Travel Changes

Joshua - Lakeside, Arizona
Entered on March 28, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: change, place
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Travel Changes

Before I could walk I found myself lying in my mother’s arms

in a seat miles above the earth. I was on my first airplane;

little did I know it was far from the last. She is from

England and we traveled there quite a bit when I was a kid. I

got to know and understand the English culture and its people

as I grew older. I made many friends and saw family I would

have never even met if I didn’t take that six hour plane ride

every couple of years. It made me aware that America isn’t the

only country on this earth; there are loads of different kinds

of people and different customs.

I believe in travel. I believe travel adds many good

qualities to one’s life- confidence, maturity and respect.

After I graduated high school my mom took me on a

month long trip around Europe. During this trip we went

through many foreign lands, full of many strange languages I

didn’t understand. When you’re an 18 year old boy trying to

find your train and can’t speak a lick of Polish you are

forced to either gain confidence in yourself and your

abilities or give up and never find your way home. I chose to

face the task head on, deciphering strange signs and trying to

communicate with people I could barely understand. I learned

the importance of will power. I learned you can’t be scared of

challenges no matter how difficult they seem to you at the


I also found out that a good portion of people are

genuinely friendly and surprisingly do like to try and

communicate with you. At one point in my trip I found myself

on a train standing in front of a window staring out with a

cigarette between my lips. A man walked up and said something

I couldn’t understand, I looked to his hands and realized he

needed a light. After I lit his smoke we proceeded to have one

of my fondest conversations in my life. We talked for about an

hour yet all we really only figured out from each other was

our names and destinations. It just amazed me how two

different people with completely different languages can find

a way to communicate with each other even if just in the most

basic form of conversation. It gave me hope that people in

this world really aren’t that much different, that we maybe

can one day find a way to make peace work.

When traveling you learn about many different

cultures, even if just traveling from state to state. You can

see a difference even in the way people drive or eat. People

have many different norms and values. Travel helps you learn

to respect and try to understand these differences. I believe

travel allows you to learn not only other people and there

differences, but it also helps you learn who you are. It

teaches you to be confident in yourself and gives you an open,

understanding mind. I believe in travel.