I remember the first time I went somewhere really adventurous, besides the usual trip to my uncle’s house in Memphis, Tenn., or up north to San Francisco. I did not really know anything about traveling the world or what places to go to, until I was twelve years old and my parents booked a trip to my father’s homeland: Turkey. From the minute I arrived, I fell in love with the city.
I must admit though I did experience some culture shock and anxiety. As I began to get used to my unfamiliar surroundings, I began to fall in love with the country, and the notion of traveling itself.
The next day as I toured the famous and historical city of Istanbul, I was in awe of how much one city could have so much to tell and offer.
As I toured mosques and ancient ruins left by the Romans, I even gained a love for world religions and history.
After exploring this one part of Eastern Europe, I moved on to Turkey’s neighboring country: Greece.
I was immediately captivated by its beautiful white homes and glistening blue water. It was like it came out of an oil painting; it just seemed so surreal.
The people there had an inner glow of happiness and serenity that you just do not see back home in the United States.
The people of Greece appreciate life and take time to enjoy life. This is something we need to learn back in the states. We need to focus less on the stressful demands of our hectic lives and focus more on what is really important.
Experiencing this different lifestyle, religion and culture helped open my eyes to another part of the world I did not know existed.
I felt ignorant and immature. I was in a tiny bubble for the first twelve years of my life. When it was time to leave to go back to my usual boring routine at home, I began to feel depressed.
However, on the plane ride back home all I could think of was where I wanted to go next. I was excited to see what other place God wanted me to see next.
The following summer, it was time to plan our next trip. And my parents chose Cancun, Mexico. I had always heard people talk about their beautiful beaches. However, this city had more to offer than its turquoise beaches.
When I arrived, I experienced a drastic change from what I was used to in California: the hot and humid weather. It took some getting used to. However, I got used to it pretty quick when we arrived to our hotel and could see the turquoise color of the water.
The scenery of this country was just unbelievable and breathtaking. It is nothing compared to the rugged and dirty streets of the Tijuana, a stereotype of what some people believe the entire Mexico looks like.
The amount of activities to do there are overwhelming. I was unable to do everything. However, I was able to go snorkeling and see Cancun’s beautiful marine life. It was a pretty amazing experience.
Not only was I able to experience the aquatic life Cancun had to offer, I also learned a lot about its history.
I also traveled to old city in the Yucatan peninsula known as Merida. It is famous for its history, its European architecture, and its production of henequen, which is a plant used to make rope.
I am truly grateful for being able to travel to these places. These are just some places I have been to, and there are so many other places where I want to travel.
However, time and the cost of traveling are two of the reasons that have stopped me from seeing the entire world. I encourage everyone to travel even if it is only to one country.
Although financial obstacles prevent many to travel the world, it is well worth the cost.
Traveling is something everyone should do because it allows the person to learn more about the world, become less ignorant about our world and open minded about other cultures and human beings whom we share this world with.
Natalie Veissalov, a sophomore journalism major, is news editor of the Campus Times. She can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.