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How traveling changed my life: part 1

My life with travels began at the age of 19. I had just graduated from high school and went to see my brother, who at the time did an internship in Portugal. Broadly, that’s where it all began and Portugal’s the reason I was – and always will be – diagnosed with an incurable state of wanderlust. But why is traveling from a young age so important for us as human beings and what have I learned so far? Read along and get the answers. 

A wise man once said “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” The words belong to the American Author and humorist Mark Twain and I couldn’t agree more with him. Travel has always been – and will alway be – crucial for a broader understanding of both ourselves and the rest of the world. 

“Wherever you go becomes a part of you somehow.”

Not only was I dazzled by the Portuguese culture and warmth, I also fell in love, which changed my plans completely. Instead of following the path of comfort and predictability, I inevitably ended up spending almost 6 months a free and happy teenager in an exotic corner of the world. We lived in the charming coastal town of Cascais, approximately 30 kilometers west of Lisbon, which also happens to be one of the richest municipalities in Portugal.

I became familiar with foreign cultures and customs, and I tasted some of the best food I’ve had in my entire life. We spent late summer surfing, sunbathing and socializing with other young people completing their internships – and as a young girl of 19 years old, whose worldview is still being formed – I had the time of my life. Also thanks to my brother, who was a great support to me while I was there.

I don’t think I need to stretch the fact that I learned some major things about myself and about life while I was in Portugal. It was an eye-opener after 3 intense years of college and boarding school, and I can only recommend it, not only to graduates, but to everyone who’s seeking a different truth and another perspective in life.

However, the best part of traveling, and being partly on my own, at a young age has to be the fact, that I was forced to deal with issues that were bigger than myself. I simply grew as a person and I felt more connected to the rest of the world than I had ever before. First step in becoming a global and responsible citizen, if you ask me.

Youth is meant to be spend exploring; question things and travel as far and as often you can. Obligations and worries will come soon enough. And if you still need a reason to go: do it so that you don’t have to spend the rest of your life in fear.

After Portugal I realized I couldn’t go home, at least not without exploring a little more. I had truly been bitten by the travel bug and before I knew it I was standing in the airport of Geneva (Switzerland) with a heavy suitcase and an open heart.

To be continued….


 

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