Around the World in a Lifetime

I have a serious case of the travel bug. And I have it bad.

There are close to 200 million square miles of surface area on Earth. Only 57.5 million of those square miles is land. Close to 4 million square miles make up the splendor that is America. About 87,000 of those square miles form the great state of Minnesota. My hometown of Minneapolis, compared to the total square mileage that covers Earth, makes up a mere 58.4 square miles of that total. In other words, if I had never left the confines of my hometown of Minneapolis, MN, I’d have only explored 0.000000292 of the planet in my lifetime. That is a sad, sad number.

Most people I know have done some sort of traveling at one point or another. Whether it’s a brief road trip to a neighbor state, or studying abroad across the globe, anywhere you go will offer an exquisite experience that’s different from the last. You won’t really understand the concept until you experience it yourself. Just ask Cheryl Strayed or Elizabeth Gilbert. They are two wonderful authors whose memoirs (Wild and Eat, Pray, Love) found their way into Oprah’s Book Club and the New York Times Bestsellers list. Both memoirs tell of women struggling through life, and ultimately finding serenity and healing through travel (that 12 word description doesn’t even bring the slightest justice to the books themselves, you’ll just have to read them). Now that I’ve been graced with the opportunity of visiting a handful of different places myself, the experiences have only enhanced my urge to see more.

Rome, for example, was the first place I had visited that was home to such an ancient civilization. It wasn’t until I stepped foot onto the old cobblestone streets of which Julius Caesar himself had walked upon that I realized how young America truly is. Even before visiting Rome I got to have my first taste of Asia as I visited my family in South Korea. Seoul was incredible, don’t get me wrong, but it was the lush, mountainous landscape outside of the city that made the trip unforgettable (along with the food, but don’t get me started because I won’t stop). My most recent trip was to Panama, where E & I fished for peacock bass in the Panama Canal. As a Biology major and ecosystem connoisseur, this was definitely a bucket list moment. The wildlife was surreal, and the history was rich.

Besides the big, overseas trips, I’ve been lucky enough to have seen a handful of states and cities here in the U.S. as well. Many people dream of vacationing somewhere far, far away. However, many tend to forget that roughly 1/14 of the land on Earth represents the U.S.A, and there is plenty to see here in the heartland. After a long winter, and bright, summer days ahead, I urge you to 6. Pack your bags and get outta town. There really are no excuses. Not willing to spend a pretty penny? Check up on Groupon Getaways or other travel sites where you can find a good deal. Sometimes they even have the itinerary and travel accommodations already planned for you! Work, done. Better yet, save even more by grabbing your backpack and wandering to more remote, tourist-deprived locations. If you are physically able, now is the time to plan, or choose not to plan, such a trip. Visit friends or family in a place you’d otherwise never think to visit. Who knows, kickin’ it with Auntie Janet in Bacon, IN might be a helluva time! You never know until you go. As for me, I try to stay as inspired and adventure-hungry as possible. E & I plan on cruising to Alaska, skiing in Colorado, and attending a Broadway musical in New York (E has never seen a musical. I know, I had the same awe-struck reaction) sometime in the near future, just to name a few. So create your own destination list and pry yourself out of your comfort bubble. Christopher Columbus didn’t discover America by lounging contently in his home ya know…

Atraverssiamo.

My sister and I at the top of Mudeung mountain in Gwangju

My sister and I at the top of Mudeung mountain in Gwangju

Ancient road, new civilization -- Roma

Ancient road, new civilization — Roma

Luck, love, and a return to Rome -- Trevi Fountain

Luck, love, and a return to Rome — Trevi Fountain

Roma, I'll never forget you.

Roma, I’ll never forget you.

Drinking in the nature -- Panama

Drinking in the nature — Panama

Fishing for peacock bass -- Panama Canal

Fishing for peacock bass — Panama Canal