Why Everyone Should Get To Travel

Why Everyone Should Get To Travel

"The world is a book, and those who do not travel only read one page." - Saint Augustine
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God created the Earth for his creations to thrive. We are made to appreciate and explore the world He has made for us. If we just stay in one place our whole life, we only see a small percent of His amazing Earth. We owe it to him to travel.

Our ancestors have created history for us to learn. There are ancient ruins in Italy that still stand tall. There is a wall in China that divides the continent. There are paintings in France that are centuries old. There are animals in Australia we don't normally see. There are bone fossils in Africa that are evidence of the creatures before us. We have so much to explore and learn from the humans before us. It is amazing what they have made and found. The breathtaking views are worth the pilgrimage.

I encourage everyone to travel. Traveling gives you the freedom to be independent and not rely on one resource. You find yourself learning new ways of doing things, new words on describing things, and new perspectives on the world. You start to learn about the world around you, not just the world written on the pages of your history book. You get to learn about yourself. When you see these things, you have moments. These moments can be life changing or just enlightening. You get to learn about how you are and what ignites your soul. You meet people that you never knew existed. You try new foods you wouldn't try at home. You connect with yourself on a spiritual level. You smell new scents that will remain a part of this experience. You only get to find yourself in these moments of traveling the land God above has made for us.

A moment I felt my soul emerge was the first time I saw the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France. I remember seeing the statue in movies and in books. It was an iconic image of the city of Love. But when I saw it in person my heart fluttered. This structure was built in two years to make a statement to the world. It was to get attention in the time era. It was supposed to be temporary, but here it still stands. Now it is the Star of Paris. It is one of the most iconic pieces in the world. And in one moment in 2011, a fourteen-year-old American girl fell in love with the Eiffel Tower and the world beyond her backyard.

I have been addicted to traveling since. I find myself traveling every chance I get. I want to see the tall skyscrapers of the city but also the endless fields of flowers in the countryside. I want to smell the salty seas air with my toes deep into the sand, but I also want to travel the rope bridges over the jungle. I want to see the manmade creation but I want to see the natural beauty that lies on the Earth. I hope to see as many of these things as possible in my lifetime. I want my soul to glow with a passion for the Earth that God has made for us. I want to see that passion in the people around me. I want to share the love of travel and the love of the world in its beauty.

"The world is a book, and those who do not travel only read one page." - Saint Augustine

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I'd Rather Be Single Than Settle: Here Is Why Being Picky Is Okay.

They're on their best behavior when you're dating.
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Dating nowadays described in one word: annoying. What's even more annoying? when people tell you that you're being too "picky" when it comes to dating. Yes, from an outside perspective sometimes that's exactly what it looks like; however, when looking at it from my perspective it all makes sense. I've heard it all, "He was cute, why didn't you like him?" "You didn't even give him a chance!" "You pay too much attention to the little things!"

What people don't understand is that it's OKAY to be picky when it comes to guys. For some reason, girls in college freak out and think they're supposed to have a boyfriend by now, be engaged by the time they graduate, etc. It's all a little ridiculous; however, I refuse to put myself on a time table such as this due to the fact that these girls who feel this way are left with no choice but to overlook the things in guys that they shouldn't be overlooking, they're settling and this is something that I refuse to do.

So this leaves the big question: What am I waiting for?

Well, I'm waiting for a guy who...

1. Wants to know my friends.

Blessed doesn't even begin to describe how lucky I am to have the friends that I do. I want a guy who can hang out with my friends. If a guy makes an effort to impress your friends then that says a lot about him and how he feels about you. This not only shows that he cares about you but he cares about the people in your life as well. Someone should be happy to see you happy and your friends contribute to that happiness, therefore, they should be nothing more than supportive and caring towards you and your friendships.

2. Actually, cares to get to know me.

Although this is a very broad statement, this is the most important one. A guy should want to know all about you. He should want to know your favorite movie, favorite ice cream flavor, favorite Netflix series, etc. Often, (the guys I get stuck on dates with) love to talk about themselves: they would rather tell you about what workout they did yesterday, what their job is, and what they like to do rather than get to know you.

This is something easy to spot on the first date, so although they may be "cute," you should probably drop them if you leave your date and can recite everything about their life since the day they were born, yet they didn't catch what your last name was.

3. How they talk about other women.

THIS IS CRUCIAL FOR FINDING A NICE GUY. It does not matter who they're talking about, if they call their ex-girlfriend crazy we all know she probably isn't and if she is it's probably their fault. If they talk bad about their mom, let's be honest, if they're disrespecting their mother they're not going to respect you either. If they mention girl's physical appearances when describing them. For example, "yeah, I think our waitress is that blonde chick with the big boobs." Well if that doesn't hint they're a complete f* boy then I don't know what else to tell you. And most importantly calling other women "bitches" that's just disrespectful.

Needless to say, if his conversations are similar to ones you'd hear in a frat house, ditch him.

4. Phone etiquette.

If he can't put his phone down long enough to take you to dinner then he doesn't deserve for you to be sitting across from him. If a guy is serious about you he's going to give you his undivided attention and he's going to do whatever it takes to impress you and checking snapchat on a date is not impressive. Also, notice if his phone is facedown, then there's most likely a reason for it. He doesn't trust who or what could pop up on there and he clearly doesn't want you seeing. Although I'm not particularly interested in what's popping up on their phones, putting them face down says more about the guy than you think it does.

To reiterate, it's okay to be picky ladies, you're young, there's no rush. Remember these tips next time you're on a date or seeing someone, and keep in mind: they're on their best behavior when you're dating. Then ask yourself, what will they be like when they're comfortable? Years down the road? Is this what I really want? If you ask yourself these questions you might be down the same road I have stumbled upon, being too picky.. and that's better than settling. :)

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My Future Is Unpredictable And That's Totally Alright

As I prepare for study abroad in Ecuador, I'm going in with no expectations.

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For six months, I had plans to study abroad in the Dominican Republic during the fall semester of junior year. Filling out what seemed like endless applications and paperwork, searching for travel ideas on Pinterest, and writing a class research paper on the DR's relationship with its neighboring island, Haiti, I was prepared to live and learn about Dominican culture hands-on.

Then on the Thursday before Finals Week last spring, I read my email. My study abroad program in the DR had gotten canceled. In the span of 30 seconds, my future had taken a new course. Less than a week later, I was submitting papers to study abroad in a new country where another adventure awaited: Ecuador.

If there's anything I've learned in the past year, it's that life is unpredictable and we can't control it. The future is unknown. But-

Who wants to know exactly what's going to happen in the next few years? I mean, I believe it's good to have a direction, but you don't have to have the entire journey pinpointed straight to the core. You meet people, you get inspired, you see things, you have experiences. And you go from there. (Though, I totally respect people who have clear ambitions and stick with them their entire lives.)

Where I was a year ago was a completely different path than where I find myself today. Last summer, I worked four different internships/jobs in the span of three months. A year ago, I would never have guessed my following summer unfolding with an immersion trip to India, a solo adventure to Taiwan & Hong Kong, and becoming a certified yoga instructor. A year ago, I hadn't met half of my best friends. A year ago, I hadn't seen poverty in a third-world country. A year ago, I wasn't even sure I wanted to major in Environmental Studies.

Just because I don't know what the future holds doesn't mean I can't set goals. I have a destination, an idea of where I'm headed and where I want to go. While abroad in Ecuador, I want to learn about sustainable development and coffee production as well as enhance my Spanish skills.

As I prepare for study abroad in Ecuador, I'm going in with no expectations. I know the format of the program. I'll be taking classes and living with a host family and then doing an internship at a farm. Otherwise, I have no idea what's going to happen. And that's what I'm looking forward to the most. The spontaneity. The unexpected. As one of my good friends would say whenever he doesn't have formal weekend plans, "I'm improvising." And you know the one rule of improv: Always say yes.

¡Hasta pronto, Ecuador!

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