Thursday, May 17, 2012

What Americans Don't Understand About Traveling


  All I wanted to be growing up was a traveler. I thought nothing could be as exciting as seeing new places, meeting different people, and getting out of my comfort zone. The only problem was I was so excited about the adventure that I didn't get out of my comfort zone. Without anyone telling me to be scared about being in a far away land or to be worried about getting lost I instead soaked up all that was around me. Through these eyes the true wonder of new experiences could be enjoyed. I was lucky.
  So many people do have those around them telling them to be scared. Some will say 'its dangerous.' or 'you shouldn't travel because you are American.' I bet the people saying this have not traveled.
  Whether or not people liked American was one question I was very curious about, being American and all. The years after 9/11 Americans all over were stitching Canadian flags to their backpacks while I was being initiated into an all Japanese futball team or invited to an Indian family's rooftop to watch the kite runner festival. It turns out people love Americans, even if they aren't crazy about American politics. It turns out the rest of the world is very interested in us. Why we want to come there, if we live up to the stereotypes, if we all have huge, green yards...
  "So you don't ride horses and carry a gun?" I've been asked before. I love being an ambassador for the U.S.A. One of my best friends in Tokyo told me that I changed his entire vision of what people from America are like. He may have just been shocked that I knew how to play soccer, but it felt great to represent my country in a good way. That could be you.
  My biggest regret and one that I always work on bettering myself at is being outgoing and putting myself out there. This is how you will really get to experience traveling. It will help you meet people, get invited to see the other side of that culture, and maybe move you past a tourist to become a friend.

  So don't buy the hype about staying home where its safe. Buy a plane ticket instead. It is easier than it has ever been to travel. The world is at your fingertips...

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