Travel the World to Discover Yourself

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By Alex Lustig | Friday, 27 January 2017

My dream is to travel the world.

Almost everyone I know has said some variant of this sentence at some point. Because I’ve spent the last year of my life living in Barcelona for graduate school, I’ve been incredibly fortunate when it comes to that whole “travel the world” thing. I’ve been able to see other parts of Spain, a lot of Europe, and even the Middle East twice. I don’t know when one has truly traveled the world, but I feel I’ve taken a good stab at it.

My more distant friends at home saw my pictures on Facebook and Instagram and, to be honest, I’m not sure what they thought. I usually only posted pictures of cool landscapes or views, which must have given the impression that I wasn’t attending graduate school or learning Spanish in the most intense way possible. To them, I was just on a permanent vacation, traveling every few weeks from one exotic location to another. This, however, could not have been further from the truth.

While most of my friends were either in school or working in the US, I was attending graduate school in a country where English is not the main language. Yeah, I had my work cut out for me. Much of my time was spent in class and, during the spring semester, I was extremely busy writing my 101 page thesis. But even with school and my thesis, I was able to continue traveling on long weekends and breaks. Did that make for some busy nights and weekends with my thesis? Absolutely, but I’m so glad that I traveled as much as I did.

During my time traveling, I have learned more about myself that I ever thought I would. Traveling is such a good way to learn about yourself because the odds are almost 100% that something will go wrong at some point. I can just about promise you that something will break, you’ll lose that one thing that you didn’t think you could survive without, or a plan you’ve made will fall through. I’ve had all of these happen to me multiple times while traveling, and many in the same trip. What do you do when you get to Italy and your phone stops working? I don’t mean a low battery…I mean that it becomes a nice looking paperweight. How about when your camera stops working in Dubai the night before you have two really awesome tours early the next day? How do you react when you’re in Jordan and the only public transportation that goes to your destination three hours away is sold out?

That’s just the nature of the traveling beast. In some ways, traveling is very much a series of amazing views and landscapes. That’s a big reason why I like to travel, anyway. But more often than not, traveling consists of long flights, public transportation, and figuring out how to respond to something not going according to plan. Seeing the world is a lot of work! I never thought that’d be the case but I’ve found that all of these different locations and cultures really drain my energy. This however, is not a reason to forgo traveling; solving problems and learning to be flexible when things go awry. Out of everything I’ve done in life, I think traveling is the best way to discover yourself.

Though I went to France when I was twelve years old, my first real abroad experience was in 2013 when I studied abroad in Cádiz through MundoLengua. I look back at that time and I am so glad I had such a positive introduction to traveling. In just six short weeks, I was able to explore Cádiz, see nearby cities like Seville, Granada, and Ronda. Every so often, a picture from one of these places will appear on my constantly changing screensaver and I still get excited and say “Wow! I can’t believe I went there”. Along with that, the cultural immersion was an amazing experience I’ll remember for the rest of my life. I know that MundoLengua can provide others with similar, positive experiences.

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