The Gift of Traveling: Escape Your Societal Bubble

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It is officially January 1, 2014. Many of you probably know what you want to do differently this year; however, many of you may not know what you want to change. Here is one thing that I wish to change the most this year, and I believe that many of you should do the same. For 2014, I want to begin traveling to different places and submerge myself in different cultures.

My lust for traveling began when I traveled to India in 2012. At first, I was skeptical about the entire trip. Leaving the United States –my home, to travel to a place unknown to me was a scary idea. I had never been outside of the United States, and going overseas for three weeks was overwhelming.

I did not know what to expect from this trip, but I knew that it was a once in a lifetime opportunity. However, I did not want to go to India just to say that I went there. I wanted to be submerged in their culture. I wanted to live how people in India lived. At the end of the trip, I realized that traveling has it perks. I realized that traveling is necessary in order to full understand our world.

So here are some of my tips if you are going to travel. All of these tips will help you have a successful trip and give you the most bang for your buck. If you have some more tips that I did not list, feel free to comment them below.

Tips for a successful trip:

  1. Do not take pictures of everything. Actually live in the moment. – Tourists are always taking pictures of everything they see, hoping that the experience will live on through the pictures. However, when you take pictures you are actually removing yourself from the trip. You are not interacting with the new culture that you are witnessing. You are letting your technology do all of the learning for you. In return, you will have no experiences to share, but photos to say that you were there. A picture is worth a thousand words, but the words are meaningless if you have no personal experience behind the photos. 
  2. Try not to use technology as much as possible. – During my trip to India, the only thing I used was my iPod to listen to music during my flight. When you use technology, your mind is not 100% there. When you travel, it is best to try and leave home out of the way of experiencing something new. I did not check any social networks or even called home during my trip (partly because there was barely any Wi-Fi). I made sure that I was 100% engaged with the trip so that I can learn as much as possible.
  3. Try new things. – When I first learned I was going to India, I thought about the food. I am a picky eater, so I was afraid that I was not going to like the food. However, once I got there I decided that I was going to try different foods. I was already in India so I might as well try something new. The worst thing that could happen was that I would not like it and simply eat something different. Also, be open-minded. Certain cultures might be different, so be willing to learn new things and not be so quick to judge.
  4. Journal. – It is important that you journal every night before you go to bed. This way you can keep track of all that you have learned so far. Also, it is good to journal because you can relive those moments in the future. Often, we rely on our memories to recall our pasts; however, we forget most of the details. This is why it is good to reflect on your day while the memories are still fresh. Also, you can look back and see how far you have changed. My journals from the beginning of my trip to the end showed that I changed greatly during the trip.

Those are some tips that I would give to you guys if you decided that traveling was a part of your to-do list for 2014. I believe that there are good things in traveling. First of all, you learn more about yourself when traveling. Also, when interacting with different cultures, you learn more about your own. Traveling could also be a way to create connections. It is also a way to meet new people.

There are many other places that I would love to visit, and I hope that 2014 will be the start of a long traveling journey for me. So if you feel like I do and wish to travel, please take my advice and begin your journey!

Remember, we are all citizens of the world.

Bon Voyage!

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