For thousands of years, humans have been on the move. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration, the average American drove 13,476 miles in 2000. From June 2016 to June 2017, 730 million Americans boarded airplanes, the Bureau of Transportation Statistics estimated. Amtrak reported that, from October 2015 to September 2016, 31.3 million people rode on Amtrak trains.
However, travel is not without significant cost. According to the Consumer Expenditure Interview Survey, a study by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Americans spent an average of a little over $500 per domestic trip and between $3,000 and $3,500 for each international trip from 2005 to 2013. Furthermore, in 2013, the average domestic air ticket cost $545; the average international ticket cost $1,646. Even the average cost of simply driving was $127 per trip, and people who used alternative means of transportation such as buses and trains paid averages of $226 per domestic trip and $941 per international trip.
To some Americans, traveling may not be worth the money, but according to a Leesville Road High School teacher and several Leesville students, the benefits of travel make it worth the cost.
The Leesville community contains many well-traveled students and teachers. From the shores of the Caribbean, to the cities of eastern Europe, and to the islands of Japan, Leesville students and teachers have collectively journeyed all over the world. Through travel, these individuals experienced firsthand the benefits of traveling, which include learning about unique cultures around the world and personal growth.
Reagan Norvell and Josh England, Leesville seniors, and Eliza Bohinski, a junior at Leesville, have enjoyed eye-opening travel experiences. While many teenagers wish to travel simply to “have fun,” Norvell, England, and Bohinski hope to continue to travel throughout their lives in order to experience different cultures and learn how people live around the world.
“Other parts of the world live so much different than us,” said Norvell. “It’s also really cool to be able to meet different people in different cultures and…get to understand other people.”
Norvell, England, and Bohinski have just brushed the surface of all they can accomplish through traveling, whereas Angela Scioli, Leesville Road High School social studies teacher, has had more time to have notable travel experiences. She has visited Tunisia, Japan, Peru, and the European countries of Greece, France, Spain, and the United Kingdom.
When Scioli travels, like Norvell, England, and Bohinski, she enjoys immersing herself in the culture of the place she is visiting. Her favorite way to accomplish this experience is to walk a city’s streets and enjoy the sense of fascination the city gives her.
Through traveling, people have the opportunity to learn more about the world around them, but travelers also experience personal growth. Travel opened England’s eyes to how fortunate he is to live in Raleigh, North Carolina, because people around the world are not as well-off as many Raleigh residents. As a result, England now holds people of all walks of life in higher esteem.
“[Travel has] given me a lot of respect for just humans,” England said. “My worldview has kind of been shaped [by travel] around the idea that people are good at heart, just they sometimes get caught up in the bad things.”
Norvell and Scioli have developed similar ideas about human nature through traveling. Scioli has met many generous people during her travels, and as a result, she believes people are all the same inside and act in others’ best interests.
“I have been…so touched often by the unbelievable generosity of human spirit when I meet people in another country,” Scioli said. “I’ve…bungled a lot of languages, and people didn’t really seem to mind, which I thought was generous.”
Along with experiencing distinct cultures through travel, Bohinski has learned that she is able to easily adapt to unique circumstances, and travel has taught Norvell how to be more independent.
“I think that I’ve learned a lot about who I am as a person [from travel] and being able to…handle myself independently,” Norvell said. “I’ve gone to countries by myself and being able to do that…was really helpful to me to…mature.”
Travel may have immense benefits, but alas, it remains extremely costly.
“[I would change] the price [of travel] because if it was less expensive, you could see more of the world,” said Bohinski. “[The cost of travel is] a bit sad and shouldn’t be so expensive if you want to experience other cultures.”
Though travel is certainly expensive, Norvell, Scioli, England, and Bohinski all agree that traveling is most definitely worth the cost. They have all learned important life lessons and gained knowledge of people and their cultures around the world from travel.
Both Norvell and Scioli encourage anyone who has an interest in travel to pursue it. They believe that the experience of traveling and seeing other cultures is worthwhile and filled with personal growth. However, the travel experience is only what one makes of it, so next time you travel, ensure you make the most of the opportunity.