I embarked on my biggest journey to date at the age of eighteen.
I was traveling with a group of students I had never met to Acadia National Park in Maine. I remember my first glimpse of the sunrise on top of Cadillac Mountain. I was mesmerized. Through this experience, my outlook on travel was altered, which paved the way for many new adventures.
Over the next five years, I took three cross-country road trips, worked a summer in Yellowstone National Park and lived as an au pair in Australia. I’m excited to announce that I am currently organizing details for my next trip. Prior to travel, I felt stagnant in the motions of day-to-day life. But after packing my bags and exploring some new places, I discovered a spark in my life that I had not found anywhere else. It changed my life narrative from a boring textbook (the kind kids were forced to read in school) to a Pulitzer-winning novel. Travel help me to blossom. Here are a few of the roots that helped me grow.
1. Novel Experience
I’ve been lucky enough to swim with sea turtles along the Great Barrier Reef, climb volcanoes in Costa Rica, and sail around the Fijian islands. Traveling creates so many opportunities, and it seems that each experience opens a door to another. These adventures make wonderful stories to tell, helping to transcend cultural boundaries and connect with people from across the world. Traveling adds small stories to your experience library, in addition to setting up the foundation for your own life story!
2. Resume-Worthy Content
I was under the impression that if I didn’t score a “big girl job” right after graduation, I would be deemed a failure. I learned that the opposite is actually true. Taking a gap year helped to free my mind and gave me the chance to add some unique skills and experiences to my resume. Traveling develops motivation, independence, and confidence. It shows the ability to think outside of the box and sets you apart from the crowd. It may even open up job opportunities or give you the inspiration needed to start your own business!
3. Building Confidence for the Future
What good is a story if you don't have the confidence to tell it? Traveling pushed me out of my comfort zone every single day. From the anxieties of not knowing how to get around a foreign country to having a constant language barrier, traveling is not always easy. However, these experiences are the ones that teach you the most in life. You will learn things from traveling that you could never learn from a book.
Traveling allows you to explore unknowns and have adventures that may not be available at home. It pushes you to the extreme, but this helps you to grow into a better, more confident version of yourself. All of these little experiences are the threads woven into each our unique life narratives.
Bailey is a recent graduate from Salisbury University who loves hiking, traveling, healthy food, exploring, and sustainable living. She is currently in the USA but is looking forward to her next adventure abroad!