Traveling away from home, no matter how far, can be life changing for anyone. When we push ourselves beyond what we know, we learn to think critically in new ways. We become comfortable with the inevitable experience of uncertainty, and we are exposed to excitement, joy and adventure. Most importantly, however, travel opportunities like the ones The Road Less Traveled offers allow us to see what we are truly capable of; and almost universally, students discover that they can do so much more than they ever believed possible.
Getting the most out of a student travel program takes a lot of open-mindedness. It is key to enter into these expeditions with a mindful willingness to embrace whatever comes your way. There are people and places and moments of beauty that none of us could ever anticipate in this world. In order to appreciate these things for what they are, we have to leave our expectations behind. Anything can happen – any friendship can be made, any passion ignited.
… almost universally, students discover that they can do so much more than they ever believed possible.
Trust is another key component to getting the most out of your travel experience. Leaving your family behind can be a scary thing, and so can walking into a brand new experience with brand new people. Have faith that while everyone is nervous before embarking on something totally foreign, these feelings of anxiety will pass, you will adapt, and the wonders of your adventure will still be before you. Don’t fight these feelings – ride them like a wave, and trust that this is all a part of the package.
Some of The Road Less Traveled’s most popular programs include community service aspects, such as Hujambo, our program in Tanzania, or Call of the Wild, our program that works with wolf conservation in Colorado. Community service allows students to feel what it’s like to dedicate themselves to something greater. It is a funny thing to go through an experience as deeply personal and internal as traveling alone to different parts of the world, and find that in reality you are connecting with something larger than yourself. This is another one of the most important parts of getting the most out of your program – connect with something outside of yourself. The personal becomes universal, and vice versa. If you fall in love with the children of Costa Rica, or discover that the mountains of Peru are where you belong, or realize that conservation work is your calling, you will have discovered something vital and wonderful about yourself as a person.
The world is big and beautiful and filled with wonders, and so is the human heart. The amount of goodness trips like these can do is impossible to overstate. Come prepared for anything, and leave having recognized something true and great about yourself.