by Jackie K.
You know, before making your first trip abroad you’re pretty excited to go to those faraway places, like London, Paris, Rome, Athens and more. Places that you’ve heard about all of your life. But, aside from that excitement is a deep curiosity. Why have you heard about these places throughout life? What’s so special, so unique, so intriguing about these places? Why does everyone want to go? Why do I want to go? Then, it’s your curiosity that drives you to see these places so that you can get some answers. 

Before you know it, butterflies come flying through your curiosity and mix it all up. Now your stirred-up curiosity transforms into nervousness. You begin to doubt that you can handle being away thousands of miles from home, family and friends. The fear of the unknown starts to settle in. Language barriers, different lifestyles, unique blends of food. Can you really go through with it? 

Sure you can. Everyone can. 

Think of your trip to Europe or other destination abroad like a prolonged domestic vacation. Do you second-guess yourself about going somewhere domestically for a week? Probably not. Sure you’ll be further away from home if you go abroad, but you have so much more to gain. Plus, it’s only temporary! It’s a vacation. Relax. You can do it!
Before you know it, you’ll be abroad making all sorts of discoveries and you’ll forget about the distance between you and home. Home is only a phone call or email away. 
Your new discoveries will have you spellbound. You will want to see more and more and your curiosity will return. And finally, you’ll be infected with the “bug.” The travel bug. Somehow, somewhere along the journey you will be so excited about all of your discoveries and experiences. Your excitement will stimulate you to go the extra mile that leads you beyond that of the facts and figures you read about before traveling abroad. You will find new understandings and the desire to continue your experiences abroad.

You’ll be at an all time high when traveling abroad. It’s true.

Then, as we all know, vacations have to come to an end sometime. You’ll take your flight back home to the States and share your memories and photos with your friends and family. They will all ask the same questions. Where did you go? What did you do? What was your favorite place? What was the food like? But after those questions are asked, their curiosity and interest in your trip is over. They just don’t get it.

Your trip abroad has given you a new set of eyes. A whole new understanding of this world. And they can’t understand it. 

So first, you just get frustrated. I think this is because life at home continues while you’re gone. But for you, you put your life on hold. When you get back home, life has progressed for others; but you come back to where you were and feel as if you have to catch up with everybody. For a moment, your lives are in different places, at different times. It’s a weird feeling; but you need to know that it is a good feeling. It means that you have experienced something that was life changing and all that matters is that you realize this. Nobody else will be able to grasp what you have learned, seen and experienced, but you.

Then you overcome this frustration and get little sad, a little lonely. You missed what you had. You wish you were still there. And again, friends and family don’t understand.

After a period of being sad and lonely, you’ll get bored. Your life gets back on track and it’s the same thing over and over. Wake up, go to school/work, go to bed. This cycle seems never-ending and you realize you need a break. 

You start thinking about where you want to go. And then you get excited for your trip. Whether you’re returning to your favorite destination abroad or continuing your travels abroad to somewhere new, you will be excited. Very excited. 

And thus, the cycle returns. It happens to the best of us. It’s a never-ending cycle and before you know it, you can’t go without travel for more than three months without getting extremely antsy, upset, bored and bothered. 

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