Why You Should Travel

17 Jun

Um, why not?

This journey all started when I was sitting in a Barnes & Noble nostalgically browsing through Paris travel books like I always do. Paris will always be my first love no matter where I travel/live. I first ventured to the City of Lights when I was just sixteen & my life changed forever. Fast-forward to my junior year of college & I jumped at the opportunity to spend 5 months living the Parisian lifestyle. Not only was this the best experience of my life, it was the ultimate gateway drug, yes, I had truly been bitten by the travel bug. The only remedy? More travel!

I understand that traveling is expensive, tiring, & you probably can’t take off that much time from real life, but my question for you is why not? Here’s a few reasons why I think you should hop on a plane riiiiight now.

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(Above: Giggling in front of La Tour d’Eiffel in Paris, France)

 

WHY YOU SHOULD TRAVEL:

1. YOLO

Yes, I said it! But think about it. You really do only live once & do you really want to spend day after day, year after year in the same place? Don’t you get bored, tired, restless or depressed with your daily routine? Now is the time to switch it up! The world is HUGE, and now is the time to go explore it! Not when you’re on your deathbed wallowing in what ifs. Today is the day!

2. It’s Not As Expensive As You Think

Realistically, after you decide to carpe that f-ing diem, you need to choose one of two travel paths. Luxe or frugal. Do you want to blow your life savings on 4-star hotels, gourmet food & pricey sites? Or would you rather rough it & cut a few corners to save some cash? Both are possible! Option one is a great time, but as a broke college student with no job in Paris, I had to learn to be thrifty with my cash. The best way? Do your research! Make a list of must-sees in the city you’re going to. Figure out what days there’s free entry to museums (first Sunday of the month in Paris), eat tasty street food instead of steeply priced restaurants, & avoid tourist traps! Learn to face your fears of hostels ( http://www.hostelworld.com ), & understand that planes are insanely cheap throughout Europe ( http://www.easyjet.com ), so are trains & buses ( http://www.eurolines.com )! If you spend smart then your trip won’t break the bank nearly half as much as anticipated!

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(Above: Bull-fighting is now illegal in Barcelona, Spain, but I still visited a historical ring!)

3. Life Experience/Skills

While in Paris–I grew up. I did things I never even knew were possible. Like beginning the semester nervous to speak French in front of others & ending it with being able to have political discussions in French & gain the elusive respect from locals! I also learned to be fearless. Metro broke down? Okay, I’ll figure out alternative routes. Bought tickets for the wrong Italian train? Hop on this one because it goes to nearby cities. When traveling you will experience a ton of random problems. Wallets get stolen, luggage gets lost, people bail on you. But you learn to overcome it. You adapt. You survive.

4. You Leave The American Bubble

As I’m sure you have heard, the entire world doesn’t love us nearly as much as we think they do. Most foreigners actually have rather negative opinions of us: we’re fat, wasteful, selfish, stupid, uninformed, greedy, bad dressers, loud, messy & self-absorbed…just to name a few. Being in a city who isn’t necessarily USA’s #1 fan, I had different experiences. It was eye-opening. You need to travel so you can shatter stereotypes. You need to go to countries that are “dangerous” “dirty” and “smelly” so you can be proven wrong & come back with understanding & perspective. Yes, Parisians are not very fond of Americans. But they are quiet, well-dressed, reserved &, in the most touristic city in the world, are surrounded by loud, sneaker-wearing, chubby Americans buying ‘I ❤ the Eiffel Tower’ shirts. When you travel somewhere & speak to people, you make sense of why they act they way they do. You gain knowledge.

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(Above: Being a tourist every once in a while is fine! Especially in Pisa, Italy)

5. You Try New Things

I am not the most adventurous of eaters, but I have had my fair share of ‘When in Rome’ moments. I have tried escargots in Paris, Sangria in Barcelona, fresh Olive Oil in Italy, Spacecake in Amsterdam, Fried Alligator in New Orleans, grits in Mississippi & the list goes on. When traveling, there are moments when you realize I will never have this opportunity again so, you just gotta go for it! Try local delicacies! Even if you don’t like them, you can always say you did it!

6. The Memories Last Forever

I know it wasn’t that long ago, but I cannot stop talking/thinking/dreaming about my adventures abroad. I have so many crazy stories (that I cannot all mention because this is a PG-Rated blog) & met so many awesome people! Most of whom I still talk to today! From just 5 months of being abroad, I now have people to stay with in Paris, Liverpool, the South of France, Italy, Ireland, Germany & Scotland! & You are all more than welcome to crash with me anytime if you’re in Prague 🙂 Traveling is a great experience because it’s something you’ll remember forever & can always look back on someday when you’re old & depressed with your mundane life. So why wait?

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(Above: Aside from the infamous ‘Red Light District’ Amsterdam, Netherlands is a very beautiful city famous for its picturesque canals!)

So I hope I convinced you to book a ticket right now! Yes, I know I’m young & you have kids, a house, a job, etc. blah blah blah. But they will all be right there when you get back. Use your week vacation & actually do something worthwhile! There are people between age 21-65 getting their TEFL certificates with me in Prague. Some of those people are my age, fresh out of college, & some are retired, have kids, grandkids but a dream that they never gave up on.

So, go start exploring!

-JG

 

 

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One Response to “Why You Should Travel”

  1. magi June 17, 2013 at 2:25 pm #

    I love this! Great writing and all very valid points. I can’t wait to start traveling again!! & I want to hear all about your teaching English abroad experience!

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