Traveling. For some of us that means to the town over and for others it means all the way to the other side of the world. No matter what the destination, traveling instills important morals, creates influential and lasting memories and promotes a better understanding of the world and people around you.
One of the most significant times I traveled was during the summer of 2015. I had the tremendous opportunity to go overseas for the second time with People to People. This program changed my perception of the world. It filled me with an eagerness to explore the boundless world around me. President Eisenhower created this program on the basis of understanding other cultures through face to face, and hands on experiences. A more in-depth understanding of other cultures can lead to a more cooperative world. The understanding that is created through traveling can not only have a lasting impact on you as an individual, but can impact the world.
One of the last countries I visited on my one month trip, filled with friends, laughter, no parents and amazing memories, was Germany. While I was there, I had a chance to stay with a German family, who had a daughter named Dania. For the next four days, I followed Dania around like a lost puppy. The first morning we both got dressed and then sat down to eat breakfast. “Toast or cereal” asked Dania in flawless English. I remember that I felt silly because I thought that I would be fed something exotic like liver or brains. This slightly anticlimactic moment made me realize that maybe we aren't that different after all.
After breakfast, we rode on the bus through her city to school. The school bus right? Nope, we were riding on a packed city bus surrounded by people of all different ages. Many of the curious young children, that Dania knew, came up to me and started asking questions in perfect English. This astonished and almost shamed me because young people, an ocean away from America, knew my language perfectly, but I could barely formulate a sentence in theirs. The shame this moment brought me made me want to learn all I could and experience as much as possible, so I could better understand the world outside my own.
Traveling has allowed me to make friends that are all the way across an ocean. It has given me a glimpse into the everyday life of others around the world. Knowing how people in a whole different time zone live has made me cautious of making quick judgments of others. Traveling has shown me just how connected and similar the world really is.
Traveling pushes the everyday person outside of their comfort zone. Whether it’s talking to new people from different countries, repelling down the side of an old Italian castle, or getting lost in the Louvre, traveling forces you to face your fears. The bravery that traveling creates, carries over to your everyday life and allows you to face the world head on, even if it's just in your own home town.
Traveling. It has inspired me, along with many others, to live a more understanding life. Traveling is a key component of life and a way to form strong morals, and create memories that will last a lifetime. While I was looking down on a city that wasn’t mine, from the top of the Eiffel tower, I truly saw how much there is to see and learn about the world, and my goal is to see and experience everything, so I better hurry up.