Some things just don’t change.
I still live in the same community I was born and raised in, and I still believe that traveling is one of the most rewarding things you can do.
From an early age, I started traveling around the States with my grandparents and brother. Those first few years, we primarily stuck with Disney World in Orlando, Florida or visiting my Grandpa in Biloxi, Mississippi, while he was working there. We would occasionally venture to Kansas or Texas to visit our extended family, too.
Once my brother and I got a little bit older and could understand how to appreciate travel more, my grandparents started taking us to the places of our dreams.
In those late elementary school years, we visited San Diego and NYC, and we were really just getting started. In junior high and high school, we moved on to bigger things – hello, Europe!
Growing up traveling with my grandparents has shaped me into who I am today.
Learning more about my family’s journey to the United States, while walking the streets of Hungary has made me feel more connected to my roots.
Drinking my first cocktail in London with my grandma and making my grandpa upset made me learn to live a little (grandma’s words; not mine).
Traveling to Italy made me even more passionate about learning languages; I wanted to be able to communicate with everyone in their mother tongue.
Visiting Germany encouraged me to enroll in German 101 my senior year of college.
Exploring a country where the first language is not English has made me an advocate for anyone who is still in the process of learning a language or anyone who speaks broken English. I give so much credit to anyone out there trying to learn English. If it wasn’t my first language, I don’t even know if I could absorb it – hats off to you!
Basically, what I’m trying to say is that so much of who I am is because of these experiences. It’s all because of my grandparents sharing their love for travel with my brother and I.
We are all getting older. My grandparents don’t travel as much as they used to, and my brother and I are busy starting our careers. This March, we took our last trip together. We went to the Czech Republic and Austria. Even now, I am writing this with tears in my eyes, knowing an era has come to an end.
I have the opportunity to put everything I’ve learned to the test. In less than two weeks, I am going on my first solo trip to San Francisco!
When I bring up my trip, people always ask who I’m going with. I reply that I’m going by myself, which normally freaks whoever I’m talking to out. They are honestly in shock that I’m traveling half-way across the country to a state where I don’t know anyone all by myself.
However, I’ve been thinking about it. I’ve seen so much already. I’ve navigated metro stations in foreign countries. I’ve used my German, very poorly I might add, to help my brother and I get back to our hotel in Austria. I think I can do it. In fact, I know I can do it.
This trip is going to be a huge step for me. Once I conquer this, I will prove to myself and my family, that I am fully capable of relying on my instincts in new territory and enjoying my own company for a week.
Gaining this kind of freedom is huge for me. I no longer will have to worry about finding someone to travel with – I can do it on my own.
First it’s San Francisco, and maybe next it’s Hungary – who knows!
I can’t wait to see where this chapter of life takes me.