A little on Hannah Lynn
The most amazing thing about travel is that the more you do it, the more realize how small the world is. Generally, everyone is striving for peace, a purpose in life and human connection. Additionally, there’s also this common thread of how the unknown or unfamiliar is viewed. Every destination is exotic or far off to someone. While it’s natural for curiosity to spur interest in distant lands, I have found that there is a lot to be gained by making an effort to intentionally explore sides of my community that wouldn’t normally make it into my daily routine. Building better understanding of the world is often cited as a benefit of travel, and I think there’s no better place to start than your backyard.
But there are also unique lessons that come from more challenging situations. I first traveled alone when I was 16. When I boarded my flight for Poland, it was the second time I’d ever been on an airplane. But that was nothing compared to navigating the buses in Krakow alone without any foundation of Polish beyond “excuse me” and counting from 1 to 10. My host mom didn’t speak any English so we did a lot of pointing and hand gestures, but that taught me how to communicate without any sort of mediator or translator. On that note, I also learned there is no gesture sufficient for a babcia to accept that you are indeed full. Since then, I’ve also traveled alone in the US including two months that I lived within the boundaries of a National Park of New York Harbor on the tip of the Rockaway Peninsula in sight of the Atlantic.
Though they weren’t in Polish, I still can’t believe the first time I ever got on the 2 Train at the end of the line in the Flatlands, Brooklyn (post riding a bus for also the first time ever from Fort Tilden in Queens) that I made it the first time, and on time, to my job at Federal Hall in Lower Manhattan. And then back again, without getting lost. Between the buses I’ve taken in the US and abroad, metros on the East and West Coast, water taxis, bike shares, pedicabs, normal cabs, cross-country trains and planes I can firmly say traveling has given me the confidence to conquer a situation - and the confidence to do so solo. So I think it’s important to explore your backyard whether you can afford to jetset or not, but I know there are lessons unique to exploring far from your comfort zone that just can’t be had in a 100 mile radius.
Furthermore I would add that seeing the world helps one to understand what it means to be a global citizen, and that insight teaches one to live conscious of our shared global community and environment. We’re all on this planet together forever, we might as well get along and keep it clean.