Learning to Travel… and Traveling to Learn

Traveling is my favorite way to learn.

The experience of traveling is so much more than just going on a vacation. You’re learning about your destination. You’re learning how people in different places and cultures interact. You’re also learning quite a lot about yourself.

I will never forget my first trip out of the country. I was 20 years old, and I was going on a service learning trip to Nicaragua with my college choir (yes, I was very cool). Having grown up in a small town on the East Coast, traveled almost exclusively to East Coast destinations, and gone to a liberal arts college on the East Coast, I had a pretty sheltered perspective on the world at large.

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When our plane touched down in Nicaragua at Managua’s tiny airport, my eyes were opened widely and immediately to how different this city was from what I knew. That probably seems obvious from the outside – duh, of course a Central American country that was war torn not too very long ago would be different from my white bread, Maryland hometown.

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And while, intellectually, I KNEW it would be different, it took until we were driving through the darkened city on an outdated school bus, staring at the buildings surrounded by walls and barbed wire, that it began to sink in: the world we live in is HUGE and varied and beautiful. But you’ve got to see it to believe it. You’ve got to experience it and immerse yourself in it.

And that, my friends, is why we are here on this humble little blog. I want to share my experiences to both keep a digital diary of the incredible places and people I’ve learned from, and also hopefully encourage others to get out there and travel. Whether it’s the big city a few hours away that you’ve never been to, a National Park several states away that has always looked pretty, or a country you’ve always dreamed of visiting, travel is your greatest teacher and I’m excited to learn with you!

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