Everybody has their travel firsts — first airplane ride, a first road trip with friends, first time lost in a foreign country with just enough taxi money to get home…
For someone who is constantly updating my Pinterest with the places I’d like to explore, I experience quite a bit of travel anxiety as well. I am the worst at packing — I put it off until the hour before I have to leave. While I’ve gotten savvier at navigating airport terminals, public transportation, & long-term parking, I catch myself losing patience at times. And at 30,000 feet in the air, with hands gripped to the armrests & my chest swelling with a sense of impending doom (turbulence is not my friend), I can’t help but ask myself: is this really worth it?
In one word, YES.
Traveling is so much more than getting the perfect shot for Instagram. It requires you to step outside of your comfort zone; for some, gathering the nerve to say f*ck it & book the plane ticket you’ve been talking yourself out of is an act of courage in itself. Some of my best memories have come from the most unexpected travel experiences. In St. Croix, we learned that you really do have to be 25 to rent a car & that it pays to be kind when you’re catching free rides across an island. I gave up on conventional beauty in Florence, where walking all over the city meant popping blisters with safety pins & that no amount of deodorant could save my sweaty, disgusting self. When I couldn’t find my friends in Dublin & the locals hailed me a taxi home. The stranger who gave me her bus ticket outside of the Eiffel Tower. Each time I was forced to stray from my plans, it didn’t turn out to be the end of the world. Beautiful shorelines, exquisite architecture, & shameless selfies aside, I continue to travel because it reminds me that I’m capable of anything.
Of course, you also learn to appreciate the comfort of returning home. My mom always talks about the night we got home from Disney World. I was six years old, exhausted, & probably unaware of what end of the country I was in at that point. My dad met us at the airport terminal and, without saying a single word, scooped me up in his arms & took me home to my warm bed & stuffed animals. It was the longest we’d ever been apart &, today, I still believe that my travels since then have been more special because I knew I’d have someone to share all my new stories with after.
It doesn’t take long before I’m dreaming of which roads to follow next. Today, the millennial generation is making self-exploration through world travels a priority. They’re finding out that time is valuable & taking the risk on a once-in-a-lifetime experience now is better than living with regrets later on. The workforce is evolving away from your standard 9-5 in an office cubicle; it’s possible (& even advantageous) in some roles to work remotely. As a nurse, I hope to never feel stuck in one place or without room to grow. I know that there are opportunities for me to work virtually anywhere & to connect with patients from all walks of life on the way.
You don’t have to go far, as long as you’re going somewhere. Where will your travels take you? The adventure awaits…