Jason - Santa Monica, California
Entered on June 16, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: setbacks

I believe in travel.

When I was young, my mother always told me that you should see the world as much as possible before you depart from it. Back then, travel meant time away from friends and boring, long, flights and drives. I would dread the meaningless and mundane sightseeing that I had to endure, and would often cry and throw tantrums because my parents forced me to accompany them on their little “excursions”. To a six year old, things like Stonehenge and glaciers seemed like exactly what they were; a bunch of rocks and some melting ice. But, as I have grown older and more mature, I am beginning to realize that I really enjoy seeing the many curiosities of the world.

Since then, I have picked up backpacking. There’s nothing like putting together some clothes and a few necessities and hiking into nature with friends. There is a feeling of independence and accomplishment that comes with the heavy load and the multi-mile walk. But this is only part of the reason why I love backpacking. I love backpacking because it allows me to witness the beauties of nature, unscathed, raw and untouched. From lush forests to chilly peaks, there is nothing quite like breathing in the poetic intricacies of Mother Nature with the five senses. Waterfalls are one of my favorite places to rest and appreciate. There’s something about the cool mist rushing past my face, the taste of minerals in the air, the perpetual sound of water crashing against rocks, the vibrant rainbow formed by the mist from the falling water, and the smell of clean, unpolluted air that makes the outdoors so enchanting.

This being said, the outdoors are not the only place I enjoy traveling to. There exists an infinite amount of man-made beauty that could all not be viewed in one ephemeral lifespan. But not all of traveling is about tourist attractions. What I enjoy about traveling is the culture. In my annual trips to Indonesia, considered a third world country, their arts, crafts, dancing and rituals never cease to amaze me. Their manners, behaviors, and lifestyles seem quaint, because I am not accustomed to them. But experiencing these differences between cultures is why I truly enjoy traveling.

I believe in traveling because it allows us to get away from our everyday lives. It allows us to experience something different from what our everyday schedule is. It provides us with a much needed break from the work, stress, and repetition of what we do at home. Why do I love to travel? I love to travel because there is something I really enjoy in seeing sights, learning culture, and getting outdoors. For me, there is a euphoric feeling like no other when I hop on a plane, or get in a packed up car, because I know, wherever I go, whatever I do, I will be experiencing something new.