Why do you travel?

This has been a question I’ve gotten for quite some time now, and for the most part, my answer has always been why do you not?

After due deliberation of putting “why” into words. I’ve finally figured it out.

I’ve been in school my whole life (I’m young, I’m only 26.), and I’ve gotten a small taste of freedom when I went to college out-of-state. Every time I had traveled (up until I was in college), I was always with family. Whether I flew alone to Puerto Rico or San Antonio, I met up with family, and they were there to help me and take care of me. But in college I realized that I was doing this on my own. Yes, I have loads of student loans, and my parents did not financially disown me. But living, I was living in a different state, with no easy quick way to get home–I lived in  the cornfields of Minnesota and it was a pretty amazing time. We went on Spring Breaks, and did road trips to surrounding areas (mostly) to visit the home of my friends parents.

I’ve been to places like Omaha, Nebraska; Crookston, Minnesota; Grand Forks, North Dakota; Flandreau, South Dakota; Storm Lake, Iowa; and we even drove to Fort Hood in Killeen, Texas to say goodbye to a friend that was deploying–an idea that had popped into my had a few hours earlier and after my 3 hour class I woke up my neighbor and friend down the hall to see if she wanted to drive to Texas tonight.

Free.

I have never felt so free as I do when I map out my destination. It’s as if there is nothing in this world that can stop me.

Giddy.

I feel like a little girl again, on Christmas Eve, when I have my passport and boarding pass in hand about to go through TSA.

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Investment.

My trips are definitely an investment. It’s time I spend learning and pricing every single airline, every train and bus schedule, everything in the area and surrounding area. Let’s be honest, vacations and trips are not cheap–however, I am, and I budget EVERYTHING. But it’s not only an investment of my wallet and time. I’m investing in myself. (And it doesn’t look too shabby on a resume either.)

Me.

When I realized who I really was, I was in Normandy France. It was when I realized that this, is who I am, and this, was what I was born to do. I’ve found myself in situations where I wasn’t always comfortable–such as my language barrier in Austria–ohh man, German is hard. “Das ist ein auto.” Or getting on the wrong train and going to a completely different country than you meant to and trying to figure out what to do next and how to go about doing it. Or taking about a 200 Euro taxi cab instead of getting on a different train.

When I don’t get to travel, it’s as if a piece of my soul dies. It’s like my life has no meaning, and my life just seems to stand still. Seems pathetic, but when you travel as much as I do (and I like to think that I travel quite a bit–more so about a year ago than now, unfortunately.) it’s hard to just be in one place for so long. So obviously, that means it’s time to plan a new adventure. Honestly, the last time I came back from Europe, getting used to the jet lag again, and three days later began planning my trip back to Europe. And the excitement hasn’t ceased. Now I live life waiting for my trip, and getting ready for it, and finding new experiences I can run into.

Traveling by myself, and traveling with others who are just as clueless as you, let’s you find yourself much quicker than sometimes you would have hoped. But none the less, I’d rather travel the world and find myself, than by a bottomless closet, or at the bottom of a bottle.

You only live once.
And I’d pay for memories and experiences any day.

My name is Ana and I’m a world traveler, my passport is my most prized possession.

Think about it.
Why do you travel? Why do you not travel? Why do you want to travel?

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