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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UC Berkeley chapter.

Growing up, my family would aim to go on at least one summer trip each year. This is an activity that I have always been grateful for, but in recent years I have come to appreciate it even more. From exploring new locations to finding peace in the change in scenery, I have realized that the act of traveling away from my usual environment had drastic effects on my well-being.

For one, when I’m traveling or exploring a new city, even locally, it gets my body moving. 

On most weekdays, I sit on the couch for extended periods and work on assignments. Other than going to the gym, I don’t do much cardio. Going out gives me the chance to move more and keep my physical health well. 

Don’t underestimate the amount of walking you do when you go on a big trip. Over winter break, my family spent a couple of days in Seattle, and each day I racked up more than 20,000 steps in just one localized area.

Besides the physical benefits of traveling, I get a boost in serotonin from the visual stimulus of the new views and sightseeing. 

From hiking the greenery atop the Marin County hills to swimming in the beautiful blue waters of Carmel, I make it a goal to explore Northern California when I can on the weekends. Over the longer breaks, I prefer to cover more distance though. I have visited San Diego multiple times, but its beauty never ceases to amaze me. From the coastline to the Old Town, I manage to find new activities each time I’m there.

In addition to the environmental sights, I have had life-changing experiences from traveling.

Visiting areas I have yet been to has opened my eyes to different cultures and lifestyles. I believe that many life lessons are learned by getting to know people from various locations and even a peek into their life may change your perspective. 

My family spent some time in Hawai’i a couple years ago and was given the opportunity to learn about the history there from the indigenous groups to the traditional dances they perform. We also got to enjoy the amazing food such as indulging in the Kalua pig. 

Furthermore, I believe places hold sentimental value. 

The memories associated with certain places reel me back to them. When I’m overwhelmed, taking a drive or doing a short hike in spots that I have fond times in will relieve the stress. The fresh air calms my nerves as well. There’s nothing quite like a cool breeze as the sun sets over the mountains. 

While I have only seen a tiny fraction of what the world has to offer, I’m excited for many more adventures ahead. 

The older I get, the more I treasure new experiences with loved ones. Time seems to move much faster now that I’m entering young adulthood. Despite having newfound responsibilities, I hope my family tradition continues for many more years to come. 

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Kelly Zhen

UC Berkeley '24

Kelly Zhen is a third-year undergraduate student double majoring in Psychology and Linguistics. She loves to bake and fall down random rabbit holes by watching multi-hour video essays.