I still remember the very first plane flight I took without a family member. It was only the second trip of my life. I was 14 years old and heading to Mexico for a three-week service trip. My dad, who traveled every few months for business, made me dress up because that is what you did when you flew. I thought that was crazy, but dressed up to please him. Over the next six years I wound up heading to Italy (three times), Spain and Canada. I officially had the travel bug – each trip made me want to explore some place else.
The more I look at my friends and the other twenty-somethings around me, the more I realize the travel bug is something that is a part of our generation. I don’t know a single young professional who has not spent at least a week outside the US. A high school friend and her husband just picked up and moved to China two months ago. After graduation another friend spent two years in South America teaching English. I have friends who take service trips to Belize every summer and cousins who packed up to spend Oktoberfest in Germany. Perhaps it is the every more global culture. The shrinking borders, the collaboration we see in so many ways – it has us looking at the whole world and all its possibilities.
And while, for Europeans this is nothing new, for Americans it is new. With the size of our country, leaving it isn’t as simple as jumping in the car of hopping a fast train. My parents, for example, never left the US until we finally convinced them to go to Spain for a week; that’s the only international trip they have ever made. And they, or at least my father, has no desire to leave again. My grandparents never left. My siblings and I, on the other hand, are constantly looking for opportunities to leave and explore. By the time we graduated high school, each and every one of us has been abroad.
I stumbled across three great one-minute videos that encapsulate the desire of this generation to trave. Move, Eat and Learn were filmed by three friends as they spent 44 days traveling to 11 countries. Just watching the movies has put the travel bug back within me. Wonder where that will lead to next.