by Erin Elaine
There is a stereotype that Americans don’t travel abroad. For the most part, that stereotype is pretty true. There are some common explanations, two of the most popular being 1) we have a variety of climates and environments within our country, and 2) many Americans don’t get any vacation days, or they get very few. Here are my thoughts on the matter:
1. New climates and environments aren’t the only reason to travel. One of the biggest things that can’t be experienced by traveling within the US or even most of Canada is new cultures. To me this is one of the most exciting reasons to travel. Meeting people who speak a different language, or who have never stepped foot inside a Starbucks or McDonalds, or who walk by cathedrals that are 800 years old every single day. It’s mind-blowing to me that there are buildings in some parts of the world that are 500 years older (or more) than the oldest building in North America. In addition, there are many countries around the world that also have a variety of climates within their borders, and most of them travel abroad more than we do. Even people in New Zealand, out in the middle of the ocean, with huge costs associated with traveling, travel more than we do.
2. Most Americans that do get vacation days don’t use most of them. We work more hours than people of most countries, we die earlier, and we don’t even bother to travel. It’s pretty sad.
Read this – 3 Reasons to Travel While You’re Young “Yeah, but….” Just read it! Also, youth doesn’t have to be limited by your age. If you want to travel, make it a priority, save up a little, and do it. It’s not as expensive as people think.
I admit I was getting sucked into the whirlpool of so-called “adulthood”. Think practically! Don’t make silly choices. Conform. Do what everyone else does, that’s the best way. Blah blah blah.
But then, I had an opportunity to apply for a job teaching overseas. It sounded like a great opportunity so I applied for it, even if I thought it might be a long shot. It’s worth a shot, right? I don’t want to close that door, because I might not get the chance again. So many people get bogged down by a significant other, or car payments, or kids, or health issues. Right now, I have none of that. A lot of Americans could make short-term travel a priority if they wanted to, but many of them aren’t in a position to actually live abroad. So since I’m not tied down, now is the time, right? Several of my friends have taught abroad, and out of I believe 7 people, only 1 had a bad experience, and she doesn’t even regret going because she enjoyed the experience and a new opportunity came from it.
So, today I just heard back.
Starting in the fall I will be teaching Social Studies and English in Madrid, Spain!! I am so unbelievably excited. Like more excited than I’ve been for anything ever. It’s going to be an amazing experience. 🙂