This is a guest post written by frequent contributor B.Positive.
Sometimes you have to travel halfway around the world to find yourself.
I just watched a recent video of Gunther Holtrof’s amazing journey to drive with his wife and car, “Otto” to as many countries as possible. He’s traveled more than 500,000 miles and has finally received the opportunity to share is journey when he crossed paths with photographer David Lemke.
(in case the video didn’t publish properly, it is linked here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-18910560)
Although the key to keeping costs reasonable was to forgo the two things this blog about (using points to fly around the world and stay in incredible hotels), we all can learn valuable lessons from his life and the places he’s been.
This is a good opportunity for me to share with you readers (all 1 one you!) how important travel is in adding perspective, culture, priceless experiences, and new friends in your life. Traveling to new places, be it on the other side of the world or on the other side of your state, is a good way to learn how others live and make meaning out of their lives. As Gunther says, you don’t realize how much you haven’t seen (and don’t know) until you’ve traveled.
For all of you out there who just graduated high school or are in college, regardless of which school you go to, what major you are, what you think you’ll do with your time in school, I STRONGLY encourage all of you to study abroad. College (or after high school) is the best time to go out and explore and experience a new culture on your own. By meeting people who are completely different from you and seeing how they make sense of the world, it’s helped me and can help you understand who you are and what you have to give to the world. It’s added perspective by helping me challenge my beliefs and assumptions about how the world works. It can help to develop your confidence and independence of living on your own. I’ve asked many friends and people I’ve met throughout my years post-college and I’ve noticed that the biggest regret among all college graduates (generally young 20-somethings) is that they didn’t study abroad. Regardless of all majors, situations, plans students have for spending their college years, studying abroad is one of the easiest and most incredible opportunities that students miss because of their lack of initiative. After my fourth year, I studied for the summer in Sussex, England for credits I didn’t need (as they didn’t offer courses I needed at my level), I still found it to be the most amazing experience that has come to shape my life for the better. It’s given me more opportunities to travel, see new places, and explore the world and myself as a person that I never would’ve had otherwise.
Colleges have great study abroad programs like EAP to help you find a country and school to enroll in a program. Studying abroad with a school helps you travel with other adventurous students and gives you a great opportunity to make new friends and explore the world together. If you don’t know what to do with your college years or don’t have a specific plan, I highly recommend studying abroad as early and often as possible. It’s a great way to open your eyes to what’s out there and to help you discover yourself.
This was just a brief post, but I hope it has some lasting impact on some young reader out there. I’d like to end with the following:
“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.” Mark Twain