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Opinion

Why We Need to Travel to Find our “Happy Place”

travel“Travel far enough, you meet yourself,” the British author, David Mitchell, once advised this to the world. To be honest, this quote couldn’t sum up my latest travel experience anymore perfectly than I could. I met my better, happier self. Because of this, I now know that traveling has the power to change you as a human being.

I have always had wanderlust. Unfortunately, I have never studied abroad. I’ve traveled a decent amount for vacations, mostly on the east coast. As a kid, I experienced going out of the country in Canada, Aruba and Mexico. I have always had an urge to see the unfamiliar. Maybe it’s the fact that I’ve lived in the same town my whole life.

Since I chose my college major, I’ve thought that whatever I end up doing, I want to be able to travel for my career. As I reach a terribly confusing time in my life, the urge to see the world is the greatest it’s ever been. I attribute this to my recent trip to Los Angeles with The Outlook for the Associated Collegiate Press National College Journalism Convention. 

The people I met, the scenery I experienced and the overwhelming positive energy I felt during my stay in Los Angeles still has me in awe of the happiness which I am capable of. At this stage in life, I thought I’ve experienced a decent amount. As it turns out, there is so much more out there for me to reach.

Many of us tend to forget the bubble we live in is not necessarily the world’s bubble. We follow the same schedule; we see the usual people and go to the regular places. And that might not seem so bad, until you go to a new place.

The people I met on the west coast were noticeably more positive, friendly, and easy-going than people here. I’ll admit even a few gentlemen from Wisconsin gave me hope that maybe I should let go of my pessimistic view of relationships. My eyes have been opened to the reality that a location (and quite likely, weather) can have a serious impact on one’s level of positivity in life. 

On Rodeo Drive, we ran into a young man who was born and raised in Los Angeles but traveled a lot for the military. Of all of the places he has lived and seen, he said he is the biggest advocate for LA. His girlfriend just moved there with him from Connecticut and we were all joking about the differences between the two coasts’ paces. She was adjusting to his easy-going way of life, to describe in his words from an Arabic saying, “what will be, will be.” Another young man said “this was the place he was meant to be,” assuring us that his recent move to the west coast was the right one. It seemed like fate for me to talk to these strangers. 

Of course, vacation is meant to be fun and leisurely. But that is supposed to end when you get home. And you’re supposed to go back to your regular life. And the memories are just supposed to be in photos. Yet, something about this time felt really meaningful and I cannot shake it; as if now, I belong somewhere unfamiliar and unchartered. 

I literally felt on top of the world staring across the Hollywood Hills as if my happiness at that moment could not be fulfilled at home. Perhaps this immense desire to start over elsewhere is in fact because I’m coming upon graduation and distraught about where I’m meant to end up.

I’ve always had the idea that I wanted to pack my bags and live in different cities while I’m young. But I now know the possibilities of achieving bliss in these distant places. And, I think this recent traveling experience finally assured me that I possess the courage to actually go. In the words of my father, now maybe I should stop talking about it and do it. 

PHOTO TAKEN by Kelly Hughes

Contact Information

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The Outlook
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and Instructional Technology (CCIT)
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Monmouth University
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07764

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