OPINION: Traveling expands horizons

opinion

I have a lot of misconceptions. Everyone does.

No one knows everything; so naturally, misunderstandings live inside our minds feeding off of movies, magazines and others’ opinions about things we fail to know ourselves.

It’s been nearly a week since I’ve had some ideas of my own shattered and then pieced back together.

I was one of a handful of students who visited Germany and the Czech Republic during spring break.

Photo by AMANDA CASTRO-CRIST | The Ranger Mass communication major Bailie Myers stands in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany.
Photo by AMANDA CASTRO-CRIST | The Ranger
Mass communication major Bailie Myers stands in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany.

When friends and family asked how my trip was, I was dumbfounded. How could I accurately describe in just a few sentences a trip that taught me so much?
I couldn’t, so I would simply say it was a great time.

The countries were absolutely beautiful, and the people within them were even more so. Aside from all that, I learned a lesson I can never forget.

This lesson freed me from the need to know everything and replaced it with a desire to learn as much as I can.

It destroyed my ideas of cultural differences and united within my heart a connection with others thousands of miles away from me.

In just a week, I overcame fears and achieved dreams.

In the middle of a trip, it’s hard to soak it all in, especially when running from place to place with little sleep, but there were moments that were special, moments I could never forget.

When our tour guide Matti, a native Berliner, told us about the fall of the Berlin Wall, he described to us where he was and how he heard it was down. He said he never imagined it falling, but it did. Matti said even when we believe our dreams will not come true, they can.

If the Berlin Wall fell, then anything could happen.

Another one of those moments was when I gave “free hugs” on the Charles Bridge in Prague. I had dreamt of Prague since I was little.

I never imagined standing on that bridge, “free hugs” sign in hand, sharing a few seconds of joy with people from all over the world.
We did it for no reason other than being there, in this amazing place, living this amazing life together.

You can’t imagine these things, but they happen.

So this is an opinion piece. What is my opinion?

We allow ourselves to fear things we don’t know and for the same reason, we hold ourselves back from achieving the things we want.

I didn’t hold myself back. I spent five months of preparation and sacrifice for this trip, and it was worth every bit of it.
But I see people every day stuck in the same place they have always been in and don’t want to be any longer.

They may want to travel, or they may just hate their job.

If I could teach someone anything from this experience, I would tell them to travel. Let go. Learn something new and understand that you may not understand.

It will be all right.

You don’t have to live with an open mind (I hate that expression) and just accept everything that comes your way.

You can live with an open heart. From what I’ve learned, it’s much better.

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