“The use of traveling is to regulate imagination by reality and instead of thinking how things may be, to see them as they are” Samuel Johnson.
Growing up one is shown many different perceptions of the world around them. From fairytale stories to the movies shown on the television, one is able to create their own vision of what a foreign land might be like. However one does not truly know what a place is like until having traveled there themselves.
â–º QUARTER FINALIST 2012 TEEN TRAVEL WRITING SCHOLARSHIP
Growing up, I have always been an avid traveler. I always looked forward to the next adventure waiting around every corner. Yet I was unaware of my life changing journey that was to come. I was invited to travel with the group, People to People, on their trip to Italy, Austria, France, and Switzerland. Naturally I was eager to go, yet I was a bit nervous seeing that the 30 other travelers were strangers to me at the time. Nevertheless adventure was calling and I had to answer.
We left near the end of June to embark on the three week journey. We first arrived in the city of Rome, where upon arrival it was quiet clear I was no longer on familiar ground. We continuously ran into different customs there and were learning to adapt. It was thrilling. This unknown culture painted the city with a story we could not wait to read. Rome was full of such rich history that I was sad to depart it when we left for Florence, Pisa, Jesolo, and Venice. Each city was similar yet unique with its own story to be told. Venice, Italy is still to this day my favorite city I have visited. It translated its own beauty through the abundant canals, decorative masks, and stunning architecture. It was as Jasmine stated “A whole new world”.
Our next stop was in the country of Austria. I honestly was not expecting to fall in love with it as I had with Italy. Yet, Austria took my breath away. The nature alone was unlike anything I had ever seen. Here we each had the privilege to stay with a family in Wels, Austria. The family was very kind and welcoming. There I attended school which was neat comparing differences between their school and my own. Back at the house, they prepared many Austrian dishes which tasted exquisite. I actually kept one of the recipes of schnitzel to cook for my family when I returned home. Also listening to them speak German was enlightening of their culture. I then became inspired to learn German so that one day I am able to return to Austria and better understand part of its culture.
Austria was such an eye opening experience to see that even though the people are a great distance from me, we still have many similarities. I have made friends that I still keep in close contact with today. I cannot wait to return to all the countries I visited on the trip, and discover new things. It really taught me that you cannot truly perceive how a place is until you set foot there yourself. I highly recommend for people to explore and travel the world, for it is very rewarding to learn and discover all the world has to offer. As Mark Twain once said, “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
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