A sticker that reads “be a traveller, not a tourist” on a bike rack. Seen in Brighton, England.

We Need to Talk About Travel

By Brittany Anderson
Web Content Contributor

To some, listing “traveling” as one of your hobbies might come across as being a little cliché or tiresome. When you hear the word, do you automatically think of red eye flights to foreign destinations, or Instagram influencers flaunting their luxurious vacations? How often do you really get to travel and still legitimately consider it a “past downtime” of yours?

Between school, work and other responsibilities, most college students are lucky if they have time to see their family on the weekends, much less book plane tickets and hotels. And if it’s not for lack of time, it’s the money: most people’s reasoning for never traveling is because the supposed price tag is not realistic.

The reality? Travel doesn’t have to mean spending thousands of dollars on exotic, faraway locations. It doesn’t have to be strange currency or unknown territory.

Make it a point to travel within your hometown or current city. As big as Texas is, you’re bound to find untouched corners of this state. Atlas Obscura is a collaborative online magazine geared towards finding cool and unusual places all across the world. Here, they give you 233 obscure spots to find throughout Texas. Planning simple day trips or weekend jaunts to see them is totally feasible for 20-somethings looking for an adventure without the pressure of going too far or spending too much. Plus, finding something new or unheard of in a place you’ve known for most or all of your life will give you a fresh sense of appreciation for these familiar surroundings. There’s nothing quite as exciting as exploring the place you thought you knew so well, only to discover hidden gems, new friends and life lessons from quirky locals.

A white and blue tiled “Bourbon” sign on the sidewalk of New Orleans’ Bourbon Street.
New Orleans is about an 8 hour drive from San Marcos. I made the trip with some friends during Christmas break in 2017. Gas split? Check. Hotel split? Check. Dancing on Bourbon Street with strangers? Check. Photo by Brittany Anderson.

As soon as you smell new air, hear new accents and languages or see something so completely new that your brain doesn’t quite know how to process it because you don’t have any point of reference, it’s all worth it. There are millions of people waiting to meet you who are happily living in other states and countries; in small communities and big cities. Don’t get stuck inside a monotonous bubble of everything you’ve ever known: no matter how far you make it, go outside your world and learn to cherish whatever kind of experience is offered.

The skyline of Austin, Texas during a night flight.
Opting for a late night or early morning flight will oftentimes save you a few bucks. Besides, they’re the prettiest ones to take. Photo by Brittany Anderson.

When you’re out of your comfort zone, submersed in a new culture and away from everything you know— whether it’s across streets, state lines or oceans— you come back with a newfound sense of independence and self-awareness. You can’t get it any other way.

Featured image by Brittany Anderson.

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