“If you could go anywhere for a full week, where would you go?”
“What is your dream vacation?”
These are the questions I typically receive by all of my friends that ask about wherever I just came back from. You’re probably thinking, “walking down the streets of romance in Paris,” or “laying down on the tropical beaches of the Bahamas,” These answers are very intriguing, making me want to hop out of the booths of the library and buy a ticket to the next flight to that destination.
In reality, I cannot name my dream vacation because it’s more than one destination.
I have many desires to travel: to explore, learn, get drunk legally, meet new people, and discover more about myself. Traveling is so important for your soul. For me, it opens my eyes to new habitats, my mind to new cultures, and my heart to new experiences and memories that last a lifetime. No matter where I travel to, whether it’s to Paris to see the ravishing city of love or just to my crib in Los Angeles to lay on the beach and hit the typical Hollywood strip, I always gain a new experience.
There are many reasons why I usually travel to a usual haven. If I have a friend that I haven’t seen in a minute, I’ll buy a plane ticket to see them. If there’s a music festival whose lineup is calling my name, adios home base! Even if there’s a particular tourist spot that everyone’s talking about, I’ll get butterflies just thinking about having a picture from there. It’s a win-win situation.
If you ever get a chance to become friends with an individual from a different culture, PLEASE DO! Half of my friends speak a different language and I’m always learning their vocabulary bit by bit. My best friend is Norwegian and I’m still learning the Scandinavian languages; I’m half Swedish and I can only talk about different kinds of food.
Reflecting back on all of the travel spots I’ve hit, I always think about the socioeconomics of the area. Whether it was an affluent area or a dirty neighborhood, I always come back with an exceptional experience. From the dirt and pollution, arrogant people, and poor conditions of living in poverty, there is always something you can bring back.
About a year and a half ago, I traveled out of the country for the first time with my mom to do mission work in Costa Rica. I remember getting housed for a week and we got the WORST bunk beds and smell in the cabins that were provided and I would always complain about not being in my bed back in America. However, one of those days, we trekked over to the slums of San Jose and my whole mindset changed. My mom and I were feeding the impoverished children of that neighborhood, along with playing everyday games with them, and I remember playing my viola for the kids and they were just in awe. When I was finished, every single one of them roared in applause and clapped their hearts out. It was so eye-opening learning that these children have never heard this kind of music before and to this day I keep wondering if they will ever get to experience that kind of joy again within music.
In the end, our group that my mom and I were in traveled to Manuel Antonio, a beach resort aside from the Pacific Ocean, and I got to wade in the warm waves of Costa Rica. I also got to make a close friend from Grecia, a suburb of San Jose, whom I’m still in touch with.
Right now, I have a full itinerary of this year’s travels on my plate. From music festivals to visiting friends in Europe, I can already feel the butterflies kicking in my stomach. I know that any of these experiences will enrich my young mind for a lifetime and I can realize that life is more than a sum of our possessions and that if we travel right now, we will create memories that will last forever.
Now, pack that suitcase and get flying!