Traveling by A.R.

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.


Where We’re Going by O.H.

I feel that in some sense we have lost our way as explorers. If it wasn’t for Christopher Columbus venturing into the completely unknown America as we know it would most likely cease to exist as it does now. It is human nature to explore the unknown and to learn and adapt from what we know. The space race age was a huge step for mankind in learning what was truly possible and what man was capable of completing and places we could go. Space as we know it is the final frontier of exploration and it scares me that we are not putting any where near as much time and resources into the space program as we were once before. Technology has drastically changed since we went to the moon, what we hold in our pockets is said to have more technology than the apollo spacecraft.

As a child, dreaming about the future was the most fascinating thing, thinking about where we would be within 20 years and beyond. In the movie 2001 a Space Odyssey we thought by that time we would be traveling throughout space similar to as we do now on airliners, exploring our solar system for life. The technology is definitely there, with the exception of HAL, but we have ceased to capitalize on it. As a child I always dreamt of traveling through space and seeing the amazing works of art it has to offer but I fear now that those childhood dreams will only remain as such, the dream of a young kid.

While the issues our society are currently facing are important in creating a better and more peaceful world it seems that we have lost all interest in learning about what’s bigger than us and instead of looking up to the sky we will continue looking down at where we are. If we were to ever expand our space exploration program, I feel in order for us to put full effort into it not only a nation but as multiple working together, it would require a near utopian society which I see never happening, in the near future at least. it would be truly amazing to see a true effort go into it while I am young let alone alive but that may be stretching my christmas list a little too far. Space is truly fascinating and I do believe it is where our future needs to go if we ever hope to further evolve and expand because Earth will not be here forever. If it doesn’t happen in my lifetime I atleast hope it happens a little further up the road.

Humans have incredible imaginations with no limitations on what is possible and being able to reach out to those and teach others about what is truly possible is the best way of getting our nation interested in the exploration of space. Many are occupied with other situations and never give the distant future even a thought anymore. The majority of the general public often see movies at least once a month. In movies anything is possible and they can really get one’s imagination spinning about what is actually possible and what is just pure fiction. Almost immediately people are left completely influenced by the film they just watched in the theatre. 2001 Odyssey left so many inspired and excited for the future when space was still a new frontier now deemed possible for us to explore within reason. Many other films have been made since then with the recent inclusion of Interstellar. This film was about the pure exploration of space and finding new worlds, completely scientifically correct with a few small exceptions it was an accurate vision of what is now possible for us to do.

While the movie did inspire many briefly about starting up space exploration the fad soon faded away just as quickly as it arrived. More recent events of NASA’s spacecraft flying by pluto and receiving the most accurate pictures of the dwarf planet ever taken also led to a brief fascination in space sparking more interest in the now small government space program. Since NASA’s demise in the shuttle program many other privately owned companies have taken the task of space exploration into their own hands.

This is a huge leap due to the unlimited boundaries private companies face as well as the added value of competition, a huge factor which leads to the quicker and more efficient evolution of products. These companies are often contracted by other companies to launch satellites into space as well as deliver goods to the I.S.S. More recently however the task of launching humans into space has been growing with SpaceX leading the way.

SpaceX was founded in 2002 with the intent on revolutionizing space technology and eventually enabling humans to live on other planets. Since it has been created SpaceX has launched and tested countless rockets into space all with the plan to create an efficient form of space travel. It remains as the only private company to successfully return a spacecraft from low Earth orbit back to the ground safely in December of 2010. Again in 2012 the company made history by attaching one of its rockets to the International Space Station, exchanging cargo payloads and then returning back to Earth. Since then the “dragon”, the name of the spacecraft, has done this multiple times a task only previously accomplished by governments.

The future of companies like Spacex are starting to look brighter with a new contract signed between NASA and SpaceX worth 1.6 billion letting the company continue its missions to the I.S.S and eventually carry personnel as well, a massive leap for the company and helping to ensure its future to continue development.

If it weren’t for companies such as this, we may have completely given up on traveling into the unknown in America, leaving it to others such as China with a now flourishing space program. China has recently seen the massive growth of investors in their space programs and it is said to soon challenge the U.S.’s dominance which has been held for years. The competition is a welcomed challenge in the development of unmanned ships but unfortunately China is focusing more on dominance over exploration with the U.S. Officials have proclaimed that the main causes for the flourishing programs are so that in the event of conflict China can have a dominant program over the U.S in space which serves as a huge tactical advantage for ICBM’s and other forms of military dominance.

It is unfortunate that these are the circumstances leading to the evolution of space travel but if it is was will get us on the move to advance in these fields it is far better than nothing at all. perhaps the childhood dream of traveling in outer space is not comleytely dead yet. The future does not look as dim as it once was and I just may live to see the next big step towards traveling further than ever before and opening new horizons to be explored that were thought not possible.