First Time Going International...try seven countries. - My Family Travels

Dressing up in Prague
Adventure Awaits

I come from two undocumented parents from Mexico who are not able to travel internationally because of their migratory status. This status kept my family from exploring the massively diverse cultures of the world that my mother so desperately dreamed of. To this day my parents have not been able to visit the places I have been to but I am eternally grateful that they are happy to see me go off and experience what they wish they could see. Through this story my first international experience will be described because it is unique and unlike any other travel story.

One day in the year of 2018 my mother came to me and said that my school was offering an experience of a lifetime. I was obviously confused by my mother’s enthusiasm but I was quickly informed that I could possibly be able to see the content of Europe. After a week I came to the realization that even though my mother could not accomplish her dream of seeing Paris, she would do anything to see her son go and experience it for himself. In a couple of months I got a job and worked nine to ten hour shifts every weekend. Very quickly the spring break of 2019 was around the corner and I was more excited than ever to spend my hard earned cash on European food.

Three days prior to the trip, I realized that I knew nothing about the seven countries we would be going to. Instead of researching I decided that surprises are so much better than knowing what to expect. I purposely didn’t research anything and I am forever grateful that I didn’t. I visited the UK, France, Germany, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Austria and Czechia. Throughout the trip I was completely lost by the currency, language, geography, and culture but I learned as I went. I got lost in Paris, drained my bank account in Czechia, and got lost again in London. At the moment all were very stressful situations but now looking back at it all were hilariously idiotic and I learned so much from them. I learned to live in the moment, not worrying about the next country or where we would be staying or what I would eat. The ability to sit back and explore was a life changing experience. This is because ever since then I have made it my goal to live in the present moment. I made memories with my travel partners that will last a lifetime because we learned to live life like it should be.

I come not with an intriguing story about national landmarks or tourist hot spots, but with a story about a state of mind that should be used by everyone when on vacation. So often vacations are planned to the hour using a strict schedule when in reality vacations should be relaxing and care free. I visited the most beautiful cities in the world but what was more beautiful was the mindset and happiness that I achieved when I decided to live in the moment. My travels taught me to live in the present and to be grateful for the gift of life but that mentality should not only be used when on vacation. That mentality should be carried on to all experiences to reach a quality of life we so desperately want. I will end this story with a saying I heard from my therapist, “depression is an over focus on the past while anxiety is an over focus on the future. To live in the present requires training and experience.”-Arnoldo.

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