Before my first trip out of the country, traveling abroad was preceded with words such as “if I ever get to,” or “I wish I could go” and the topic always included a phrase about how it would be a “once in a lifetime” experience. Honestly, and it’s hard for me to even believe this about myself, but leaving the country really wasn’t that high on my priority list. I was perfectly content (so I thought) with my one week vacations to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina where I was happy to lay on the beach and play in the ocean for seven days before heading home to work as many hours as I possibly could every week.
Three of my best friends are girls I’ve been friends with since we were little kids. We all swore year after year that once we all graduated college we would go backpacking around Europe. Despite the years of talking about it, when the time came it was still hard for me to commit. I could think of so many other things I could use those thousands of dollars for. However, since it was a “once in a lifetime” option, I decided to go. We booked our plane tickets to and from Barcelona, Spain with no other plans set in stone and only a book bag of necessities to travel with for our 2 week expedition.
To make a long story short, the trip was life changing. To experience the different cultures and the way non-Americans live is phenomenal. It expands your horizons, broadens your mind, and empowers you in ways nothing else will. It makes you look at life in an entirely different light and wonder why it took you so long to do something like this.
For a while after returning, I still believed that it would be a long, long time before I’d get to leave the country again. The thing about travelling is that once the travel bug bites, it doesn’t stop itching until you’ve started planning your next trip. If those few places I got to experience were that amazing, what else am I missing out on in this wonderful planet we live on?
That first trip out of the country was in 2012. It’s 2015 and I’m currently in the process of planning my 5th trip abroad. My bucket list has now become my to-do list and I no longer believe in “once in a lifetime” opportunities when it comes to travel. Be on the look out for more about how I make it all work and tips I’ve learned along the way later.
So give it a shot. Finally plan that trip you were hoping to get to “some day.” I guarantee you won’t regret it.