Via Kyle Gehman
27 countries, each with its own unique culture, memories and experiences. I’ve been incredibly lucky to do the things that I’ve done, but getting out and travelling, and more importantly travelling out of your comfort zone, is the best thing you can do for yourself.
My parents aren’t multi millionaires, they just find travel important so that is something they focus on for us. My mom’s dad was in the Air Force so they got used to being tourists when they moved around. Especially when they lived in Germany and could take an Air Force flight for $5 to almost anywhere in Europe. My mom discovered the joys of travel early, so ever since my brother and I were little she started trying to help us find those joys too. My first international trip that I can remember was after 2nd grade when we went to Sri Lanka and Thailand during Sri Lanka’s civil war. Since then, my parents have continued to take us to more “odd” places, and not just the museums and beaches of the luxurious cities around the world.
We’ve been to developing Rwanda with refugees from neighboring Burundi pouring in, Vietnam and the Democratic Republic of the Congo while UN peacekeepers patrolled the streets and our hiking guides carried machine guns. Trips like these are the most important and interesting in my opinion. Instead of getting sunburned at a beach or staring at ancient art or going to a museum about the Normandy invasions, we go see the Normandy beaches, visit a Rwandan school and hike a volcano. Exposing yourself to a foreign culture and letting yourself let go of all the things from home is so eye opening and exciting.
Being able to get a worldly perspective on other people’s lives and letting what’s affecting them affect you helps you in so many ways. You care more about what’s happening at these countries and it gives you a better idea of why what’s going on in our world is happening. While it’s a cliche and usually something your mom says when you complain about going to school, it also makes you appreciate things so much more. Seeing people living in huts made out of lava rock, or going 3 days without running water or electricity or people living out in the middle of a farm in Thailand makes you appreciate all that we have here.
I totally understand that not everyone can go to these foreign and expensive places, but I think that buying the brand new iPhone when it comes out is worth waiting for when you can go and see the world. Even just going somewhere totally new and letting yourself understand that culture and area whether it is Boston, St. Louis, Paris or Kathmandu is worth it.