How big is your backyard? Before you answer with the actual size behind your house, I want to tell you it can be as big or small as you want it to be. Past our neighborhoods, past Orlando, and even past Florida, there is literally a world waiting to be discovered. Full of different people, cultures, food, ideas, there are endless possibilities. We limit ourselves to because we are too scared to venture out of our comfort zone. So far my backyard consists of the United States, Mexico, and Costa Rica. Exploring through all these places has influenced me in such a way that it has left a thirst for a greater understanding of our world and all the different people that inhabit it.
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Traveling to completely new countries has opened my eyes to different ideas and has shaped me into a more courageous person. The challenges I faced in crowded airlines, desolate villages, and unknown cities helped me develop communication skills, leadership, as well as made me aware of how beautiful the human culture can really be. As the great Mark Twain said, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.” Being close-minded from the world hinders your mind to ideas and possibilities one has never dreamed of.
Furthermore, I believe that every culture has many things one can learn from. For example, the locals in Costa Rica say “pura vida” to say goodbye to one another, which literally means pure life. Unfortunately with the hectic pace in the United States many have forgotten to “stop and smell the roses.” In Mexico I learned that family is the most valuable possession one can have. Looking at the dusty family portrait that hangs over my grandparent’s living room reminds me where I come from. Knowing where you are going, but never forgetting where you came from is vital to expanding your horizons.
Because the world is so large it has given me a desire to explore new places and continue to develop as a person. My experiences have been life changing and I do not want to stop expanding my backyard. With dreams of studying abroad to Europe and even further out, I want to leave a footprint on the world in a positive way. I strive to influence people to become more understanding and receptive of the environment around them. As Saint Augustine said “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”
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