OPINION: The one thing that makes you richer




noun: wanderlust

  1. a strong desire to travel.
Photo with permission of Instagram user @liekevermeer
Photo with permission of Instagram user @liekevermeer

My family has taken vacations for as far back as I can remember. At age 5, I went to Disney World where my mom showed me the joys of Mickey Mouse and provided me with a childhood dream of her own. At Age 7, I went to Mexico for the first time and I’ve been back on four other occasions. For my tenth birthday, we went to Las Vegas (clearly, not for my benefit. Great excuse, Mom.)

Traveling has been a part of living life for me. I’ve been to Jamaica, New York City, Dominican Republic, Louisville and the list continues on.

I’ve been raised to feel that life is meant to be consumed with seeing the world and learning about new cultures. I can’t even begin to describe how fortunate I am for this. I know that this is not normal or expected out of growing up, however, I am extremely lucky.

Each vacation I have taken with my family has been leisurely and our time has mainly been spent relaxing. Of course, typical tourist sight seeing has happened but the goal has been to getaway and be at ease.

On March 6, I will take my first trip that is meant for exploring.  It’ll be my first time getting to use all this built-up wanderlust and let it free.

Moulin Rouge, Boulevard de Clichy, Paris, France in February (Photo | Nuno Esperanço)
Moulin Rouge, Boulevard de Clichy, Paris, France in February (Photo | Nuno Esperanço)


My mom and I are taking a nine-day trip to see London, Paris and Venice.

Putting into words how important I feel traveling is would be nearly impossible, but I’m going to break down what I think are the most essential aspects.

Everybody has a comfort zone. Whether it’s a hometown or just a favorite place to be, people have their familiar spots where they feel they belong. I think that is a beautiful thing and it’s imperative to have a home base but I think leaving that comfort is equally as vital. Living life fully involves taking risks and doing things that challenge you.

Another piece of traveling are the emotions evoked when learning about new ways of life. Even though when I have been in Mexico I have stayed in a nice resort, each time we always traveled into town to visit the markets and see what the city was like. The slums of some areas in Mexico reminded me how grateful I was. Sometimes we forget how fortunate we are to have things like clean running water because we are so used to it in our daily lives.

In Europe I plan on learning more about the culture and I am sure it will give me a new outlook. When you are in a place that you know nothing about you discover things about yourself you may have never known before. These emotions and feelings serve as growth and that is a great part about traveling  to new places — you get to bring home more than a souvenir.

There are a lot of things money can buy but perspective is not one of them. The world is a big place and there are so many beautiful and enriching places waiting to be experienced. To say that I am blessed to have traveled would be an understatement. There are so many places on my bucket list and I hope I can go to a great deal of them.

I know traveling isn’t cheap but it really is the only thing you can buy that will make you richer.

Marktgasse, Bern, Switzerland in April, 2012. (Photo | Nuno Esperanço)
Marktgasse, Bern, Switzerland in April, 2012. (Photo | Nuno Esperanço)