Why Traveling When You're Young is Important

Why Traveling When You're Young is Important

There's so much the World has to offer, don't be afraid to go see it.
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From a very young age, traveling has been a large part of my life. At the age of 5 I went to the most entertaining place for a little girl: Disney World. I met my favorite characters, rode all of the typical rides you could think of, and went to the nearest beach. Growing up, all of my best memories come from experiencing new places, and meeting new people. Thankfully, I was blessed with parents who also loved seeing new places. Every summer we would go somewhere new as a family. Whether it be one state over, or an island in the middle of the ocean, we would tackle these new places as a family and make life long memories that would change us forever. Little did I know, this would create a never ending urge for me to go new places.

Growing up in a small town truly teaches you what it's like to call a place home. Knowing every single person in your graduating class, waving to people as you drive by, and always having people check up on you are just a few of the nice things about living in a close small town, such as the one I grew up in. However, as we came upon our senior year, it dawned on me how many people would probably stay in (or near) our hometown for the rest of their lives. This is absolutely fine. Let me repeat, absolutely fine. In no way would I ever discourage staying in your hometown because well, it's home! However, moving states away from home at 18 really does give you a different perspective.

I truly feel that we live in a world where people are afraid to get out of their comfort zone. Which I know we can all admit (myself included) that we are guilty of. Over the past year, I've gone to new places with friends and my siblings that I paid for and funded myself. Obviously the biggest issue when it comes to traveling is money. However, if you have the urge to go somewhere, save up and go. In my opinion, traveling isn't about living this luxurious life you see on social media and in movies. It's truly immersing yourself into something new, and learning from the people around you. The whole point of traveling in my eyes, is to see the world and life from a new perspective.

Life is so short. I strongly encourage anyone who has a single touch of wanderlust to act on it, and make it happen. To my fellow high school/college students. This is it. This is the time in our lives where we experience the most freedom we will ever have. Enjoy it. Don't be afraid to uproot your life and move somewhere new. You'll thank yourself, trust me. If you want to take that European trip you've always wanted to take, save up your money, sacrifice that Starbucks you buy four days a week, and go.

At the end of the day, life is truly what you make it. You can either talk about wanting to see new things and experiencing new things, or you can just get out and do it. It doesn't have to be an elaborate trip to the Caribbean, or a month long trip around the world. It can simply be a road trip to a new state. No matter where you dream of going. Don't hesitate. Enjoy the journey, because you won't have this small amount of responsibilities forever. Youth doesn't last forever, make the most of it.

Cover Image Credit: Pinterest

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I Went To "The Bachelor" Auditions

And here's why you won’t be seeing me on TV.
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It’s finally time to admit my guilty pleasure: I have always been a huge fan of The Bachelor.

I can readily admit that I’ve been a part of Bachelor fantasy leagues, watch parties, solo watching — you name it, I’ve gone the whole nine yards. While I will admit that the show can be incredibly trashy at times, something about it makes me want to watch it that much more. So when I found out that The Bachelor was holding auditions in Houston, I had to investigate.

While I never had the intention of actually auditioning, there was no way I would miss an opportunity to spend some time people watching and check out the filming location of one of my favorite TV shows.

The casting location of The Bachelor, The Downtown Aquarium in Houston, was less than two blocks away from my office. I assumed that I would easily be able to spot the audition line, secretly hoping that the endless line of people would beg the question: what fish could draw THAT big of a crowd?

As I trekked around the tanks full of aquatic creatures in my bright pink dress and heels (feeling somewhat silly for being in such nice clothes in an aquarium and being really proud of myself for somewhat looking the part), I realized that these auditions would be a lot harder to find than I thought.

Finally, I followed the scent of hairspray leading me up the elevator to the third floor of the aquarium.

The doors slid open. I found myself at the end of a large line of 20-something-year-old men and women and I could feel all eyes on me, their next competitor. I watched as one woman pulled out her travel sized hair curler, someone practiced answering interview questions with a companion, and a man (who was definitely a little too old to be the next bachelor) trying out his own pick-up lines on some of the women standing next to him.

I walked to the end of the line (trying to maintain my nonchalant attitude — I don’t want to find love on a TV show). As I looked around, I realized that one woman had not taken her eyes off of me. She batted her fake eyelashes and looked at her friend, mumbling something about the *grumble mumble* “girl in the pink dress.”

I felt a wave of insecurity as I looked down at my body, immediately beginning to recognize the minor flaws in my appearance.

The string hanging off my dress, the bruise on my ankle, the smudge of mascara I was sure I had on the left corner of my eye. I could feel myself begin to sweat. These women were all so gorgeous. Everyone’s hair was perfectly in place, their eyeliner was done flawlessly, and most of them looked like they had just walked off the runway. Obviously, I stuck out like a sore thumb.

I walked over to the couches and sat down. For someone who for the most part spent most of the two hours each Monday night mocking the cast, I was shocked by how much pressure and tension I felt in the room.

A cop, stationed outside the audition room, looked over at me. After a brief explanation that I was just there to watch, he smiled and offered me a tour around the audition space. I watched the lines of beautiful people walk in and out of the space, realizing that each and every one of these contestants to-be was fixated on their own flaws rather than actually worrying about “love.”

Being with all these people, I can see why it’s so easy to get sucked into the fantasy. Reality TV sells because it’s different than real life. And really, what girl wouldn’t like a rose?

Why was I so intimidated by these people? Reality TV is actually the biggest oxymoron. In real life, one person doesn’t get to call all the shots. Every night isn’t going to be in a helicopter looking over the south of France. A real relationship depends on more than the first impression.

The best part of being in a relationship is the reality. The best part about yourself isn’t your high heels. It’s not the perfect dress or the great pick-up lines. It’s being with the person that you can be real with. While I will always be a fan of The Bachelor franchise, this was a nice dose of reality. I think I’ll stick to my cheap sushi dates and getting caught in the rain.

But for anyone who wants to be on The Bachelor, let me just tell you: Your mom was right. There really are a lot of fish in the sea. Or at least at the aquarium.

Cover Image Credit: The Cut

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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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