Monday, March 10, 2014

BENCHMARK read onnnn....

Tiana McMann
Expos Comp Per.1
March 6, 2014

Why do people even have an interest in traveling? What about it makes it so interesting? Through much research through blogs, Huffington post writers, and world renowned travelers, I have come to know the positives and pitfalls of traveling. Many people have discovered that traveling has changed them greatly and has evolved them into something they wouldn't have expected, for the better. But how is this possible? Like all things that make us happy, there is always the question of how.  Of course, there are situations where people have to travel. In this digital age, it can be mandatory for jobs, family, etc.. In 2008, only 30 percent of trips over fifty miles were done for business. New science papers have found that getting away is actually essential. It can truly clear your mind by simply putting yourself some miles away from your own reality. I am interested, along with many others I am sure, as to why people travel, and what better way to know why this is none other than doing it yourself. I was quite fortunate enough to recently embark on my own solo journey so I feel I can add my two cents to this subject! 

Why do I want to travel? I feel this is a good place to start considering I am writing about it therefore I should have an answer to this question. When I traveled to Italy and Austria in December of 2013 for three weeks, I felt independent. This experience truly made me have to fend for myself at times. No one was there to hold my hand through the airport, take me to my gate and find my seat for me. It was only me that was flying out of the country. As a first time flyer, I had to figure out this portion really quick as it was crucial to get to my destination. Then, once in another country, there are different languages spoken and depending on where you are, sometimes there is little to no English spoken anywhere. This can be quite stressful at time when you really just want to order some food, however, by working your way through the situation, you feel quite accomplished after.  After three weeks of being in a region of Italy where no one over twenty years old speaks english, I definitely felt like I had gained some independence. On my solo trip, I was also free to make my own decisions. As a seventeen year old, this kind of power can be quite thrilling! However, when you take what is necessary from this power, you find that you really become responsible and independent from this. This part of traveling is such a positive effect and sometimes it really does take getting away and experiencing life in a different way or even on your own to realize how independent you can become. I believe that this is a huge reason people travel. Not only do travelers gain independence while actually traveling, but even the process of trying to travel. The budgeting process along with the booking of everything for the whole duration of your travels can require some great responsibility and many times, people find this as an exciting part of their travels, especially first time travelers. Upon returning from my trip, I found myself more independent and responsible.
People travel for the experience. You hear that all the time, but what does that really mean? What experiences really come from traveling? Besides the above mentioned of independence and responsibility, you have the food, the language, the people, and the all around culture. For many people, this is the main reason they travel, for the experience of these things. If you read recent travel blogs, and there are a lot in this recent time, they all blog to their readers’ about the best places to eat from a local perspective, the cultural differences to be prepared for, and of course the beauty of the place they are seeing. This is what readers’ want to read, hence why the bloggers write about it. A personal favorite blog of mine, is and here, like thousands of other blogs, the writer, Brooke, writes about local accomadations such as hotels, touristy spots and how to get good deals on them, and of course the best resteraunts around. These bloggers write about these things because this is what people look for when they travel. Travelers want the best experience for the money they are spending, so they look to people who have been to these destinations before and rely on their feedback. Travelers also look to this stuff for the experience of their trip because it can be so different from country to country or even just nearby destinations. First of all, the language is the largest difference if you are traveling to different countries. One of the best ways to learn a language is by being fully immersed into it, and many travelers take full advantage of that. People love to learn, and experience a new language. So many foods are different as well, or known for their better cuisine at least. As for Italy, it tops Olive Garden, I can say that for sure. Austria’s actual weinerschnitzel beats our fast food version of what it’s supposed to be. Experiencing food while traveling is such a great part of the experience because of the diversity of all there is out there. What is also diverse are the cultures from different places. Things like customs and normalities in one place is totally unheard of in another region. Though the fear of not doing something right is there, there is also the thrill of learning of a culture first hand. Simple things like street markets can be different, to huge differences like designated praying times throughout a whole country. One of the cultural difference I experienced on my trip in Austria, was the streets of Vienna. What I am used to are wide, open roads with little traffic and few people walking. Meanwhile, in Vienna the streets you will find to be very small, and filled with city people walking to their destination, because there, it is the most common form of transportation. Now, while in Italy, a cultural difference I experienced was during breakfast, lunch, and dinner. What I was used to was things like eggs, bacon, sausage, pancakes, etc. for breakfast. Well in Italy, those things are considered weird breakfast items. There, you basically eat pastries for breakfast. At lunch, what I was used to was just make yourself a sandwich whenever you are hungry and just eat. However, in Italy, lunch is as big of a deal as dinner. The whole family comes to eat at the table, and the meal is prepared daily. For me, this was a minor culture difference, but I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. I believe it is experiencing a new culture that can be such a reason for people to want to travel. There is so much diversity out there waiting to be discovered. 
Another reason people travel is to get a break from there life. Now whether this is advised or not, it still happens. Short term travels can often be for this reason. It is a temporary escape whatever is happening in your permanent location. It is a temporary stress reliever. For however long you are traveling, you are only thinking of your awesome time and all the things you have seen and too be seen. Any worries people may have are left behind, they were not packed in the suitcase. Traveling can be a mental vacation. Everyone from time to time needs that, whether it is from school, a job, or friends and family. To be gone from all this is what traveling can offer people and that is what many people do end up traveling for, a break from life.

Overall, traveling is beneficial in so many ways. As a person, you grow into a more mature, responsible, and independent person. While traveling, you gain so much knowledge culturally. Besides culturally, you also gain knowledge about your surrounding such as buildings, historical figures, and major events occurring in the area. Traveling also serves as a sanity gainer. While traveling, one can really regain their mental health and improve stress levels. Why do I want to travel? All of these reasons, and so much more. 

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