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

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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5 Perks Of Having A Long-Distance Best Friend

The best kind of long-distance relationship.

Sometimes, people get annoyed when girls refer to multiple people as their "best friend," but they don't understand. We have different types of best friends. There's the going out together best friend, the see each other everyday best friend and the constant, low maintenance best friend.

While I'm lucky enough to have two out of the three at the same school as me, my "low maintenance" best friend goes to college six hours from Baton Rouge.

This type of friend is special because no matter how long you go without talking or seeing each other, you're always insanely close. Even though I miss her daily, having a long-distance best friend has its perks. Here are just a few of them...

1. Getting to see each other is a special event.

Sometimes when you see someone all the time, you take that person and their friendship for granted. When you don't get to see one of your favorite people very often, the times when you're together are truly appreciated.

2. You always have someone to give unbiased advice.

This person knows you best, but they probably don't know the people you're telling them about, so they can give you better advice than anyone else.

3. You always have someone to text and FaceTime.

While there may be hundreds of miles between you, they're also just a phone call away. You know they'll always be there for you even when they can't physically be there.

4. You can plan fun trips to visit each other.

When you can visit each other, you get to meet the people you've heard so much about and experience all the places they love. You get to have your own college experience and, sometimes, theirs, too.

5. You know they will always be a part of your life.

If you can survive going to school in different states, you've both proven that your friendship will last forever. You both care enough to make time for the other in the midst of exams, social events, and homework.

The long-distance best friend is a forever friend. While I wish I could see mine more, I wouldn't trade her for anything.

Cover Image Credit: Just For Laughs-Chicago

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Solo Travel As An Extrovert Is Not Easy

Traveling alone, I can choose to view it as a difficult separation from other people or a journey of learning more about myself.


Life has a funny way of revealing itself and after my mom ditched me on our mother-daughter trip to Taiwan, I found myself on a plane headed to a country I had never visited where I didn't know a soul. (Disclaimer: I have relatives in Taiwan but had never met them prior to the trip.) I was excited for the adventure that awaited, fear not setting in of how difficult it would be not to just travel in a foreign country where I didn't speak or read any Mandarin beyond the very, very basics (Literally my vocabulary consisted of 10 simple words/phrases, one of which was the word for "apple" which isn't that helpful for getting around. I have since picked up a few more phrases.), but also be alone with just myself for company.

So much of who we are is influenced by the people around us. A large part of our identity comes the communities we choose to be part of and how we interact with others. But who are we when no one's looking? Who am I without the pressure of other people around me?

I am an extrovert. I get my energy from being around other people. It's not that I can't spend time by myself; I just prefer to be in the company of others even if we aren't always interacting the entire time. My best friend and I will even do independent activities together. (Once when we were hanging out, she was knitting and I was doing a puzzle. I swear we don't act like grandmas all the time.)

Although an extrovert, I'm still a pretty independent person who doesn't like to rely on others for help. But traveling alone in Taiwan, I don't have much of a choice. I'm forced to learn to navigate public transport myself and somehow survive with the basic English that Taiwanese locals know.

Learning to travel alone has been an emotional and difficult journey as this is the first time I've been on my own for this long. Although lonely at times, I've realized that loneliness is a mental state of mind. There is the Sanskrit saying, "Mana eva manushyanam karanam bandha moksayoh" which translates to "As the mind, so the person; bondage or liberation are in your own mind." My mind determines my emotional state of being and perspective! Traveling alone, I can choose to view it as a difficult separation from other people or a journey of learning more about myself.

Through solo travel, I am slowly learning to be comfortable with my own company which has been the biggest challenge. I was never an only child, I've always had a roommate in college, and even when I study, I go to public spaces like coffee shops so I can be surrounded by people. I don't know what to do when it's just me and my thoughts all the time. (Especially during meals. Should I appear busy on my phone like all the other single people around me?)

Because when you're traveling alone, you're in charge. You have control. You can change the itinerary from moment to moment without anyone's approval. No one's holding you accountable. Spontaneity? Let's go. You can build barriers but you can also tear them down. It's fun, it's exhilarating. But it's also scary. And unpredictable.

Would I go on another solo expedition in the future? Preferably not as traveling is way more enjoyable when you have someone to share the experience with. It's the people, not the place who make all the difference on a vacation. Yet I do believe solo travel is an experience that everyone should embark on at some point in their life (to grow and learn more about yourself).

This trip has taught me to find spontaneity in the fear and excitement and I've learned to embrace discomfort and unpredictability. To travel with not just my mind and logic but my heart. There are so many unique experiences, if you overthink too much, you'll lose your chance.

I've found that when I am alone, I become more vulnerable and open to meeting new people and having more offbeat experiences. I say yes with zero hesitation. Certainly, there are friends I made, hikes I climbed, streets I meandered, and epiphanies I had that wouldn't have transpired had I been with my mom or a group of people.

Traveling alone, I am now more confident in myself and am ready for the next wave that life throws me. Because I've learned that once you overcome the fear of being by yourself, getting lost (which you will), or accidentally eating meat as a vegan because you didn't understand the signage (I'm sorry!), the world in all its vast infinity can be pretty great. And there are some things that you can only learn on solo travel.

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