America and Beyond - My Family Travels

Road trips, plane tickets, hotel rooms; each one relates to the next and they all fall under the same category, travel. To some, traveling consistently spawns anxiety; for me, however, it rejuvenates my mind and soul. Enthusiasm for travel was not given to me through my upbringing. In contrast, I just recently discovered the immense advantages of the experience.

My freshman year of high school initiated my desire to see the world. Over spring break of that year the school softball team ventured to Orlando, Florida for the “High School Spring Training Tournament.” This tournament took place in the Disney Sports Complex, where it hosted teams from all over the United States. A simple vacation in Disney World would normally not be filled in the ‘Life Changing Experience’ category, but this time was an exception.

Throughout the week my team competed against teams from all corners of the country. Each team had a different dialect and way of conduct that represented their cultural life back home. Even though their way of life closely reflected that of my own, the taste of variety sparked my curiosity. I realized that if a simple New Jersey accent could capture my attention, then just imagine what I could discover outside the comfort boarders of America the Beautiful.

When one confines themselves to the familiarity of one’s hometown, it is easy to forget how different the people of the world actually are. Across the world, America is known as the Melting Pot and during my trip to Disney World I realized the validity of this term. Long ago, people from all regions of the earth fled to America for various reasons and they agreed to mix cultures. However, over the decades, the different cultures have become ‘Americanized.’ At Disney World, I experienced the American version of the world. Fortunately that was only the beginning.

Yes, you can learn about different cultures from books or the internet. You can gather recipes to cook the food. You can obtain a CD to learn the language. You can even find specialty stores to by the clothing, but are you experiencing the culture? No. In my opinion, you need to be thrown into the place in order to gather the knowledge required for understanding that way of life. My trip to Orlando inspired me to say the least. I intend to further my explorations by embarking on a tour of Europe over spring break of the coming year. Travel connects us all. It creates memories and friendships, but most of all, it enlightens the mind and broadens the human perspective.

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