A Novice Traveler

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Teen Talk

A Novice Traveler

By Mikayla Carroll

If I could change one thing about myself, I would immediately change my lack of travel experience. There’s something so intriguing about someone who has traveled across the country or across the world. They have experiences I have yet to encounter, photos taken in foreign places I have yet to see, and stories set in destinations I have yet to even hear of.

One of the most frustrating aspects of applying to college is deciding where you want to spend the next 4+ years of life. I dreamed, for years, of traveling out-of-state to further my education, yet in the back of my mind, I know the most realistic choice is to stay in Florida. It’s all I’ve ever known.

Countless people tell me I should stay put, that I’m at a good place. If I stay in Florida, I know I’ll save money, I’ll be close to my family and friends, I won’t have to deal with the shock of brand new surroundings or the process that is a move across the country. Yet I actually long for new surroundings, to make new friends, to become more familiar with a place I only once vacationed to.

The issue is, I feel as though I have little experience to draw upon. The list of places I’ve been to is relatively short and any move I might make to a different state will essentially feel like starting over – which is what makes the decision so difficult. I am drawn to the appeal of being in a new place, with new people, but I also want to be sure that I am not making the wrong choice; a common fear for someone as indecisive as myself.

I realize that college tours present a good solution for this dilemma, however, the summer slipped away all too quickly and the school year is already seeming to breeze by, so time to travel to another state doesn’t seem doable at the moment. Time doesn’t stop, and applications are due soon, and I already feel behind. I feel as though I should be doing more, researching more, yet all the reviews and articles in the world about a school doesn’t come close to experiencing the campus yourself. It is one thing to dream about going to your dream school, but to be there in person, visualizing your future self there, is another. There are some things you can’t describe in words, and the feel of a campus is one of them.

I long to be well-traveled so I have more of a knowledge base on a decision as big as where to attend college for the next few years of my life. Though I wish I had the personal experience, I still see the allure of going somewhere that initially seems far out of my comfort zone. I always want to find new ways to challenge myself, and moving somewhere completely new may be one way to do it.