Reflection

Now that I’ve been back in the states for a week and have had some time to settle in, I wanted to reflect on my trip.  I’ll start off by saying that this was an incredible experience and I’m so glad I decided to do it.  I think I grew in many different ways and have really learned so much throughout my travels.  I said this even before I left, but I truly believe that when you travel you get a global education, which is something you don’t get in a classroom or a typical job.  That being said I want to talk about what I’ve learned in general and about myself throughout this incredible 8 month journey.

1. Everyone should do traveling of some sort!

Obviously, not everyone can afford to do 8 months of travel like I did, but I think it’s extremely important to get out of your home town.  Go visit the next state over or even the next town over.  By visiting somewhere new you not only learn that there is so much more out there then what’s in your town, but you get exposure to different cultures and customs.  This is the most important part of traveling because experiencing another culture is the best way to learn about it and understand the people of that culture a bit better. So to my American friends especially, get out there and travel somewhere!  If anyone wants to visit philly you have a place to stay!

2. I really like hiking and being outdoors.

Had I not traveled to places like New Zealand, where the main thing to do there is hike, I would never have known that I enjoy it so much!  It’s so important to get out there and try different things to get a better sense of the types of activities, foods, people, etc. that you’re into. On a similar note I learned that…

3. I’m super extroverted!

I always knew I was an extrovert, but this trip has really brought that quality out. Naturally traveling alone I had to be pretty outgoing in order to make friends along the way.  Well it turns out I will talk to absolutely anyone and did quite well making friends.

4. The US really screwed up in SE Asia.

Obviously in the states they only teach us history from the point of view of the US being the “good guys”, however that is definitely not always the case.  Traveling to all these different countries I learned a bit about their history and getting to see the history of Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos from their point of view was eye opening.  We unnecessarily bombed all three of those countries and along with the agent orange that was sprayed all over Vietnam, the people of these countries are still suffering from these actions.  Kids are still being born with birth defects as a result of agent orange and bombs that failed to detonate when originally dropped on Laos continue to injure and kill people every year when found by locals.  Not to mention that the horrifying Cambodian genocide is not even mentioned in American history classes.  So I guess the overall lesson here is to really do your research, learn both sides to every story and don’t always believe everything you’re told.

5. I love traveling!

This might seem like an obvious one, but it was still something I had to figure out along the way and was not a guarantee.  Even though traveling definitely has its ups and downs, overall it’s one of the greatest things you can do.  Not only do you grow as a person, especially from the obstacles you face through your travels, but you also meet some great people, experience amazing cultures and learn so much, as I’ve mentioned many times above.  It’s definitely something I’d like to continue with throughout my life.

I think that’s pretty much it.  I definitely have caught the travel bug and intend on doing much more traveling soon.  Well as soon as I can save up some more money that is.  Goodbye for now and thanks for reading!

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