Travel an Essential Part of College Experience

I hope that over this past six-week break everyone has enjoyed their family, friends, and the comfortable familiarity of their respective homes. Then again, I also hope you didn’t. I hope you took advantage of this extended vacation (one that few will be blessed with ever again after graduating from college) and stepped out of your comfort zone. I hope you experienced more of the world than what you’re used to. I hope you went on adventures simply for the joy of new experience. I hope that everyone was able, in his or her own way, to travel.

It’s easy to fall into the sleep, eat, and sleep again cycle that seems only natural when at home with a personal bed and food a couple feet from it. I must say, that seductive lifestyle almost lulled me into a false sense of contentment, but no! I had made extensive plans for my time off in January back in September. These plans included a visit from a dear friend of mine from Massachusetts for two weeks, a guaranteed way to keep me from simply staying home and, inevitably, boredom.

It didn’t take much planning and obviously did not take much money (seeing as we are both scholarship dependant and working students). The biggest hurdle to cross was, ultimately, making the initial decision to take the trip. This was accomplished with two text messages. The first: “Lindsey, want to take a road trip to Seattle over winter break?” The Second: “Yes.”

We left San Francisco, drove through the night and, 14 hours later, arrived in Seattle. We proceeded to experience the city in classic ‘sleepless’ fashion. After meeting up with a distant relative, exploring Pike’s Place Market, tea tasting, and taking the Underground tour, we returned to the house of a very generous family who had volunteered to house us for a night of couch surfing (another way to cut down on costs). For the next couple days, we took our time returning to California, stopping along the way in Forks (yes, that Forks), La Push, Olympic National Park, and Portland. We brought most of our food with us from home, so food was only purchased when absolutely necessary. Coffee was one such necessity. Sleeping took place in the back of my car, the hostel we stayed at in Portland, or the homes of any compassionate acquaintances we could bully into letting us sleep in their house for a night. Our biggest (and only) expense was gas, which ended up being about 200 dollars each; a price I would gladly pay again for such an adventurous vacation.

The first point I would like to make with this story is that traveling is much easier than many of my peers believe. You don’t have to fly on a plane for ten hours and cross an ocean to travel. Anywhere besides where you’ve been before will do. Secondly, it most assuredly does not need to be expensive. A couple months of meager savings will surely suffice. Where there’s a will, creativity, and Google, there is a way.

Finally, it is almost criminal to not take advantage of these breaks and travel. College is a time where our primary responsibility is to learn, and we’re given six weeks off from this in winter, 3 months off during summer, and a week in spring. Why spend this time living out the same routine you have every other time you visit home from school? This Spring break I urge everyone to live like they will never have another opportunity like this (which, lets face it, you probably won’t!) and travel.

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