When you feel antsy…Travel.
When you are ready for something new…Travel.
When you need to be reminded how lucky you are…Travel.
When you want to be inspired…Travel.
When you need to open your mind…Travel.
To broaden your horizons, there is almost no better experience out there than the feeling of traveling somewhere you’ve never been. Seeing ancient history, beautiful vistas, different cultures in person will teach you more than you will ever learn from a book. And don’t get me wrong—I love to read! But reading about the Eiffel Tower and looking out on Paris from atop the Eiffel Tower, well, those are two very different experiences.
Travel takes you to places that are new and exciting and, sometimes, scary. I’m not just talking about physical places either; I mean those places so deep within you, you didn’t even know they were there. The ones you’re afraid to discover, yet can offer the most rewards.
My first trip on an airplane was to visit my best friend in Maryland. I was barely in my twenties, and I was so nervous that my mother had to walk me into the airport. On the flight, every time we hit turbulence I jolted in my seat, certain that the plane was going down. It was nerve-wracking, but I survived, and that trip became my gateway. I was hooked, and now I try to travel at least twice a year.
My first time visiting a foreign country came about five years later. I had the opportunity to study abroad in Spain when I was in high school, but I had turned it down because I didn’t know anyone else going and, frankly, I was afraid. When the opportunity came around again, however, I didn’t think twice. I made payments for months to afford my flight. When the time came, I still didn’t know anyone, but I didn’t care. It’s almost a decade later, but I still have the friendships I made on that trip, and I still harbor dreams of living in Spain.
Traveling allows you to expand your bubble. Too often we walk around with our heads down, focused on our day-to-day lives. But when I travel, I put myself in the shoes of the locals. I experience new things, eat different foods, do things I never thought I would do.
One time, in Arizona, I walked over the edge of the Grand Canyon on this glass-floored bridge. I had to wear stockings on my feet so the specks of dirt from my shoe didn’t damage the glass…yikes! I don’t like to admit this, but I am afraid of heights, so as I was walking I was clinging onto the handrail and refused to venture out to look all the way down (meanwhile there were teenagers laying in the middle of the bridge taking selfies).
As I clung to the handrail, wondering how I let myself talk me into this, an older man reached out and took my hand. “Come out to the middle,” he encouraged me.
“No, I’m fine.” I replied.
Then he grabbed my arm and pulled me to the middle of the bridge. So there I am, death-grip on this stranger, and we walked arm-in-arm across the bridge. He kept repeating to me, “There is nothing to be afraid of. See, you’re fine, we are doing it.”
He was right. I’m so thankful he pushed me out of my comfort zone to experience something amazing. I continually try to work on facing my fears, and when I start to doubt myself, I remind myself of that man and his kind words. Be brave and go somewhere new, then bring that knowledge and newfound awareness back to where you live. Teach others new things. Through being present and doing meditation, learn new things about yourself. Go anywhere and everywhere and keep your eyes open.
People ask me where I would go on my dream vacation and I tell them: Somewhere I’ve never been before! From each adventure, trip, and excursion, I learn something about myself that I can take home with me. And I’ll let you in on a secret: that’s way better than any souvenir you can buy in the gift shop.