Exploring

  • When my mother announced the family would be traveling to Iceland for Christmas my stomach dropped. A California girl, the mere thought of Iceland(!) during wintertime (!) made my toes curl, but there was no getting out of it.  My family exclaimed, “It will be fun!” and “We’ll have a white...

  • All my life, my father has taught me about adventuring in the world. My sister and I always tentatively listen when he mimicks stories about his backpack travels in Alaska, recalling sights of mother bears flinging their cubs across sandy shores or limitless acres of wild berries growing liberally...

  • They told me oxygen would be scarcer, but they didn’t tell me it was the mountains that would take my breath away. I was deep in the heart of the Peruvian Andes, in a small village called Ollantaytambo. It’s an old community that rests in the valley between the huge mountains, complete with Incan...

  • Travel is the insane desire to become lost. Lost in a culture, a language, lost in ourselves. And when I decided to study abroad for a year, I was completely unaware of how my world would change, of how the experience was as much about understanding humanity, as it was discovering France. When...

  • As a kid with an incredibly active imagination, I loved acting out the stories that my Mom read to me or what I saw in movies. I taped flashlights to my arms to shoot lasers like Buzz Lightyear, and built blanket fortresses to defend my stuffed animal subjects from marauding trolls. Sadly, it has...

  • The night was cold but the air was clean, so clean that the only thing that had polluted the perfect scent of the wilderness was the smell of fresh pine burning beside our camp smoldering away into the night. My friend and I came across the camp just a couple of hours before and decided to make...

  • I believe that the point of traveling is to escape a person's normal lifestyle, to break the habits of everyday lives. I grew up in a family of travel; we are always looking for new places to go in addition to visiting our favorite previous destinations. Last summer, we went to Paris. My parents...

  • The boat that had taken us through the waterways of St. Petersburg docked at the entrance to Peterhof, signalling that at last we had arrived at the mystical palace and its famed gardens. Although our brief canal tour had taken us past charming villas in pastel colours and had showcased Russia’s...

  • The sun sparkled high on this specific Sunday morning in Chicago, the weather perfect for the cultural encounter that awaited me. Yet, I was hesitant to interact with a society whose values and traditions differed from mine. I had attended local mosques before, but praying at a Mandir (Temple) was...

  • One does not simply walk a marathon in Antarctica, at least not without three layers of jackets and sweaters -- I learned that the hard way. It was March 9, 2014. I, filled with adrenaline, looked anxiously at the half-frozen, half-soggy, dirt-laden course. My head filled with second thoughts....

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