You Should Travel!

Published by Lauren 1 year ago on Fri, Oct 28, 2022 3:21 PM


 Have you considered traveling abroad? Is it a goal of yours? A vague hope? A slight inclination? Well then, you absolutely should. End of story. 

 Just kidding - that’s not the end of the story! But I wasn’t kidding about the travel part. Traveling is awesome. I wasn’t much of a traveler myself until last summer. I mean, sure, I traveled around the U.S. a bit. I leave my home state of Iowa every year to visit Missouri and Tennessee to see family. When I was choosing a college, I was even adventurous enough to leave Iowa’s cornfields behind for the exciting, foreign, dangerous, and wild lands of… Nebraska. But over the summer, I got the chance to leave the U.S. I spent one week in Istanbul, Turkey, and four weeks in Tunisia, Africa. That trip really opened my eyes in ways I didn’t think were possible. It was incredible to be a part of a new culture, where I could just step out onto the street and immediately be hit with a sense of wonder and discovery. Everything was different, and I would encourage everyone to get a taste of that wonder. 


But enough of me. What about you? You may be thinking, “Travel sounds nice, but kinda scary.” It is - because it’s new. You can’t really predict how you’ll be impacted by the culture of the places you’re going, the personalities of the people you meet, and all the unforeseen factors you can’t control. It can be scary. But new, and even ambiguous, is nothing to be afraid of. We don’t foresee everything that’ll happen when we go somewhere new and have new experiences. But that’s the whole point! We can’t grow if we never step outside of our comfort zones, and sometimes what we find outside of our comfort zones is so wonderful that we wished we had done it sooner. 


Continuing in your train of thought from earlier, which I so rudely interrupted, you may once again be thinking: “Travel sounds awesome, but oh so impractical.” I agree with you, actually. Travel does sound impractical. Where are we supposed to go? When? How do we plan that into our lives? We spend all school year, you know, at school, and then all summer working our tails off to pay for said school! Speaking of which, how are we supposed to pay for travel? We’re all already broke! And there’s the crux of the matter. We are indeed all broke. But honestly, I think that’s why this is one of the best times to travel. 


College is cool because a lot of the time, opportunities fall into our laps. We have job opportunities, internship opportunities, athletic opportunities. You name it, someone has probably shown a Powerpoint on it. Many of the opportunities that we get in college are for travel. There are study tours every year (except for 2020, may she rest in peace), mission trips, and many different organizations that present opportunities to serve abroad. These trips allow us to travel, but even better, they allow us to travel in order to help people. We get to learn and to give at the same time. Most, if not all, of these trips rely heavily on fundraising. There are individuals, churches, nonprofits, and other organizations that enjoy supporting people as they go abroad in order to serve others. Suddenly travel seems a lot more manageable.  


Even if you do wind up having to pay some of your own way, so what? I know that sounds rather callous. But really. College is an in-between time in our lives. I doubt that we will ever be so free, so not-tied-down-to-anywhere as we are right now. We don’t have much that requires our constant attention and care. What better time is there to travel? Plus, we’re all broke already! What do we have to lose? Nothing. We’re probably going to be in debt anyway. Yes, travel may grow that debt a little more. But the rewards we gain in skills, in experiences, and in memories are so much greater than the financial losses. 

This is the part where a lot of people I’ve talked to are on the fence. They know about the opportunities, about how realistic it could be for them to go somewhere new. But they get cold feet. They say, “Yeah, it’s a great thing,” but they get stuck with the idea still in an abstract form, and eventually, they push it to the back of their minds and give up on it. But if you really want to travel, or even just hope to or are interested, then do it. Don’t just think about it. Do it. Research some countries of interest. Talk to people. Find an organization to go with. Write it in your planner. Don’t let the thought get stuck in the abstract and die out. Commit to the idea. 


It’s not too scary. It’s not too impractical. It’s not some vague hope that seems fun but must be meant for someone else. Leaving the country is a big step. But you can do it!