“The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.” – Saint Augustine
A friend once told me that she had no desire to travel because she hadn’t even seen all of Florida yet. I was completely dumbfounded by this! I think my response to her was something like, “Are you CRAZY?!?! Just because I’ve never been to Sopchoppy, Florida (yes, that’s a place!) doesn’t mean that I don’t want to go to Africa or Asia!” I could not wrap my head around this way of thinking. Honestly, before this conversation with my friend, it never even crossed my mind that some people have no desire to travel.
I am extremely blessed that I have had opportunities to travel abroad beginning at a young age. My dad lived in Gaeta, Italy, a small town between Naples and Rome, when I was 11-13 years old. Although my parents were divorced and my siblings and I lived in Orlando with my mom, my brother and I went to visit him for three weeks during the summer between my 7th and 8th grade school year. (My sister was a bit too young to go.) We went by car through Italy, Austria, Germany, France, and Switzerland. I saw The Vatican City in Rome, Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany, the Eiffel Tower in France, the sweetest little town in Switzerland, and countless other places.
Even at twelve, I knew that this would be just the beginning of my travels. I remember learning in my high school history class about the French Revolution, Louis XIV, and the Palace of Versailles. It was an amazing feeling to be able to tell my class that I had been there. I brought in pictures and shared my experience.
I was bitten by the wanderlust bug early, and I am so glad that I was. So far, I have been to 18 countries – Italy (3 times), Austria, Germany, France (twice), Switzerland, Israel, The United Kingdom (twice), Mexico, Belize, The Bahamas, Croatia, Monaco, Spain, Australia, New Zealand, New Caledonia (not quite it’s own country yet, but I’m counting it anyway!), Fiji, and Vanuatu. Even though we just got back from our honeymoon to the last 5 counties on that list a few weeks ago, we are already dreaming about where we want to go next! (We are both itching to go to Asia and Africa!)
I have learned so much through traveling the world. I have seen some beautiful sights, interacted with some wonderful people, and made unbelievable memories. Seeing how other people live has humbled me, inspired me, and shocked me. Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love, said, “To travel is worth any cost or sacrifice.” While I wouldn’t sacrifice my husband, family, or faith for travel (and I’m grateful that I don’t have to), I agree with the sentiment.
Exploring the world is an integral part of my journey to becoming a better person. I am forever changed by the places that I have been. Better mind. Better body. Better spirit.
Long story short, I still think my friend is a bit crazy!