My love for travel started at a young age in which I give credit and gratitude towards my parents who made it a point to plan at least one family vacation a year. I think being born into a lifestyle where travel was appreciated allowed for me to not only find vacation time to be a norm but also gave me an opportunity to cultivate an interest in exploring new destinations and learning about new cultures. As a child, I also developed a unique hobby where I would write to pen pals from all over the world. I loved getting to know people from different countries and learning about what life was like in various places. As a result, my passion for travel extended beyond my childhood because travel provided me a chance to actually experience new cultures as opposed to just learning about them through letters from pen pals. Although travel can be an expensive hobby, I don’t think I can ever recall a time that a vacation was a waste of money or that I regretted spending money on going away to a foreign place. I do believe that creating memories and experiences are way more valuable than spending money on tangible things. So while flights, hotels, excursions, and other traveling expenses can add up rather quickly, I can still justify the cost and believe it is worth every penny.
Although the ongoing pandemic has put a hold on travel and I have not been on a plane since March of 2020, I hope to get back into traveling again sometime in the new year. While I miss traveling very much, in the meantime, I can reflect on some of my most favorite trips and what I consider to be the best traveling decisions thus far in my lifetime.
Visiting a School Friend Overseas – (Finland – April, 2016) – One of my childhood friends was living in Finland for graduate school and at the time that she moved, I promised her that I would find a way to visit her at some point during her two year stay. Although Finland wasn’t necessarily on the top of my bucket list, I was still intrigued and receptive to going since I had a friend who was living there while attending school. To this day, I still consider Finland to be one of my favorite trips which was a pleasant surprise because I really did not know what to expect. I think it was a combination of loving the culture along with being able to meet up with a friend who could show me around which made it an extra special experience. Although I usually don’t go to the same places twice all too often, I would go back to Finland in a heartbeat and cannot wait to eventually explore the surrounding Scandinavian countries.
Taking A Solo Trip For the First Time – (Iceland – August, 2018) – I always preach how I do not believe in missed opportunities and when an opportunity presents itself, you have to take it! I was looking into go away at the end of the summer and had a few days off where I could plan something; however, none of my friends or family were available to travel during the days that I was free. I was looking into going to Iceland and was lucky enough to find inexpensive flights for the dates that I wanted to go. I decided I was going to go anyway, even if that meant going by myself. The idea of exploring a foreign place was exciting and I was up for a solo adventure. I talked to a few friends who had gone on solo trips before and they all highly recommended going because when you go by yourself, you have the freedom to do anything and everything on your own terms. Iceland is a beautiful place and is another destination that I would definitely plan a trip in the future but next time would want to experience it with my significant other, specifically the Blue Lagoon which exceeded my expectations and was beyond amazing.
A Last Minute Long Weekend Abroad With My Mom – (Switzerland – November, 2019) – It is hard to imagine that two years ago from this time of year that I was in Switzerland with my mom considering the world has changed so much since then. We both had been wanting to plan a trip together and I was able to find a weekend that I could go away. She was open to going anywhere and Switzerland was a place I had taken a day trip once in the past when I was in Italy and knew that I would eventually want to go back to see more. Although we were only there for a long weekend, we had planned many fun activities within our stay and created special memories that I will never forget. I cannot express how thankful I am that we booked this trip because we had no idea that a few months later that we would be experiencing a global pandemic which would put a halt on international travel for awhile. It has taught me the importance of living life to the fullest and to plan vacations–whenever possible!