So Much More Than Just A Vacation - My Family Travels

I have lived my entire life in Utah Valley. I was born to wonderful parents who had graduated from college just a couple of years earlier and were living in Provo. We lived there in a small white house that was built during World War II until I was two years old, whe my growing family moved to the town of Lindon, about twenty minutes away from our house in Provo. Lindon has a population of around 11,000 people and its motto is "A Little Bit of Country". True to this slogan, Lindon is mostly residential and also has beautiful farms, orchards, and plenty of horses. It is a tight-knit community that still embraces many traditional values, and I have loved growing up here.

Despite my small town upbringing, or perhaps because of it, I have always had a passion for travel, and especially for experiencing new languages and cultures. I want to go everywhere in the world, not just to see famous places and monuments, but to really experience how another person lives. Traveling gives us the opportunity to look at the world through another person's eyes. And by doing this, we can discover who we are. It is impossible to understand your life until you compare it with another's.

If any vacation truely gave me this opportunity, it was when my parents sent me to New York City this past June. I flew there by myself and stayed with my mom's brother and his family who lived in New Jersey. To say I was excited for this trip is a huge understatement; this trip was a dream come true.

My aunt and uncle were the best tour guides anyone could ask for and took me to all their favorite places, as well as anywhere else I could think of. I couldn't believe that I was actually in The Big Apple, a place that I had only seen in movies or pictures, and I couldn’t wait to see all that New York had to offer. It's amazing how much of the city I saw in only three days. We went uptown, midtown, and downtown; I saw Times Square, Ground Zero, the Metropolitan Museum of Art; I ate New York pizza, Italian gelato, and a very burned pretzel bought from a vendor in Central Park

By the end of the week, I was in love with the city. I loved the hustle and bustle, the diversity, and the culture there, and I thought to myself, “I could live here.” Instantly, I felt a pang of guilt. I loved Lindon and almost felt like I was betraying my hometown with that thought. But as I contemplated my newfound love for New York City, I realized that I didn’t need to feel guilty. Growing up in a small town has helped to shape who I am- my beliefs, my tastes, my character. These are my roots that will keep me anchored as I branch out and explore the world. Lindon will always be my home, because that is where my family is and where I grew up, but during this trip I discovered that it is possible to be a smalltown girl who loves the city.

My trip to New York City was life changing. Even though I can check NYC off my “places to go” list, I feel like it has become a part of me. As I was leaving the city for the last time, my aunt told me with a smile, “I have a feeling you’ll be back.” I hope to prove her right.

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