Traveling around and exploring new places is one of the best things you can do for yourself. The graduate student / researcher in me wants to show you a citation to support that statement, and I am sure that there are some out there but I don't have one for you. Nope. I'm going to support the statement by saying something that every researcher hates to hear: I just know it. It is something that I can just feel and know to be true.
Not only have I had the chance to travel around a few countries (and a decent size of the US) but I'm lucky enough to be living in a foreign country for an extended period of time for the second time in my life. And that is both incredibly exciting and a little terrifying. Sometime between camping in the Mojave, to staying in a rural village in northern Italy, I learned a thing or two about myself including why I love to travel and explore.
6. Exploring the Natural Beauty. While I'm not one to pass up hanging out by the pool all day, I love exploring the natural beauty of a new place. From the cloud forest in Costa Rica, to blooming gardens in Japan, to the gorgeous Mojave and Anza Borrego deserts, the natural beauty of the world never stops amazing me!
5. Trying New Food. Hello, I'm Nicole, and I love to eat. To be honest, I've been pretty lucky living in California where we have just about every type of food imaginable – but it doesn't mean that it is authentic! Although I'm a pescatarian, I am willing to try almost any new food at least once. Some are more exotic (emu in Australia) than others (moose in Alaska, escargot in France, and ramen in Japan). A couple of weeks I tried 1 bite of crocodile meat (tasted like pork chops) but I don't think that I'll try that again. Of course there are some things that I could not try, but I think that the best way to learn about a country is to eat your way through! I also love to try to find the best sushi place in every country (although nothing can top fresh sashimi at the Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo)!
4. Goodbye car! Living without a car can be one of the most challenging, frustrating, and liberating aspects of being in a new place. Most countries have much better public transportation systems than the US, making getting around without a car so easy. I love trying to navigate new subways systems and bus routes but I also typically do a lot of walking while traveling. And this is a good thing since I spend most of my time trying new food. Goodbye car, hello firm legs?!
3. Spontaneous adventures. This never would have made my happy list a couple of years ago. I'm a big planner and get anxious when I don't know what is happening. But some of the best times I've had while traveling result from unplanned, spontaneous adventures.
2. Sharing the Experience with a Loved One. Traveling alone is fantastic. When I moved to Australia for my study abroad program I didn't know a single other person. Truly terrifying, but a remarkable experience. Since getting engaged, though, I've now got the best PIE (partner in exploring). I love being able to share my travel experiences with my fiancé and creating memories of our adventures together. We have some pretty amazing stories that I can't wait to share with our future children (years and years and years in the future).
1. Seeing the Best in People. The world is filled with loving, caring, interesting, inspiring, wonderful people. Don't you forget it. I'm ashamed to admit that sometimes I forget the good in people and get a little nervous when traveling to a new place. But most of the time I am greeted with love, warmth, and acceptance even when I expect the opposite.
Now it is your turn: Do you love to travel? Why?
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