The Benefits Of Traveling Young

The Benefits Of Traveling Young

I was made for adventure.


Everyone has a dream of traveling somewhere new and exotic. Once you do you either love or hate it, and I've been blessed with the opportunity of doing most of it at such a young age. Traveling has become one of my biggest passions, and here are some benefits you get from traveling at a young age.

You Become More Culturally Aware 

One of the biggest things I have to be thankful for is the fact that I am more culturally aware as an individual. I've gotten to explore places with some of the fanciest bathrooms to just holes in the grounds. I've gotten to hear the smoothest of jazz to the loud beating of drums. There is a whole new appreciation for the culture that one has to leave their community to encounter.

You Learn to Pack a Suitcase in Less than 12 Hours

My family was very big on snagging last minute flight and vacation deals, so it could be the day before, and my parents would say pack a suitcase we're leaving. After doing this quite a few times, you become an organizational champ.

You Get to Try a Variety of New Food

This is probably was my drive during every adventure: when am I going to eat next? Every country had different things, and even the most similar of things, were all cooked completely.

You Learn More Time Management than Ever

Some trips would be wake up 7 a.m. and not get to bed until midnight so that you could do just about anything and everything that there was to do. You learn how precious time really when and how to make the most of every day.

You Appreciate the Things You Have 

Traveling the world is not just what is, but it makes you more aware of the things you have in life. I've never appreciated a freezer or electricity like I did when I watched my foreign family put all their meat in a plastic ice box when the electricity went out.

You Get to "Adventure" more 

You're young, wild, and free. It's best used to climb a mountain, go swimming or dive in a cenote. Your body is built to do the craziest now. If you wait too long, you'll be too weak to do it, and it'll leave you with the question of what if.

You Experience More Real Conversations than Ever

While now there is wifi just about anywhere you go, just a couple of years ago it was difficult to secure the internet. It made you put your phone away, and gave you the opportunity to make real conversations. People of today society are like technological zombie depending on their devices for everything. It was only a short time ago when it was just paper maps and a sense of direction.

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I Visited The "Shameless" Houses And Here's Why You Shouldn't

Glamorizing a less-than-ideal way to live.

After five hours of driving, hearing the GPS say "Turn right onto South Homan Avenue" was a blessing. My eyes peeled to the side of the road, viciously looking for what I have been driving so long for, when finally, I see it: the house from Shameless.

Shameless is a hit TV show produced by Showtime. It takes place in modern-day Southside, Chicago. The plot, while straying at times, largely revolves around the Gallagher family and their continual struggle with (extreme) poverty. While a majority of the show is filmed offsite in a studio in Los Angeles, many outside scenes are filmed in Southside and the houses of the Gallagher's and side-characters are very much based on real houses.

We walked down the street, stopped in front of the two houses, took pictures and admired seeing the house in real life. It was a surreal experience and I felt out-of-place like I didn't belong there. As we prepared to leave (and see other spots from the show), a man came strolling down on his bicycle and asked how we were doing.

"Great! How are you?"

It fell silent as the man stopped in front of the Gallagher house, opened the gate, parked his bike and entered his home. We left a donation on his front porch, got back to the car and took off.

As we took the drive to downtown Chicago, something didn't sit right with me. While it was exciting to have this experience, I began to feel a sense of guilt or wrongdoing. After discussing it with my friends, I came to a sudden realization: No one should visit the "Gallagher" house.

The plot largely revolves the Gallagher family and their continual struggle with (extreme) poverty. It represents what Southside is like for so many residents. While TV shows always dramatize reality, I realized coming to this house was an exploitation of their conditions. It's entertaining to see Frank's shenanigans on TV, the emotional roller coasters characters endure and the outlandish things they have to do to survive. I didn't come here to help better their conditions, immerse myself in what their reality is or even for the donation I left: I came here for my entertainment.

Southside, Chicago is notoriously dangerous. The thefts, murders and other crimes committed on the show are not a far-fetched fantasy for many of the residents, it's a brutal reality. It's a scary way to live. Besides the Milkovich home, all the houses typically seen by tourists are occupied by homeowners. It's not a corporation or a small museum -- it's their actual property. I don't know how many visitors these homes get per day, week, month or year. Still, these homeowners have to see frequent visitors at any hour of the day, interfering with their lives. In my view, coming to their homes and taking pictures of them is a silent way of glamorizing the cycle of poverty. It's a silent way of saying we find joy in their almost unlivable conditions.

The conceit of the show is not the issue. TV shows have a way of romanticizing very negative things all the time. The issue at hand is that several visitors are privileged enough to live in a higher quality of life.

I myself experienced the desire and excitement to see the houses. I came for the experience but left with a lesson. I understand that tourism will continue to the homes of these individuals and I am aware that my grievances may not be shared with everyone -- however, I think it's important to take a step back and think about if this were your life. Would you want hundreds, potentially thousands, of people coming to your house? Would you want people to find entertainment in your lifestyle, good and bad?

I understand the experience, excitement, and fun the trip can be. While I recommend skipping the houses altogether and just head downtown, it's most important to remember to be respectful to those very individuals whose lives have been affected so deeply by Shameless.

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