Yes, you read the title correctly. I am twenty one years old and I have never traveled outside the country before. I've never been on an airplane. Never visited a different country and took in the sights. Never. Not once. The farthest I have ever traveled is the six hour drive I take to get to school, and that's staying within the same state as my hometown.
As a kid my parents were never big on elaborate vacations. While some kids were going to London, Hawaii and Italy, I was going to an aquarium 2 hours away from my house. Now I don't want to sound ungrateful because I really did enjoy those little trips with my family. But, as I got older, I realized that I lacked experience and knowledge that one can only obtain from traveling. I was missing out on something that so many people raved about.
As the years went by, no longer were my friends going with their families on vacations to other countries, but they were going by themselves. Some decided after high school to move to a different country, while others studied abroad or went with other friends for week long vacations. When I brought this up to my parents at around the age 0f 18-19 and explained to them that I felt that I was missing out on something incredibly special they would respond with, "Do you know how much money that all costs?" At the time, this pissed me off to no end. Yes, I realized that traveling was expensive, especially since I didn't have a steady job,but how come all my other friends, who were jobless, had the money to visit all of these places? It was completely unfair.
Now at the age of 21, I realize that my parents were somewhat right when it came down to the money aspect of it all. I was a teenager at that time, whose only income came from babysitting jobs and being a camp counselor over the summer. I didn't have the money to go to London or Greece, and it wouldn't have been fair to beg my parents for money when they couldn't even take my brother and I on extravagant vacations when we were little kids.
But now, I am an adult, almost out of college, and my parents (mostly my mom) still gives me the same response when I come home complaining that all my friends are going to travel after college and I have still not been on a fucking airplane. This time around I am an adult who makes my own decisions. I have been working a job on campus since my freshman year and jobs throughout the summer. I've saved up my own money for years and I should be able to do what I want with it.
I've never traveled and I'm suffocating. I want to travel the world and see different countries and cultures firsthand. I want to see historical landmarks, eat unique and different foods. I just want to escape this place I've been stuck in my entire life, even if it's only for a week or two.
What I am terrified of is going through my 20's the way I went through my teenage years. I do not want these next few years to be me, watching as my friends go backpacking through Europe and coming back with incredible stories. I don't want to be the girl who never traveled and missed out on everything.
That can't happen.
Published by Megan Wong