Sunday, February 17, 2013

Why you should travel young (Final pt2)

So while there are plenty of reasons not to travel, more of them exist as we age. As students entering college next fall, we hold the least amount of responsibility and the most amount of potential and drive. There are numerous reasons to travel other than the obvious intrinsic value. Think about it, by traveling young, you are creating a picture-perfect resume. Employers look for well-rounded employees; you will most likely have foreign language experience, you’ve been proven to show initiative, and probably have a knack for problem solving. You will have experience with managing money and budgeting.  You will have become more independent, and fought your way through many difficult, out-of-your-element situations. You will be an employer’s dream come true.
 Another reason to travel young is the availability of student discounts when booking hostels or on-site activities. Many business owners realize that it is harder for students to afford as much as the typical traveler, and they can usually cut you some slack. By booking as a “student” you are more likely to get some sort of discount, or even get something for free. And we all know free is best.

But aside from the opportunity to save some money and beef up your resume, traveling in general holds such a tremendous value. It, in fact, ups your potential of compassion tenfold. Don’t believe me? Try not to shed a tear at seeing children run barefoot in the streets of a third world country, smiling even with their tattered clothes and desolate futures. Try not to get a twist in your stomach after seeing the wall of skulls from the Cambodian genocide. Or try not to get frustrated while attempting to comprehend why these things are still happening. Not feeling compassion is absolutely not an option while traveling. Even if you are intending to stay in posh hotels or resorts, there is still poverty to be found. Traveling will most definitely show you the need for compassion in the world.

One of my favorite T.V. shows, MTV’s “The Buried Life,” is a documentary series about four young men who were unsatisfied with the direction their lives were headed. They made the bold choice to set out into the world with one mission, to complete their list of life goals, and help others accomplish their own along the way. While their T.V. show ended, these guys still continue to travel, chasing their dreams and helping countless people. Their story is the perfect example of why you need to just go with it sometimes, even if it is not what you had planned. The Buried Life is proof of the success and benefit of following your gut, and seeing the world.

Traveling young will raise eyebrows, it will provoke haters. It will cause concern and give doubt. But the reward far outweighs the cost. There are so many adventures to be had, masterpieces to be seen, and people to help. If travel is something that you wish to do in your future, my question is, what are you waiting for? 

Why you should travel young (Final pt1)

"We are what we repeatedly do," said the great philosopher, Aristotle, who is presumably a reliable source when it comes to evaluating one’s life decisions. So why is it that so many of us choose to ignore the value of the statement? We continue to sit at home and think, “Well, that’s nice. But I could never do that.” We focus on all of the reasons why we shouldn’t venture out. If we are what we repeatedly do, shouldn’t we enjoy what we’re doing right now?

I wonder what my life would be like if I never left my hometown. To stay in my own bleak little bubble of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. If I were only to see the same people every day, take the same roads to and from the same places, never experiencing anything different than the norm, I think I would have lost it by now. While I don’t take for granted the comfort of having a stable home and community to live in, I have tasted just enough culture to know that there is so much more to be feasted on.  

“While you’re still young, get cultured. Get to know the world and the magnificent people that fill it. The world is a stunning place, full of outstanding works of art. See it,” remarked Jeff Goins, in an article he wrote about his passion for traveling.  
Goins is a noted blogger, speaker, author, and the Communications Director of Adventures in Missions, (an international nonprofit organization.) Over the years, he has continued to write about his adventures, and eventually wrote an article on how traveling at a young age changed his life for the better.

If we are what we repeatedly do, I should hope that we all aspire to constantly be repeating actions that make us happy. People my age tend to have a stronger urge to hit the ground running, to explore, and leave responsibility behind us. But it’s what makes us happy. I hear many older individuals complain about how they never got around to traveling. My question is why? Why didn’t they see the world, if that’s what they truly wanted? If there was no opportunity in sight, why did they not simply make their own?

The truth is, traveling while you’re young is one of the best decisions you’ll ever make. Sure, there are excuses not to go, there always will be. But then think of how many more there will be once you age another fifteen years or so. Teenagers become adults, students become full time employees, singles are married, and couples become parents. Travel? Ain’t nobody got time for that.

Explore. Dream. Discover.

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."

Mark Twain

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Verses for today and everyday

"Stop trusting in man, who has but a breath in his nostrils. Of what account is he?"  
Isaiah 2:22

"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever."
Hebrews 13:8

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”
Proverbs 3:5-6


Reviving Ophelia

               Reading non-fiction books is something that I occasionally enjoy doing while in class, but rarely attempt to do for a free reading endeavor.  If the content fascinates me, I can sit down and read a good textbook, autobiography, or a recounting of a famous event, for a little while at least. However, when I started reading Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls, I was immediately hooked. The author, Mary Pipher Ph.D., narrates the many stories of troubled youth quite beautifully. She also provides many sources and uses concrete facts, found through experimentation by her colleagues, and herself.

                She starts by outlining her thesis of why she believes that at a certain point in a young girl’s life, she loses her sense of self and conforms to what society wants her to be. She proves her theory correct by telling the stories of her own patients, as she is a trained psychiatrist for adolescents. Alongside that are endless quotes and data from other sources. By the end of the book she has made her findings very clear.

                The chapters are broken down into topics, such as conforming, sex and violence, development and so on. With sub-chapters including the names of girls that were evaluated that confirm what is trying to be conveyed in each chapter. For example the story of Charlotte portrays the young females’ dependency on a male role model.  This structure for a novel was a good move, it is easy to follow and gives a lot of well-earned text breaks. 

                The only criticism I would give was that some of the information seemed repetitive, and at times, boring. Once the point was made, it seemed to drag on until the next topic was reached. I would have liked to have seen a more condensed final product. 

                This book was somewhat a challenge to read, with a lot of learned psychology terms and medical jargon, but not overwhelmingly so. I was pleased with my reading experience and I would highly recommend the book.


"Welcome to today.
Another day.
Another chance.
Feel free to change."