be prepared for when I spread my wings and fly.
I am grateful for every experience I’ve had thus far exploring little segments the world has to offer. I am grateful for any future opportunity I can grasp to stamp another place in my passport or put some miles on a car or soar through the clouds. I am grateful for the multitude of diversity in humanity, our unique blend of beliefs and religions and lifestyles and everything in between. Despite our differences, I am grateful that we all can still find some form of peace and contentment, that even with all of the chaos and darkness in our world, humanity is innately good. I am grateful to travel for becoming a teacher to me, no classroom required, one that teaches me more about the potential others and I truly have. I am grateful for the emotions I feel immersing myself somewhere new, forcing myself outside of my bubble in my small world to put on a new pair of glasses to see the world, a new perspective I might not have considered before.
I wholeheartedly believe everyone deserves to travel. The memories we make and people we communicate with enrich our lives beyond ourselves. We can realize how simultaneously big and small the world is, how interwoven our lives are. It’s a masterpiece. And as the saying by St. Augustine goes, “The world is a book, and those who do not travel only read one page.”
Take care, and keep the faith. -Allie