WWU - Travel Thoughts

People need to travel. Too often we get caught up in our daily lives, our routine, and the comfortableness that comes from having everything figured out. Many people live lives without challenges. Struggles, for sure, but no challenges. Traveling presents a myriad of challenges, but the best part is being able to confront them and enjoy the success that comes with it. 

Language barriers, not understanding the local culture, getting confused by the subway, funky food, and “odd” behavior are all things we’ll inevitably confront when traveling. However, the exploration is the best part. We not only get to explore a new country, but also get to explore ourselves in the process. How do we respond when faced with challenges abroad? How has my perspective about life, work, or the pursuit of happiness changed since my trip? And perhaps most importantly, how have I changed as a person? 

Sure, traveling is about trying new food, relaxing, and taking pictures in front of famous monuments. But as a whole, I think it’s about opening your mind. For example, I didn’t know I liked eating cow heart until I traveled to Peru, and China is constantly making me say, "I didn't even know that was a thing available to buy". My point is, traveling is so much more than just the destination, it's about finding out who are you within that destination. I've come to learn more about myself through my travels than I ever did at school or through sports. 

I don't care if you travel, but I think you should. Understanding just how big the world really is and connecting with people from different cultural backgrounds is something I believe will make the world a better place. Too often we sit back and judge people based on stereotypes or what we see portrayed on tv or in the news. Learning firsthand what a culture and its people are like can have enormous effects on how we live our lives and the way we treat people going forward. So it's with these closing thoughts that I urge you to take a trip, even a domestic one, because life is short and there is so much waiting to be explored. 

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Degen Hill

About: Degen Hill is a travel junkie, gym enthusiast, and avid writer who currently resides in Beijing. He is a 28-year-old graduate of Eastern Washington University where he studied Spanish & Communications and quickly learned that life's too short to not travel. Degen is aggressively realistic, open-minded, sarcastic, curious, and results-driven.

Currently: Degen graduated from Tsinghua University with a Master's of Chinese Politics and Foreign Policy in Beijing. He is now a reporter and editor for the political magazine China Today (今日中国). His Chinese language ability is a work in progress and enjoys the challenge. He is currently living in Andingmen (Right above the Forbidden City).