In a world like today's where social media rules our daily browsing and affects our perception of life, it is so easy to catch the wanderlust bug. Insta-famous bloggers and YouTubers alike seem to post perfect pictures of themselves in a new far-off place every day, and it only makes us college students rage internally over the fact that we're stuck at school worrying about essays and grades in the meantime.
School, for one, is an obvious reason as to why most of us are never able to travel as much as we want to. As college students, the attendance policy tends to be pretty lenient in regard to how teachers don't really care if you're present or not; however, you're only really allowed to miss two classes per course unexcused. Doing the math, you can't really vacation while school is in session.
Another big problem, and probably the sole reason why most people can't travel as much as they'd like, is money. College is an expensive venture (hell, it's an investment), so all your money is already going toward one very important thing. Trying to calculate transportation, a place to stay, meal plans and money to spare for souvenirs and other activities is enough to make someone's head spin. If you were to look at a semester's tuition and a week-long vacation, odds are the numbers wouldn't look too different. So for the people who have a bucket list of the places they'd like to travel to (London is my number one) but are held back by their tuition fees, you might not cross those off for a while.
I'm going to be honest here- I haven't traveled to many different places in my life. My annual summer vacation is a 10-day trip to the Jersey shore, and I've only traveled to Florida for none other than the infamous theme parks of Disney World and Universal Studios. Other than these three places I've only ever vacationed in Myrtle Beach, Boston, Chicago, and Hershey Park; but let's not forget that I live right next to one of the biggest cities in the world (NYC).
Don't get me wrong, these are a lot of places to have gone to, but compared to the travel bloggers of today it doesn't seem like much. In my world, though, it really does seem that way and the number of times I've traveled also far outweigh the number of places I've been to. I've taken the drive down the Parkway more times than I can remember. Speaking of Florida alone, I've been there a total of five times in the past ten years with all of these ventures including Disney World (two trips in which happened within three weeks of each other). The summer of 2015 I traveled to five different places over the span of six months with even spending my sixteenth birthday in Disney World. (If you couldn't tell I love Disney by now, are you even paying attention?)
I'm not trying to brag at all about where I've been and how many times my family were able to afford really nice vacations, but even looking at how many places I've traveled to and how many times I have don't even compare to the 20-something-year-old travel bloggers that I see all over social media. Of course, I understand that this is their way of making a living- a pretty good gig if you ask me- and sometimes the job can get grueling. What with the long flights and jet-leg all while trying to post the perfect pictures in stunning outfits on Instagram, it can really catch up to any human being.
While there are cons to this occupation, there are definitely more pros from where I look at it. You get to explore different cultures, see amazing sights and experience the wonderful things this world has to offer. The whole beauty of traveling, though, is being able to go out of your comfort zone and live in a place that is far different from your hometown for a little bit. Immersing yourself in a totally different atmosphere is honestly a scary thing if you think about it, but it can honestly teach you so many things and maybe even alter your perception of life.
As you can tell by now, I am not a world traveler (yet); hell, I don't even have a passport! But what I know for sure is that I love what I feel when I travel: the anticipation the night before you leave for your destination and you can't sleep because you're that excited, the strange yet satisfying feeling that all your necessities are all packed into just two bags and the simple fact that you don't know what adventures you'll endure in this far-off place.
Like any person, of course, I get scared every time I go on an airplane for the obvious reasons. I also am terrified of losing my belongings, bed bugs and not being familiar with my surroundings. But like any venture, traveling is something that has way more pros than cons; sometimes you just have to risk the fear of the unknown in order achieve something amazing.
This was what happened to me when I traveled to Chicago for my first trip with my high school's music department without any family with me. I was so nervous to leave home for a few days in a new city (I cried a lot before I left), but it turned out to be one of the most memorable trips of my life. If I never went on that trip in the first place, I probably wouldn't have gained that sort of knowledge of independence, appreciation for traveling or even established bonds with my current friends- and this all happened when I was just fifteen years old.
I've realized while writing this that I cannot put into words the thrill I get when I learn I'm traveling to somewhere- whether it be Florida for the hundredth time or someplace new; maybe the travel bloggers will agree with me on this one. I would love to experience this feeling sporadically throughout my life, and I only wish that my future job entails some traveling every now and then. In the meantime, though, I will make sure to take ultimate advantage over my view of the NYC skyline and save up some money for my future travels that I'd love to make happen.
I'm planning to get my passport by the end of this year, so who knows what great adventure I'm going to go on next? Maybe it'll be a study abroad program that I've been planning to look into or a European trip with my girlfriends that we've been thinking about lately. If it's my eighth trip to Disney World, though, I'm sure it will be nothing short of magical.