Travel: Familiar But Not For Granted | My Family Travels
Small Town in Southern Germany
Concert Hall in Berlin, Germany
St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City
View from Top of Hohenzollern Castle in Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Downtown Tokyo, Japan
Downtown Stuttgart, Germany
Torii Outside of Harajuku in Tokyo, Japan
Yokohama, Japan

When traveling makes up the majority of your life, it is easy to overlook what you might consider to be “the little things.” Moving across oceans six times in eight years, traveling has become second nature to me. I have seen more of the world than I can even describe, and have been more fortunate than I will ever know, no matter how much I think I appreciate my life. Not only have I traveled from country to country, but every time I move, a whole new region of the world opens for me to explore.

 

QUARTER-FINALIST 2015 FTF TEEN TRAVEL WRITING SCHOLARSHIP

Because I have seen so much, trying to pick one place to write about out of the dozens I have been is a confounding task. If I choose somewhere I found dazzling and adventurous, I pass up the simplicity of hidden travel gems. For example, I vividly remember bundling up in piles and piles of scarves as a child, trying not to freeze as icy wind flooded over the Great Wall of China. I also remember, however, fashioning prescription goggles with my father out of lenses from an old pair of glasses and water resistant sealant for our snorkeling trip to Hawaii. I remember maneuvering the narrow, bustling passages between shaved ice stands at Japanese summer festivals, the lively warmth of Glühwein-scented German christmas markets, the incredible deep green of the plants on the beaches of Thailand, and the friendly, vibrant feeling of downtown Dublin in the summer. I have taken the precise, fast-paced bullet trains through the subways of Tokyo, Japan, as well as the small, bumpy Tube full of hunched over businessmen commuting through London. I hiked over the serene Austrian countryside as September fog settled, flowing and swirling over pine-covered hills, and climbed orange dusted rock formations in the stifling heat of a long Texas summer. I have eaten baguettes in France, hot-dogs in New York, pizza in Italy, beignets in New Orleans, sushi in Japan, and dim-sum in Hong Kong. The memories I have of all these places seem to be endless.

As I sift through these memories, I sit out on my porch, listening to little German children play at the park across the street. I think about how strange it is, that these children are just like any other children in any other country, on any other playground. They giggle, scream, argue. They draw my attention back to reality. Watching these children, I realize that, really, in the most unexpected way, living in Germany has been one of the most amazing, surprising, confusing, and life-changing “trips” I will ever take. By experiencing life here every day, I get a more immersive view of the world than I would ever get just visiting for a few days. I am able to mold my views and opinions of the world with a very present reminder that I am not the only type of person in the world, that there are are an endlessly diverse number of other lives with different experiences, and that each person’s view of what the world is like is shaped directly by the experiences they have had. I am somehow lucky enough to have my view shaped by the hands of people all over the world. That is something I cannot overlook, and for such a view I cannot be thankful enough.

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