Traveling doesn't always mean an elaborate vacation or hoping on a plane to go somewhere. It can be as simple has driving to a state park, driving around the state and visiting different places along the road trip, or driving across multiple states on a huge road trip with friends or family. It can be anywhere, any time. What matters the most is what you took away from the experience, what you've learned, and how much fun you've had.

Through out my life, thus far, I have been to so many states, seen a lot a beautiful landscapes, met a lot of wonderful people, and made so many memories and I thank my parents for all the traveling we have done. From Montana, Wyoming, and South Dakota, to Boston, to Sanibel Island, to the Bahamas, to Washington D.C., and to San Francisco and all the little road trips in between; all the funny moments and all the things I've learned, I thank my parents for. Letting us go to Saint Louis to see Real Madrid C.F. play Inter Milan and surprising us with a long "mystery" road trip to Florida. So many moments stand out in my mind from all my trips and vacations.

Photo taken by Alan Downs, Facebook. Sanibel Island, Florida. 2014. (source: Facebook)

I have had so many opportunities to explore the world around me and I'm grateful for that. Traveling has helped understand the subcultures in the U.S., try different food, explore the different parts of the United States (the midwest, the east, the west, and the south), and learn some history from each part along the way. Having the knowledge and life experiences from all over the U.S. helped me understand how the culture overall in the United States has changed, how roles and norms have evolved, and how politics has shifted though out U.S. history. I have also learned valuable lessons with each trip or vacation I took.

So why is it so important to travel?

1.) Live and learn--Expanding your knowledge on life and history will help you later down the road because you'll have something to connect other things with.

2.) Make memories, make smiles--Travel with family or with friends! I promise, something memorable will happen along the way.

3.) Personal growth-- Not only can trips/vacations make you feel good, they can also boost your confidence and build a stronger bond with the people you went on the trip with. Overall, it will help you grow as a person.

4.) Get out of the norm!-- Going outside of your comfort zone can seem scary but, when you travel, it doesn't matter if it's scary. It will be fun and learning about what's out there in this big world of ours is helpful to make social and maybe even business connections later on in life.

5.) Modes of transportation-- try each transportation; train (subway), plane, taxi, boat, or even the family van, and find out which you like the most! Experimenting with life can be a fun adventure.

Photo taken by: Cassidy Downs, 2015. Massachusetts. (Source Facebook)

Like I mentioned before, not all trips have to lavish. You can simply drive to a State Park or National Park and spend a day or more there. Camping is always a great, and fairly inexpensive way to get some adventure in. I believe the most important trips are the ones not spent in a city, but spent in the outdoors. Experience the beauty around, breathe in clean air, and get away from people. Stand at atop a mountain, hill, or boulder and take a moment or so to appreciate your life and the tranquil nature around you. Doing this as often as possible can help your outlook on life.

Going to all kinds of unique and various places in my life, I feel as if I've had an almost full life. Of course there are a few places and things I have yet to do, like backpack with my sister in Isle Royal and Montana and go to Europe, and I know I still have plenty of years to complete that! Traveling has certainly changed me and helped shape me into the person I am today. So, get out there and have an adventure or two! With that in mind, I just have few last words: Travel more, smile often, enjoy the world around you, and adventure outside your comfort zone every once in a while. Who knows, you might like it!




"Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.” – Gustave Flaubert




Photo by: Cassidy Downs, 2016. (source Facebook).