Last Saturday night, I attended the local AFS Potluck Social. I was amazed when I first walked in. There were exchange students from all over the world: Italy, Thailand, Japan, Iceland, Belgium, Pakistan, Germany, etc. It was so fun to be able to meet these students and even meet returnees, volunteers, host parents, parents of students currently abroad, and several of my fellow Speedwell recipients.This night was an eye-opener. One day, I’ll be attending an event just like this in Germany. I’ll be meeting other foreign exchange students from all the world in Germany, and perhaps meet future German exchange students. And maybe, I’ll be giving advice to those nervous and excited exchange students.This night also was a reminder of my passion for foreign languages, culture, and travel. Speaking of travel, meeting everyone the other night made me think of my memories of traveling..
For as long as I could remember, my family and I would always go on vacation for two weeks in the summer. That’s when my love for travel started. The two states that we usually vacationed in was Florida and New York, because my relatives lived there (and we would always stop in North Carolina to visit more relatives when we drove down to Florida). For the past 17 and a half years of my live, I can remember at least vacationing or being (for whatever reason) in 16 states/districts: Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Washington D.C., North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Kentucky, Nevada, Arizona, California.
However, it didn’t stop there. I also went to Canada (for about 2 hours), and my family and I had ice cream. Last year, I was fortunate enough to be able to go to South Korea and Germany during the summer. I left school about a week early (I had to finish my finals a week early), and my family and I (excluding my dad) boarded a flight to Japan. After we arrived in Japan, we later departed again to South Korea. I was so excited last year to go to South Korea. I remember counting the days down since January. Going to South Korea was all I would talk about. I never met my Korean relatives before, and it was the first time I met them. I spent two weeks in South Korea, and absolutely loved it. I went to Lotte World, Oeyeondo Island, Itaewon, Gyeongbokgung Castle, Namsan Tower, the beach, the Korean Folk Village, and quite a few other places.
After I came back from South Korea, I had about ten days before I departed to Germany. Those ten days, I became even more excited for Germany. When it was the day to leave for Germany, I was completely stoked. I was exhilarated by the feeling of traveling again. I said my goodbyes to my parents and left for the airport with my German teacher and several of my German Club members (it was a school trip). We boarded the plane (about 8 hours later?) and headed to London. Then, we boarded another plane and headed to Germany. I spent about a week and a half in Germany. Two of those days, we stayed in Switzerland (we spent an hour in Austria and Liechtenstein since we had to drive through the two countries). All in all, we were in Frankfurt, Rothenburg, Munich, Heidelberg, somewhere in Austria and Liechtenstein, and Lucerne. Some of the places we visited were Munich’s town hall, Olympic Stadium, Dachau, Neuschwanstein Castle, Nymphenburg Castle, the Black Forest, the Rhein River, and Lake Lucerne (which was absolutely beautiful).
When I returned from my trip, life wasn’t the same to me. I missed traveling around, experience these cultures that were foreign to me, hearing the foreign languages everywhere, the delicious food, the people…I so badly wanted to return or go somewhere. That is when I realized that I was struck by wanderlust-a strong desire to travel. I also realized that I want to travel the world. I want to travel to all of the countries in the world. There are 196 countries in the world, however, and I only have so much time to live. Is it possible? Perhaps. But my goal is to visit at least 98 countries before I die-I would die happy if I accomplished this goal.
So far, I have only visited 9 countries. 89 more countries to go!
However, I still have plenty of time to travel around. Right now, I’m just going to focus on Germany. Oh the excitement of returning to Germany once again!