The Internet has really shrunk the world. Through pictures uploaded from everybody’s traveling vacations, it is possible for me to be just about anywhere in the world. Grand Canyon? Already seen it. Paris? Saw it from my living room. Through modern creeping tools such as Google Earth, it is even possible to go “street view” and be suddenly standing on most paved roads in modernized countries. So why bother actually traveling? Why spend potentially thousands of dollars to have to deal with low quality hotels, a language barrier and the truth that most of the world’s population does not like Americans. Why bother?
I have only traveled far once in my life. I was lucky enough to go to England last summer on a study abroad trip. From that experience, I can tell you that traveling is indeed quite amazing. Yes, I was lucky enough to not have a language barrier. That being said, traveling is an amazing experience. There is a distinct difference between seeing a picture of Warwick Castle and walking up the watchtower staircase. Pilgrims were originally people who reenacted holy journeys of past figures in order to feel closer to them. I enjoy visiting historical places as well, a branch of traveling known as “heritage tourism.” In England, I had fun doing all the touristy things; go on a double-decker bus, take a picture near a red telephone booth, see Big Ben and looking at a large circular pile of rocks in the middle of nowhere. The experience of visiting another part of the world was truly awesome.
So where would I like to go next? I have two trains of thought on that question. On one hand, I’d like to go somewhere that doesn’t have a history in western civilization. I like the idea of visiting an area that is more exotic and has roots in history that is not European. China or Japan would be pretty awesome to visit. Yes, all the people who think they know what it is like over there will say, “But they’re so westernized, it would just be like going to a city in America.” My response: not if you know where to look.
My second train of thought is that I’d simply like to travel around America. Sure, the history of our civilization and architecture may not be as ancient, diverse or exciting as that of the Middle East or India. However, I believe there is a natural beauty to America that many people fail to appreciate. A road trip across this awesome continent would be incredibly worthwhile. There is so much to see and do in this country. Plus, it could be a lot easier and cheaper than international travel.
My suggestion is the same I’ve made in other articles to college students: enjoy what we have here. Stop saying “there is nothing to do,” when all you have to do is open your eyes and look around.
By Mike Metz