5 reasons to travel

When I tell people some of the places I've gone in the last few years, I often get a lot of questions. Most of them go a little like this...1) why would you spend money that when you have to pay off loans soon? 2) why would you go anywhere with all the scary things happening? 3) how do you pay for travel while also paying tuition? I have gotten these questions over and over again from friends, family, and strangers alike. My answer? I love to travel.

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The last two summers I have left the U.S. with friends (something I never thought I would do) and went on 8 hour + flights to see different parts of the world. Both times it was a huge struggle to pay for, and both times it was completely worth it. I had to make a third account and put money in every week and let me tell you, it was hard. There were times were I felt scared of being somewhere new and lots of times when my parents were nervous. But every time I get back, I can't stop thinking of where I'll go next.

Here are 5 reasons I love traveling...

1) Culture - I have never been one to really get into history. In fact, that has always been one of my least favorite subjects in school. I have an extremely bad memory (my parents will tell you!) and having to remember dates and events and names was never an easy task for me. However, exploring new surroundings and historical places and reading about them are so different. Experiencing how people live there life is incredible. I loved how friendly the people were when I went on a mission trip to Peru, they were so constantly grateful for our service. I was head over heels for the sophistication of France and how beautiful it sounded when people spoke to each other. I wanted to see everything and take in as much as I could.

2) Independence - To start off, I would not consider myself a very independent person. I always like to make sure I am doing something the right way or rely on my parents to help me out. France was a big life moment for me because I only went with my Little, who happens to be younger than me. We were totally on our own and I researched for months to ensure that I was prepared. Of course some things went wrong, because ya know, life. But we got through it. We figured it out and everything always seemed to work out in the end. We navigated the streets of Paris, we communicated with people even though we didn't know much French, we conquered the subway, we made the trip happen. I feel so proud that for once we could only rely on ourselves...and we did it. It was amazing.

3) Memories - As I stated before I don't have the best memory. However, I know these trips are ones I will never forget. I still remember how rich the chocolate ice cream was at Bertillon, how much joy I felt when I volunteered with the kids in Lima, and how the air was just purely magical in Paris. I remember how astounding it was to see the Eiffel Tower for the first time and also how terrified we were when we almost didn't make our train back from London. These are experiences I know that I am never going to forget. Whether that be from looking back at the millions of photos I took, or just seeing something and being reminded of the trips, I will always have those memories.

4) Appreciation - While I have loved experiencing different cultures and countries, traveling always reminds me of how good home is. Taking these trips and realizing how lucky I am to have the things I do is something that's always an eye opener for me. In Peru we had next to no hot water and we weren't allowed to drink anything but bottled. In Paris, we survived two weeks without air conditioning in the middle of summer. These are things that people just live without and think nothing of it. Traveling always reminds me to remember to be grateful for things that may seem mundane because they are so accessible. I can't even express how amazing it was to take a hot shower when I returned home from Peru!

5) Dreams - For as long as I can remember, going to Paris has been my dream in life. It was something I never thought would happen, just a little trip that I constantly fantasized about. I want to say, that if you dream of going somewhere, someday...make it happen. I had lots of obstacles when planning this trip, but I made it happen. I saved the money, made the plans, and worked out every detail. Dream trips may seem impossible, but they don't have to be. We always made sure we were getting the most for our money and made payment plans to ensure that we were prepared. Going to Paris was more than a dream come true. I still cannot believe that I was there. If you have your heart set on traveling somewhere, find a way to make it happen. Even if it takes you a few years to get the money to go, it will all be worth it. I would 100% do it all over again.

PS, check out my Travel tab to see more from my trips to Paris and Hawaii!

XO, Raquel

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