Try travel this spring break

Visiting new countries opens eyes to lives of others


Art by Jimin Yu

I have been lucky enough to travel throughout my life. Whether it is swimming with an array of colorful fish near a reef off the coast of Hawaii, hiking in El Yunque National Rainforest in Puerto Rico or touring the Catacombs in Paris, every vacation and moment of travel serves extra helpings of excitement. Traveling opens your eyes to the world around you. It allows you to think about what each part of the city, state, country, island and continent has that some other place does not have. Traveling offers opportunities to learn about cultures, walk through history and meet new people.

With over 50 million visitors each year, Italy has one of the biggest tourism scenes and, from it, a widely known culture. When I was there, I could see the culture in the people, the food and the everyday life. The people rushed while driving and walking. By the first half-day of being in Rome or Florence or wherever, each tourist feels the need to rush as well. Although the destination may be unknown or time is not an issue, everyone rushing around immerses themselves in the natural habits of the country. In the morning, a crimson and an espresso do the trick of waking you up. Breakfast is small, but important and for lunch or dinner. You can eat pizza nearly everyday without growing bored of it. A staple of the country, pizza varies slightly from region to region, and experiences such as making your own pizza give visitors the chance to immerse themselves in everyday Italian life.

In France tourists can stay for weeks and desire more. The history is everywhere, from the simplest cobblestone streets to the grandest chateaus. Visiting was not only on my bucket list but something that would spark my interest in travel and history. I was able to see what I had read so much about in history classes. I saw the Palace of Versailles, a jaw dropping building with beautifully decorated walls, and the small village (Hameau de la Reine) built for Marie Antoinette to make her feel more like a commoner. Each chateau made me realize the greatness of the country and how old it was. Even more recent in history, the Eiffel Tower was also impressive. The massive structure, a world wonder, was built for the 1889 World’s Fair. Millions of visitors flocked to see it then and still do now. Stories of its use in World War II as a command post and lookout point only intrigue visitors to take a ride to the top.

Lastly, meeting new people has been one of my favorite parts of traveling. I have met people on planes, while surfing, and even while lounging at the pool. I got to meet a girl who was from Texas, and she and her twin brother were going to Duke and were two of a handful of kids actually going out of state for college at the time. My family and I were also able to meet another family who moved every three years. They had lived in so many parts of the world and the country. Their next move was going to be to Hawaii. I do not recall whether it was for their dad’s job or not, but they also wanted to see different parts of the world.