Sometimes, people are stuck in a box. This box can seem large to them, so as not to be claustrophobic. This box can even be comforting to them; after all, everyone chooses their own box. Some people are born and raised in a city with people they are familiar with and they end up staying there for 20-30 years. During this time, life gets in the way of their ability to travel. It’s always a “good” excuse… “I’m new to this job, I can’t take vacation days for at least a year” or “I’m saving up for a ring” or “I’m saving up to get a house”, etc. There is always something holding people back from seeing outside the box.
I lived in that box for too long. Not by choice; at the first opportunity I had I spread my wings and burst through the box, shattering it as if it were made out of glass. (Okay, yes this is a little over dramatic) I planned a trip to Spain where I would be going alone, without anyone I had previously met, on a group tour with people my age. All of the normal considerations were raised to me by the people around me, “Are you sure you want to spend all of that money” or “You could use that money for a down payment on a new car”. Yes, people I did want to spend that money and the car I have now is perfectly fine. The money was unimportant to me; I would have spent much more just to have the experience.
I have traveled to Europe before with my mom when I was 15. We traveled all through England and made a stop in Edinburgh, Scotland and we really saw some wonderful things and had a fantastic time. You must be wondering how my glass box wasn’t shattered when I was 15, right? (Bueller? Bueller?) The difference is that I was still under my mom’s wing when I was 15; the decision to go, all of the courage that it takes to travel was mustered by my dear mother. The experience was still wonderful, but there is no substitute to stepping out on your own adventure.
When I booked the Spain trip (7 months in advance – I was jazzed), I figured that I would love the cities. What’s not to love about Barcelona, Madrid, Granada, Sevilla, and Costa Del Sol? I knew I would love the history and the distinct, ancient architecture of these amazing European cities. I knew the food would be out of this world (I was constantly dying and going to heaven) and that the culture would be rich and evident. I mean it’s Spain for Christ’s sake! What I didn’t realize was that I would meet such incredible, unique people along the way.
This trip was the best trip I have ever had in my life, and singularly some of the best days of my life. This was all made possible by the incredible people I met on my trip and all of the people I came in contact with. (Shout out to La Familia) I never expected to meet people that I not only enjoyed spending my time with, but people that I would put at the top of the list of any future trip I would want to make with a group of people. It’s amazing how after just ten days I feel like we have known each other for a lifetime, but I have no doubt that we will keep in touch for many years to come.
People are the most important part of life. Buying material items, visiting outlandish locations, going on adventurous trips – none of it is worth anything without amazing people to share it with. The people I met fill me with hope; there are outstanding people everywhere you look. They may be a different race, a different religion, a different nationality, but when it boils down to it we are all the same underneath. Learning to embrace new cultures and people is what travel is all about.
Shatter your own glass box; take a chance, it may change your life. Appreciate the people in your life and never lose touch with the ones that matter. Without them, you are truly alone.