Samuel Johnsons once said, “All travel has its advantages. If the passenger visits better countries, he may learn to improve his own. And if fortune carries him to worse, he may learn to enjoy it.” As a young, non-experienced traveler this saying didn’t mean anything to me. I didn’t understand the complexity or the truth behind it. It just appeared to be like another famous quote that no one seems to fully grasp or care about. I know that I didn’t until this summer. A summer I will never forget but sometimes don’t want to remember.
In the month of July, I went to the beautiful country of Argentina, a third-world country in South America. This country used to be my home and haven when I was little, so I stayed with my family when I visited. My parents always talked about the tranquility and the resplendence of it; I imagined it was like a palace in the princess books my mom used to read to me, but my dreams were soon shuttered. As I walked out of the airport I could see the beauty surrounding me, but not the placidity. People looked heart-broken and lost in desperation. People lived in the streets with no one to care for them, no one to be there for them or support them. Buildings were destroyed and roads incorrectly built.
Coming from the bubble I live in, it was a shock. I knew this was going on in the world but I guess I was too young or too ignorant to accept it. Seeing it with my own green eyes changed who I am. Most people go on a vacation to escape the hassles of life, but I went on vacation and found myself with more problems that I usually face. Everything over there is more complicated, you can’t walk around by yourself at night, you have to be alert to people around you, you have to watch your back twenty-four seven and even after all that you still have a pretty big chance of getting robbed. I wasn’t used to living in these conditions but I learned.
The most shocking part of my vacation was when I realized that under all that turmoil and disaster, the beauty of my home country and its capital, Buenos Aires, still exists. The atmosphere is different, the people are different, the culture, the food, pretty much everything. People are more attentive to you and are willing to help you even when they can’t help themselves. Everyone sticks together to make the country a better place. Coming from there, I felt proud. Yes, the country is mostly poor and sometimes dangerous but people are there for each other. I may live in one of the safest towns in Florida but I learned that even though there is safety doesn’t mean there is happiness. I grew from this experience as a person and as a citizen. I know understand what Samuel Johnson meant. I went to a country that is worse than the United States economically and safety wise but I also went to a country were happiness isn’t overrated. Happiness comes from the soul, from having nothing and expecting nothing. I can better my country, my new home, the United States by reflecting on my homeland. First came the change within myself and then comes the change I want to see in the world.
For names of resorts and places to see, visit www.justargentina.org
Dear Reader: This page may contain affiliate links which may earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. Our independent journalism is not influenced by any advertiser or commercial initiative unless it is clearly marked as sponsored content. As travel products change, please be sure to reconfirm all details and stay up to date with current events to ensure a safe and successful trip.