Why You Should Take The Trip You Have Always Wanted

Why You Should Take The Trip You Have Always Wanted

Laying by the beach with a side of history.
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I like to say my mom was born with a travel gene. That something in her DNA drives her need to see the world. It's the best gene I "inherited", always making for one hell of an experience every summer. We started small, staying within the country, venturing to the staples, like The Grand Canyon and Los Angeles. Then escalating to the Caribbean and South America, giving our passports a little ware and tear. Finally the big leagues: France ,Thailand, Israel, and more. Suitcases were always over flowing, neck pillows were common holiday gifts, and bum status look for the 24 hour plane ride ahead was always on point.

Every vacation was like a well balanced diet, a little bit of fun with a helping portion of touring and history. We relaxed pool side in Thailand, post six am tour of the Wat Rong Khun Temple. Toured Israel for 12 hours a day, to then snorkel the shores of Mediterranean Sea.

It went like this on every adventure, and as much as my legs hurt and my brain from information overload, I would never trade it for anything. There are some things history books, geography class, or your Instagram feed cant teach nor show you. Only experience can.

I thought I understood the world around me, but what my ignorance was shading me from was, how wrong I was. You never know how much you have until you see people with nothing. In Thailand, I met multi-generational families, people living with both their parents and their children under one roof in tiny, wood and metal homes, with dirt floors, with a shared bed and no running water. People with absolutely nothing were inviting us, total strangers, into their home. They were not embarrassed at how little they had, or how primitively they lived. They were gracious hosts, happy to welcome us in and share what they had.

In Ecuador I experienced cement houses with paint peeling and an overwhelming stench. Children in ripped, unwashed clothes desperate for attention. Loud and unruly children fighting for my hand and willing to break the rules to get a hug. The few toys available were filthy and broken. Children on small mattresses with thin, unwashed bodies undoubtedly trying to fill voids of love. This was the scene I encountered when I spent a week volunteering at an Ecuadorian orphanage.  

I could summarize what I learned from every country but I'd lose you and my fingers from typing so much. If you have an opportunity to travel, 100% take it. It is the most eye opening, fun, and exciting experiences of your life. Don't you ever wonder why everyone says studying abroad changes their life?

Cover Image Credit: Sophia Teicher

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7 Signs You're From the 732

Only the best part of New Jersey.
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If you're from New Jersey, you know how badly the state's looked down upon by outsiders (thanks a lot, Jersey Shore). But you know that all of those false accusations aren't true- the Garden State is your home and only you're allowed to make fun of it. Although Jersey's small, there are different regions and everyone thinks that their's is the best. Here are seven signs you're from the 732, AKA the best part of Jersey:

1. You know that Central Jersey is a place.

One of the biggest arguments is whether or not Central Jersey exists. I live in the middle of New Jersey, so it's pretty funny when people say it's not a real place. I'm not from South Jersey, and definitely not from North Jersey. Also, it's close to both Philadelphia and New York, not just one or the other. Perfect location.

2. Everywhere you go, you see a Wawa.

Legit everywhere, and you go there 24/7. All hail the holy grail.

3. Surf Taco means a lot to you.

Every time I come home from being away at school the first place I go to eat with my friends is Surf Taco. Even when I am home, Surf Taco's always on my mind. Who doesn't love a good taco with chips? P.S. I highly recommend their Teriyaki Chicken Taco, you won't regret it.

4. You go to all the summer concerts.

There's really nothing more fun than summer shows outside, and you already know that PNC Bank Arts Center and Stone Pony Summer Stage are the hot-spots. 'Tis the season of tailgating and enjoying a good show with your friends.

5. Two words: Pork. Roll.

I don't care what Chris Christie has to say, it's pork roll. Quite honestly, Taylor Ham just doesn't sound right. And what's better than a pork roll egg n' cheese on your favorite bagel? Nothing.

6. You live close to the beach...

Spring Lake, Manasquan, Asbury, you name it. You know these areas and where all of the good food spots are in each of them. Living so close to the beach makes for the perfect summers, but with summer comes the bennies.

7. ...So you can easily spot a benny.

If you're from Jersey and you don't know what a benny is, you most likely are one. Bennies usually come in packs; they bring lawn chairs and tents to the beach, wear socks and sandals, and have the "Jersey accent" because they're either from New York or close to.


Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia commons

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K-Pop Taught Me Even If I Don't Understand The Words, Music Is A Universal Language

It doesn't matter if you don't know what they're saying, just appreciate the music.

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With artists and groups coming from all over, it's no surprise how diverse the music industry has become. Recently, the Korean pop market has made its way over to the States. BTS, a K-pop group under BigHit Entertainment, have been trailblazers for this genre. Performing at the Billboard Music Awards, snagging the title of "Top Social Artist" TWO times in a row — these are just a couple things these international superstars have accomplished. Since Psy's "Gangnam Style" in 2012, this is just another look into the K-pop industry for many Americans. After BTS hit many popular talk shows with Ellen or James Corden, many people began to become more open to the idea of Korean music. However, there still is the same question: "how can you listen to that if you don't understand it?"

Recently, BTS' "Fake Love" cracked the US Top 10 list. It should be noted that this isn't the first time Americans have made a non-English song popular. In fact, we have quite a history of it. Remember Luis Fonsi, Daddy Yankee, and Justin Bieber's "Despacito?" Or how about Los Del Rio's "Macarena" in 1996?

It annoys me when people are opposed to K-pop or music of different languages because they can't understand it. You don't have to understand it. What hooked me into BTS was the rhythm of their songs, how addictive and catchy their music was — even if I didn't speak Korean. I used to be one of those people who refused to listen to K-pop because why would I waste my time listening to something I couldn't understand?

But when I allowed myself to open up and appreciate their music, it opened doors to a whole new genre I was missing out on. I discovered new artists, new music, and interest in Korean pop culture. I think that's what it's really about. Those who are willing to discover new kinds of music can gain an appreciation for different cultures and it can create a sense of unity. It is about bringing people together — regardless of race, religion, language — music can find its way to speak to you.

Because I was able to venture out of my comfort zone to listen to different music, it helped me become more open-minded. I listen to music — whether it's in Spanish, French, Korean... anything — because music has no language barriers. It was created for everyone to enjoy.

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