A Little Perspective… What Travel Means to Me

I was a mere preteen, no, not even preteen, I was 11 years old when I traveled for the very first time. It was the beginning of something very special, the beginning of something few people that age get to encounter. Now that I am back home, I understand even better that not many people in general get to travel around the world like I did when I was eleven.

Being a pessimistic youngling, I was opposed to the idea of change in my life, the only thing that mattered at the time was friends and shopping. In other words, I was not open to change or new ideas, nor did I look at circumstances or situations from any other perspectives except for my own. Now, I thank all the Gods of all the world’s religions that I have matured and become rational enough to be grateful beyond description for those past opportunities.

A photo collage of Costa Rica, Panama, Burma, and Thailand—four of the countries I have traveled in!

I have landed in eight countries, and I traveled through seven. (Yes, in my opinion, layovers count because you were technically on foreign ground! Plus, it makes me feel like I’ve even remotely traveled to as many places as my Aunt Shannon.) Throughout those journeys, I learned so much and my experiences opened up many doors in my life that were not there before I traveled.

Right now, I am involved with a program at school called National Juniors Honors Society. I wrote about my traveling life as my entrance essay, and I don’t think I would have been accepted into this program if I hadn’t because it’s competitive, and only certain people can join.

So why should you travel?

You see, now that I have traveled, I can tell people that I have been to different countries and have learned different languages. That I am interested in different cultures and different religions.

That I have listened to people’s life stories from around the world.

I tell them that I held a conversation with a woman with eyes that seem to hold the wisdom of a thousand years.

inle Lake, Burma
A woman in Inle Lake had eyes of a thousand years as she continuously stoked the fire of her home while we visited.

When you tell someone this, they tend to take a sudden interest in you. Travel makes you interesting because you’ve seen and learned so much more than a book. Like you’re a zoo and they just want to know more and more, and having the ability to quench their thirst for information about those subjects is such an amazing feeling. You could almost call it a sensation. Whenever someone asks me about the most intriguing and amusing part of my life, the first thing that flashes into my mind is travel. It’s unique, inspiring, educational, informing, and that’s why so many people have the desire to travel.

Recently, one of my new friends found out I wasn’t exactly thrilled at the thought of different countries and different people when my Aunt first told me we were going to Southeast Asia. My friend went nuts. Her exact response was “ARE YOU CRAZY? I would’ve literally JUMPED at the opportunity to get on a plane and leave the familiar environment and seek out something more.”

To be honest, I was surprised. I was shocked because I personally didn’t have that mentality at our age and to know that my friend did astonished me. My intentional reason for writing about my friend’s perspective on travel is basically to show that if you’re just a regular teenager who’s apprehensive of stepping out of the usual, don’t be. You don’t have to love the idea to be willing to give something a try. I say this from personal experience.

By traveling, I learned how to make a VARIETY of friends. By traveling, I have more opportunities for my future (like my Junior Honor’s Society). Also, when you travel people find you more interesting because you come off more mature and educated, and so much more that it helps you with your everyday issues.

I am 13 now and travel is now a priority for me because those eight countries had an astronomic influence and impact on my life. And this experience with travel reminded me to be open-minded about new things. Travel taught me to do as much as I can with each new chance because there’s only so much I can do in this lifetime, so I have to start now!

When other teens ask me what it means to travel, I say: when new opportunities reach out to you, grasp them with all your strength and run. It really is worth all the change and I guess as you could say, “abnormalities.”

1 thought on “A Little Perspective… What Travel Means to Me”

  1. Ana, congrats! You are surely on your way! Recently I returned from 3 years in Washington DC were I had to learn that Americans do not like to travel abroad. The amount is significantly low. Now reading your little story it reminds me how I became a traveller.
    I wanted to spent x-mas in Paris with my Uncle. My Mother kept shaking her head. I kept returning and calmly bud adamant insist in doing so. On the end I was allowed to do so! I was over the moon, felt so very grown up! I got introduced to the conductor, ordered a hot chocolate and started my 400 miles border-crossing journey to Paris.
    I was 6 years old and this journey boosted my self esteem and confidence.
    Little did I know that my adult brothers were strategically placed in the adjoining compartments watching over my every move. I was 6 years old and my mother has done an incredible job!
    This journey has turned me into a nomad. Till today I feel this tiny bit of nervousness, lots of excitement and gratitude that I can live the way I want, travel as I like.
    Many years have passed since. I was nomad before the becoming digital nomad became fashionable and an incredible way to sustain oneself.
    I wish you all the best and for sure we will hear often of you.

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