‘The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page’
Travelling is my favorite hobby. I like to believe there’s such a thing as a ‘travelling gene’, and if it exists, I know I was born with it. I can’t imagine a time when I wasn’t travelling. And I can’t imagine a time when I won’t be travelling. I don’t know what it is, but my body’s always aching to see the world. To experience other cultures.
I know that this itch I have is part of my education. When my dad turned 18, he decided to go to the United States for a year with AFS, as did my mom. He lived there in a host family, one of the pillars of AFS. When I was sixteen, my parents sent me to live with my dad’s host family for three weeks, just as they did with my older sister. That experience was so amazing I decided to go abroad with AFS for a year as well. I ended up in Paraguay, and I can honestly say that was the best year of my life. I had to give up a lot, my family, my friends and my boyfriend, but I would do it all again. And I know I will. Because although I lost some friends while I was living in Paraguay, I gained much more friends than I ever could’ve imagined.
Traveling is not only a way to discover the world, but also a way to discover yourself. When I was in Paraguay I learned to get to know the real me. There were times it was scary as hell, but I believe that there is a time in our life where everyone has to get to know who they really are inside. And better sooner than later. When I left for Paraguay I was eighteen, and I thought I had myself all figured out. Boy, was I wrong! Suddenly everything I knew about myself was turned upside down. The last year I had had the best first boyfriend anyone could have wished for, and I had developed myself around him. But suddenly he wasn’t there anymore to support me and to make sure I believed in myself, so I fell apart. I got over it and I daresay I turned out just fine. So no worries if you don’t have a boyfriend or girlfriend, in the end it doesn’t change who you are on the inside.
I would like to end with changing the quote a little bit: The world and life are like a book, and those who do not travel outside their world and themselves read only one page.