By Charlotte H. ’21
Traveling is truly an adventure. With each visit to a new destination, exciting challenges and surprises await. Having been to over half of the states in the U.S., as well as various foreign countries, I can say with confidence that being on the go has remained one of the most thrilling of experiences for me. Of course, there are uncertainties that come with traveling, and some of us may worry, to a certain degree, about flying on planes, or even forgetting to pack a toothbrush. Yet if we get past those moments of mad scramble in order to be prepared, we can finally see the uniqueness each journey holds. So many different components are what define a city or a group of people; taking the time to go explore and immerse oneself in a new kind of lifestyle is, really, a valuable experience.
New sights. Even if for only a day, there is so much that you can see in one place. Cities like Charlottesville, Virginia are historical landmarks; Monticello, which was President Thomas Jefferson’s house, resides there. Or, take Memphis, Tennessee; it really is not a popular destination, yet that was Elvis Presley’s hometown, and is also home to some of the most amazing barbecue. Memphis is also incredibly rich in its history — the Civil Rights Museum was opened there, and that place is full of the events of the past, and it commemorates one of the major events that have shaped our country as it is today.
The food. We live in a place that has such a wide variety of food, and in the Bay Area, we see so much fusion in the culinary world. Venturing out to other places gave me the opportunity to really taste authentic cuisines. Both Dallas, Texas and Memphis, Tennessee have delicious barbecue. It was so good that, one time, I had to carry barbecued meat through security at the airport, just so we could bring it home to eat. Or, from Baltimore, Maryland, we bought Old-Bay seasoned crabs, packed them in a suitcase, and brought that home to eat as well.
The people and the culture. Sometimes, the places we travel to are not only embodied by the tangible, physical things that we come into contact with. With the french trip to Guadeloupe, one of the most unforgettable parts was definitely my host family. I stayed with them for an entire week, and their hospitality and kindness only added to the fond memories I have of that island. The distinctive culture of Guadeloupe could be seen everywhere, and it was especially exhibited by the people, who were friendly and easy to talk to, albeit all us students were not totally fluent. And, going back to Memphis, I was surrounded by the blues music atmosphere; each city that I’ve been to has had a varying mood or feeling, and being able to explore and embrace that kind of difference has allowed me to see the same world through many lenses.
There are millions of amazing places that traveling away from home can take you. It really gave me perspective, seeing a world completely outside of the Silicon Valley bubble that most of us live in. A lot of other places are not as technologically advanced, nor are they as fast-paced, yet this stark contrast really brings a deeper understanding to the world as we know it. Through continuing to travel around to the “four corners of the Earth” (although it is round), I believe that there is much more that many of us have yet to experience and learn.