5 Ways Travel Makes Your Life Better

Travel is fun and exciting and definitely can be educational, but can it improve your life? Of course it can. Here are 5 ways that travel makes your life better:

You experience new cultures. Often times, people are raised in one culture and stick with it for the rest of their lives, rarely venturing out to new places. Taking the time to travel to new countries and experience someone else’s culture can be an eye-opening experience. It can help to broaden your perspective sand realize that there are so many different cultures and worlds and people out there and, although they are different, they are all good people. It can also be a refreshing getaway from the everyday life you are used to, and help get you out of a rut.

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Taking a Break from Social Media on Vacation

Social media has quickly become a staple of modern-day culture. Wherever you go, it seems people are always on their phones, checking Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and so much more. While social media is a great way to check in with friends, share important memories, and catch up on the latest news, it can sometimes be a little overwhelming. Everyone needs a break from social media sometimes, and especially on vacations. Here are some reasons why you should consider a social media break on your next vacation:

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How to be a tourist in your home town

Call it a staycation or just a vacation close to home, but traveling doesn’t mean that you have to pack up the suitcases and pack on the miles. We’re so anxious to escape the daily grind that we forget that there are things to see and do right in our own backyard. If your budget or your time is tight, you can still enjoy some memorable vacation time by exploring your city or your state.

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GLOBAL IDENTITIES

According to Oscar Wilde, my spring break was filled with some of the most rare, beautiful “living.”

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I spent ten days traveling throughout Ireland and England, experiencing the cultures where some of my favorite literature comes from, stopping on almost every street corner to appreciate the local live musicians, and immersing myself in the beauty of the blooming spring that constantly surrounded us.

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NO WORDS

I apologize if the title of this post was misleading and you were expecting a page full of pictures instead of my weekly ramblings. Rather this post will contain my best attempt to capture just a small glimpse of the magic we experienced in the past two days, though words will likely fail to do this justice. This past weekend I was in the breathtaking city of Paris, experiencing some of the best moments of my life. Our two days were so jam packed with beautiful blessings and God moments that I had to start a list on my phone halfway through the weekend so I made sure to remember each and every single precious moment. Throughout several parts of the weekend my fellow travel companions and I found ourselves at a loss for words, completely speechless at the life we were living and how we had gotten to this moment of such grace and peace. The phrases “What is our life right now?” “This is the peak of my existence” and “How can life get any better than this?” were uttered every hour.

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HAY QUE GOZAR DE LA VIDA

“Hay que gozar de la vida” is a Spanish saying common in Latin America that means “Life is to be enjoyed.” This saying could not be more fitting for the people of Spain as well. This past weekend included a weekend trip to the small, coastal town of Valencia in southeast Spain. The people of Valencia have a unique way of living that can best be described through their food and festivals. In two weeks, Valencia will throw one of the biggest festivals in Spain, called Las Fallas. This festival is essentially a city-wide party that includes a LOT of firecracker explosions. This past weekend the city was busy preparing for this huge festival, evident in the lights that lined all the streets, the constant explosion of firecrackers, and the random parade we stumbled across on Saturday. From what I understand, the food is the second most important part of this festival. This includes their famous paella (Valencia is the birthplace of Paella), bunyols (fried pumpkin donuts typically served with chocolate), horchata (sweet rice milk drink), and aqua de Valencia (a drink that doesn’t actually have any water at all but rather orange juice, gin, vodka, champagne, and lots of sugar…I can confirm it is delicious). The Spanish know how to live a life of enjoyment and my time here has been spent trying to adopt this way of life. Our time in Valencia included laughter and hearts as full as our bellies as we wandered the streets enjoying the food and the culture. The trip was complete with walks on the beach, toes dipped in the ocean, shopping in food markets and vintage stores, and lots and lots of sweets. It was one of the easiest, most peaceful, lovely weekend trips I’ve had because since Valencia isn’t one of the most famous cities in Europe we didn’t feel pressured to see anything in particular and took our time to enjoy the culture instead. Some of my most favorite moments from the weekend include: seeing my friend Maddie, who is studying abroad in Italy right now,  at the bus station for the first time since we left SLU, eating the best paella I’ve had yet under umbrellas on a small side street of Valencia, sampling fresh squeezed juice from the Valencia food market, watching Maria take a selfie with some random famous teenager video star, stumbling across the world’s cutest children’s parade, and dipping my toes in the ocean despite the freezing water.

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Spring break getaway in Williamsburg

travel makers
Spring break getaway in Williamsburg Virginia including staying at the Williamsburg Inn

Looking for a spring getaway that has something for the entire family? Then consider Williamburg, Virginia.

Go back in time at Colonial Williamsburg and stand on the same grounds that Thomas Jefferson, Martha Washington, and James Madison once stood. Learn how life was back in those days, take carriage rides, and take a tour of the area. Those with some backbone might even enjoy the after-hours ghost tours.

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JOURNEY’S MEASURED IN FRIENDS

Caitlin attends St. Louis University

It has been four weeks since I last posted about our travels to Barcelona. In that time, I have experienced the wonderfully different culture of Morocco, started a language exchange with a student from my English as a second language course I’m teaching with my roommate, been reminded that I am actually here for school through six different exams, and drank more beer than I thought possible in Germany. With it being March in two days some of my friends have begun to panic because our time in Madrid is already going so quickly. I, on the other hand, am just starting to feel comfortable in my home with our señora and in the Spanish culture. A few weeks ago I started counting my daily “Spanish wins.” For example, right now I am in a coffee shop typing this and was able to successfully order a café con leche and converse with the barista with no problems. Spanish win. Though some may be worried our journey here is halfway over, I am not worried because 1. I miss my friends and family a whole heck of a lot, 2. we’ve already done so much, and 3. we still have so much to do! In the less than two months that I have been in Europe I have travelled to Toledo, Segovia, La Granja, Loyola, and Barcelona, Spain, Morocco, and Berlin and Munich, Germany. I have plans to go to Valencia, Paris, England, Ireland, Portugal, and Amsterdam still. Oh and then meet my family in Rome and travel around Europe with those I miss the most. You could say life is pretty good and understand why I’m not that worried. Each day here holds it’s own small blessings which I am trying to appreciate each day.

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THE BEAUTY OF DISCOMFORT

Caitlin attends St. Louis University

No one tells you how hard the first few days of study abroad are, between the numerous days spent in airports and on delayed flights, the immediate language barrier that presents a problem everywhere I go, and the feeling of discomfort that is associated with living as a guest in someone else’s home. If I’m being honest, my first few days in Madrid were not filled with beautiful experiences of a different culture but rather harsh realizations of all the differences between their culture and my own. These few days of hardship are what made today, and moments like this, extra special.

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