St. Augustine once wrote that “the world is a book and those who do not travel only read one page.”
I was never much of a tourist. I preferred to get out of the hotel and see the world by spending time with the people who lived there. I remember telling my mother that I wanted to travel to all the continents and see the seven wonders of the world. Money nor borders ever once crossed my mind. Curiosity about what lay beyond my driveway inspired me to read about everywhere and strive to know everything. Like most families that travel with kids we stayed state side. But, that was fine with me. The more I saw the more I yearned to know more. I even developed this plan to travel the whole US in an RV with my family. However, till this day I am still working on convincing the family and travel details. For some odd reason my mother and sister prefer flying for 1 to 2 hours rather than riding in a cramped RV for hours upon hours - although my dad and I don’t really see the big deal. But, regardless my family and I travelled the world together. However, it wasn’t until I came to Cape Henry and met Mr. Gray and Mr. Fluharty did I finally leave the US and travel to other countries without my family.
As an alumni of Cape Henry I hold the record for world's most travelled taking a total of 12 Nexus trips. The trips I travelled on were: Shenandoah Valley, Yellowstone National Park, West Virginia, St. Croix, Washington D.C., Belize, Panama, Ecuador and Galapagos Islands, Iceland, New Orleans, Israel, and South Africa. My first trip outside of Virginia however, will always hold a place in my heart because, it was the first trip I would take without my parents and the first trip where I met some of my best friends who I still talk to today. This trip was to Yellowstone National Park in Montana with one of my favorite math teachers Mr. Gray who lived by the motto of Chief Seattle to “take only memories, leave only footprints”. This trip challenged me in many ways because, it forced me to step outside my comfort zone, since besides camping in my backyard I had never camped outside in the woods before. I had the opportunity to learn how to live outdoors like real campers do. We went ziplining and whitewater rafting which are some of my favorite activities today.
I think travelling is very important not just for the thrilling adventures but also, to learn and expand your knowledge about the world. I love the joy of stepping outside my comfort zone and forcing myself to try something new. My favorite part of travelling is feeling like I am not at home. Its emerging myself into the culture. There is nothing more exhilarating than waking up in a new country and waiting for what is in store. That's when I truly know I am travelling. No amount of education from a classroom can ever exceed the actual experience of going to that country and learning that knowledge for yourself. I strive to be a better global citizen by seeking new opportunities that allow me to form the kind of person I want to be.
Through my travels like traveller Aldous Huxley I have found that “to travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries”. The appreciation I have for the friends I have made all over the world and the memories I have kept truly make me feel grateful for everything that I have. These memories are the ones I reflect on and often speak a great deal about with my friends and family. They are the memories in which I have learned the most about myself. The best part about travelling though is the exciting adventures and mishaps that are not planned. Those are the memories that are the funniest to look back on. I can honestly say travelling is one of the only things that can make you richer in the end. In closing, if I could only take away one thing from my Cape Henry Nexus experience I would say this - strive to not be a tourist, instead take a risk and emerge yourself in the local culture. It is an opportunity, I promise, you will never regret and if I was given an opportunity to go back in time, I would do it all over again.