My first opportunity to travel outside of the United States was in the spring of 2010. I signed up for a school trip to Nicaragua with ten other students including my best friend Gabby. I look back on this trip and have nothing but good memories. Even though it was hot and I spoke zero Spanish, I felt at home in the discomfort. I have to shout out the people who made it all possible. First, my mom, who put the money in to pay for part of the trip. Our family didn’t have much extra pocket change at that time, I will always appreciate this. Also, my high school Spanish teacher. She used her own money to cover the cost when we couldn’t fundraise at lunch as we’d planned.
It took a few years for the next opportunity to travel in 2014 and since then I have been able to visit 23 countries, some alone and some with my best friends. I have even had the opportunity to take my mom on a trip to Europe. I owe her my entire life, but being able to give her those two weeks away is something I will always cherish.
The people I have had the opportunity to meet while traveling has been unforgettable. Some whose names I can’t remember and some whose names I’ll never forget. Like the girl in Bali who held my arm in place after it was dislocated. The Australians I met in Budapest that invited me on an adventure through Eger. The guy studying acting in France who kept me company as I found myself stuck in Casablanca, Morocco, and the man working in the Liege, Brussels train station whose smile was the only one I’d seen that rainy day. I can’t forget the communities that have made the biggest impressions. The people of Bali are some of the kindest souls I have had the honor of spending time with. I can’t forget about my adopted family in Cape Town.
As I reflect on these ten years of travel I look forward to seeing how the way I travel changes over the next ten years. I spent a lot of time counting countries trying to grow my list for bragging rights if we’re being honest. Thirty-six hours were spent in a city so that I could check off more countries in the short amount of time I had covered by the paid time off my job provided. In the future, I want to spend more time in one place. This includes revisiting the countries I loved and stay long enough to say I live in that place. I also hope to travel more with my family. I’ve been talking to my dad about a trip to Isreal for far too long. That needs to happen as soon as possible.
More than anything I want to be better at recording my travels. Whether that’s journaling, vlogging, or through this very blog I want to be able to look back on my experiences fifty years from now and have something to help fill in what I can’t recall. I already find myself forgetting where a certain thing happened. I’ve lost the photos from my Nicaragua trip now I want to do my best to keep these memories. Thank you all for being a part of this reflection. I hope you stick around to see what the next ten years bring.