Get Out There: On the Importance of Traveling

BY TIFFANY VAN GILDER

“Travel is not reward for working, it’s education for living.” –Travel Channel

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Most people think of vacation when they hear the word travel. Vacation from work or school, but not a lot of people know how much knowledge you gain from traveling. I’ve been lucky enough to get the chance to travel and without sounding too cliché, it has changed the way I live life.

A few years ago, I spent 14 days of my summer exploring Europe. After getting over jet lag, I spent two out of 14 days in Rome, Italy. They were filled with excitement, wonder, amazement, and delicious food.

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One of the most obvious differences is the architecture and the environment. Rome is filled with some of the most beautiful and detailed buildings, with carvings, sculptures and paintings. Not to forget about the many churches they have. Lucky for me, I get to say that I got to see the famous painting by Michaelangelo at the Vatican and that I have walked around the Colosseum trying to picture in my mind what the gladiators and chariots would have looked back then.

History was and still is one of my least favorite subjects. I never really paid attention in class, but listening to our tour guide give us all the details about all the different places in Rome fascinated me. I learned to understand history so much more than reading about it from a textbook. It’s amazing to get to see what you learned in history class and see how it applies in real life. It’s truly amazing. You can see how much work and dedication it took to not only build the different structures, but keep them maintained around for hundreds of years. Rome is known for their enormous amount of history and culture and that is what makes the locals appreciate where they live. One can tell how proud the tour guides are of their city in the manner of how they speak and give details about the history of Rome. I don’t think enough people in the United States are like that and I think it’s important to appreciate what we have. I’ve learned to focus and be grateful for the things I do have.

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The city I grew up in was not very diverse at all. Of course, Europe has many ethnicities and languages and it has exposed me to different cultures. From religion to fashion and food, they are all very different than the United States. What I love the most is that most people walk everywhere, or they go and sit down to enjoy their coffee or food, whereas here people are always in a rush. One of the biggest things I noticed is that people weren’t on their phones constantly, especially when eating. People were enjoying the food and the company they are with. Most people our age are constantly on their phones and not being able to use my phone made me realize how important it is to be in the moment and focus on the people and environment around me.

Traveling to another country is a once in a lifetime experience. People dream of traveling to Rome and I was fortunate enough to live out my dream. More importantly, it has helped me understand and appreciate what I have and the people in my life, along the way. It has showed me just how diverse our world is and has encouraged me to want to travel all over the world in the near future.