George is a small nine year old boy who lost both his parents when he was even younger. Now George lives with one of his friends, Jolame. Jolame’s parents now take care and support for both of the kids. I met George and Jolame while teaching at a school in Costa Rica. Mark Twain once said, “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” Meeting George and Jolame and many others has made a huge impact on my live and the way I view things. It’s hard to think that just by not going on a two week trip I could have missed out on one of the greatest lessons, and one of the greatest trips, of my life.
One of the greatest feelings in the world is giving back. Living here in the United States gives people a skewed perspective on the rest of the world. People have everything, they could get anything they want. Yes, there are some people that suffer and some that are homeless, and because of the living conditions in the U.S., they are unable to find a suitable living situation. People living the dream in the U.S. don’t know the reality of most of the rest of the world. There are countries in the world that are a lot different from the U.S., for example Fiji. Most of Fiji’s landscape has been wartorn from the past few decades. Most of the Fijian people live off the land and barely make enough money to support families. Some children have to walk up to two hours to get to school everyday, some don’t even have shoes. But the one thing people could learn by traveling to a place like Fiji, is that you will never see a single person begging for money. The people are fine with the life they live, even if that is living in an aluminum shack. This is one of the reasons that traveling abroad is good for teens, because it could teach them a lesson or two about giving back.
Apart from giving back, you also learn social skills. In so many different ways, traveling abroad is good for you socially. For example, you learn to overcome challenges. If you miss a flight or bus, you have to figure out how to solve that problem. This is a helpful skill to have for later in your life when you could need to know how to survive in one of these situations. Another reason to travel abroad is how it forces you to interact with people. Being an introvert, I rarely talk to new people and have trouble connecting with others. That’s another reason I like traveling so much, I get to meet the coolest, nicest people, that I will never forget. When traveling abroad you could be forced to stay in a hostel. Loads of other people who are traveling the same as you are also staying in hostels and they are all eager to get to know you and talk about whatever you bring up. Finally, the experiences you’ll have, and the stories you’ll tell. Events in other countries can change you forever, there is no way that you’ll visit a country and return home the same person. It’s all because of all the people you meet, local and fellow travelers, and all the experiences you’ll share with them. When you return to the states, your friends will love hearing all your stories,even though it might not look like it, and you’ll love telling them, just to throw you back to your adventure one more time.
It’s not only the people that you meet on your travels, it’s what they teach you. I have met so many great people while traveling to different countries, not only fellow travelers from America but also all the natives. I still remember some of the great kids that I met three years ago while traveling and teaching in Costa Rica. When traveling, you are immersed into a whole new culture with a whole new community of people. This can align your daily goals more to suit the openness personality trait. This can give you a whole new perspective of life and of the culture you come from. The new culture can provide an abrupt change in diet, this can unfortunately lead to travelers constipation, or the opposite-thumbs down- side of the spectrum. This leads us to jet lag, traveling to the other side of the Earth can lead to you being totally drained of all energy while getting used to the time change. That’s why, when traveling, you have to get the adrenalin pumping. There aren’t many opportunities back home to go skydiving, or ski in the French Alps.
For a different perspective I interviewed a fellow traveler that I actually met in Fiji. Her name is Carly and we got really close while spending our time in Fiji. She and two of her close friends had spent two weeks in Australia right before they came to Fiji for another two weeks. Those three grew up together and they definitely got closer to each other by traveling. She said that they love travelling. They had all been traveling for a few years and didn’t hope to stop anytime soon. To Carly, all the effects of traveling were good. She said the best part was meeting new, great, people. She said that she’ll never forget all the kids that we taught for. Since Carly lives right in Manhattan, she doesn’t get many of the views that we get either in Colorado or in a place like Fiji. She said that some of the views are so beautiful that it blows her mind. If she could live in a place like Fiji she would. Who wouldn’t.
You’re more likely to fall in Love. Being apart from your daily routine makes you leave all your responsibilities and worries behind. This makes life seem better in general, being relaxed. With all these worries off your shoulders, it’s seems so much easier to fall in love. If you go on an outward bound trip and are forced to travel with and meet new people, then you are no doubt going to fall in love. After all, you spend your days together mixing cement and building schools, and your nights cuddled up under the stars. The hardest part is leaving them when the trip is over and you have to go back to your normal everyday life without them. People say long distance never works, they’re right. You may see the person you love one or two more times, but slowly and surely you’ll stop talking. Even if you make each other bracelets that you’ll wear forever. There is always an end to everything.
It’s hard to stop and think about your latest text message or your last snapchat when you’re traveling around the world. Its also hard to text and smap then you don’t have international service. Traveling teaches you to unplug from social media and other forms of communication and encourages out to talk to new people. Language is one of the better aspects of travel. Being able to speak a second or third language is really helpful and fun to use while traveling in a country that speaks another language. It helps you connect with people on a whole new level. When I taught in Fiji and in Costa Rica, I actually became close friends with most of the kids. Even with the language barrier, there was still a strong connection. Whether it’s getting directions or whether it’s having kids at a camp teach you swear words in a foreign language to have you say them to your friends. It makes the experience much more real and immersive.
Overall, there is no downside to travelling abroad. There are tons of places outside waiting and millions of people to meet. There are hundreds of different cultures out there and different ways of life that are a thousand times different than what we have here in the United States. Traveling broadens your mind and personality, making you a better person. I know that, from my personal experiences, that you can learn more about a different culture by experiencing it, than you ever could by taking a class in school. You learn to value experience over material objects, and you learn to live in the moment. You really don’t start seeing the beauty in everything till you put the camera down. I will never forget any of the places i’ve been to and i’ll never forget the people i’ve met. You learn to be more open to different ways of life. People that live in the United states need to learn to give back. Traveling does that.