BreakingModern — I am not a smart person. I’m a clever person, a reasonably funny person, a hard working person and a not altogether idiotic person. But I am not smart. Seriously. Ask me to do any math beyond the sixth grade level and I will prove myself to have incompetent sixth grade math skills. While not “dumb” and most likely just a notch above average, I’m quite frankly just not smart.
This confession, in theory, proves that I am an honest and blunt person. I seem to know what I excel at and enjoy doing, and what I’m dreadful at. In fact, I’m dreadful at many things (eating without spilling all over myself, any sort of athletic event, both falling asleep and waking up, etc.). There is one topic I feel especially confident speaking on though: traveling. I’m not going to scream and shout about the obvious benefits of travel. But I’ll sell you on it a bit.
At the age of 18, I’ve traveled to eight foreign countries (seven, if you don’t count Vatican City). This is not something I say to brag. It is simply something I say to express thankfulness for how truly fortunate I am. I’ve been lucky enough to be able to climb Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh, attend a cookout in a small French village at the actual home of my tour guide, visit Shakespeare’s childhood home and his grave and experience a truly miserable night in a Florentine night club. It was scary and weird. But hey, when in … Florence.
The opportunities I’ve been given to explore European countries have actually changed me. While that sentence may read as over-the-top and self-aggrandizing, it’s true. I’m from the Dakotas (both North and South), and while I’d always had the urge to leave home, at least for college, I’m not sure I would’ve had the courage to do so if I hadn’t started taking these excursions. When home is all you know, leaving home is bound to sound scary.
Traveling is entirely worthwhile–and possible, especially if you’re around my age. You may think, “What a prick. Doesn’t he know traveling costs a lot of money?” I do, and that’s why I took a full year to save up my earnings to travel. A lot of people can’t do that I understand. Still, I’ve known quite a few people who do have the means to travel, but choose not to, as they’d like to save their cash to spend on a material object. That, to me, is ridiculous. Saving your money isn’t ridiculous, but saving it to spend on an item is.
Here’s what I do know: Even if you get stuck with a dude who wants to eat at McDonald’s rather than taste the local cuisine – traveling is worth it. Even if you get separated from the rest of your group on the Paris Métro, traveling is worth it. Even if you have to wait 40 million years in a customs line, traveling’s worth it.
It’s worth it because you can find yourself staring at the very desk at which Charles Dickens wrote his serialized and now classic novels and you feel insignificant (but in a good way). Traveling is worth it because of St. Peter’s Basilica, Notre Dame and the dozens of other brilliant cathedrals that have blended together in your mind. Traveling is worth it because it allows you to truly get outside of yourself and experience something beyond your comfort zone.
I’ve been to eight (or seven) countries that aren’t my own. But, excluding Canada, all of these destinations are in Europe. Though I do believe I’m well traveled for my age, I’d obviously like to make my way to the rest of the world too. Traveling isn’t about keeping a scorecard of the countries you’ve visited. It’s about letting the cynical homebody inside of you take a rest so you can actually live for a while. Hopefully, you’ll give it a shot.
So go ahead, travel. What’s stopping you? I mean, if this guy can do it … so can you.
All Screenshots: BMod Staff
Image Credit of Author: Jordan Wold