So while looking through blog ideas from the International Program at the University of Iowa (where I send in my blogs every couple weeks to share my crazy experience), I found a question that I could immediately and easily answer, but I wanted to save it for the last big month of travels. The question is:
Who’s your favorite person to travel with, and why?
And the answer is (*drum roll*)…
Were you expecting that? I’m not sure if the question was more targeted towards finding out who I have met here and who is the best travel partner (all of my travel buddies have been wonderful, by the way), but no matter how many travel buddies I meet and how many friends I travel with, I think my wonderful mother will probably always be my #1 (cue awws). Not only has she funded all of my travel expeditions we have been on, but she’s also one of the only people who knows me fully and knows how to deal with me at my best and worst times. That’s the perfect travel companion, I think! She and I have been on a lot of expeditions, inside and outside the United States, with or without other family members or other friends, but I think no matter what we always have a fantastic time, and it’s hard not to when you’re sharing an experience with someone you love. I saved this question for some of my last blog posts for the International Program, mostly so I didn’t get too homesick thinking about it, but also because I’m about two weeks from getting a chance to travel with her (and my bearded not-so-baby brother) and I think it’s a relevant topic!
I also think my mom has been a really big component in my need and love for traveling, because she herself has been quite the adventurer, coming to the United States from Switzerland to also be a study abroad/exchange student here. She’s taught me, directly and indirectly, the importance of learning, the importance of language, the importance of tolerance and the importance of exploration (and a million other things, but we’ll stick to these). What better way to do that than to travel?
As a family, we’ve traveled to Europe multiple times to meet and create relationships with her own family, but also we’ve gone to other places to also get a chance to see the world differently. My family is proud of our Swiss heritage, and we like to prove it through the little traditions we have (raclette night, anyone?), our love for chocolate and cheese, and even by getting tattoos (not for the faint of heart).
Being here, having this entire study abroad experience, just makes me even more grateful and thankful. Both of my parents were extremely encouraging, even if it meant they would have to send their daughter away to a foreign country for a few months. Even if it meant my mom would have to take care of me over Skype and Whatsapp, and that my dad would somehow have to figure out how Skype worked on a computer (which he did!). Even if it meant my dad wouldn’t get to see me until January 5th. This very simple question, ” Who’s your favorite person to travel with, and why?” opened up my eyes to exactly why I like to travel with my mom.
My favorite person to travel with is my mom because she’s the one who inspired me to travel in the first place. And because of her I will never stop. And as my study abroad experience comes to a close, I’m excited for the day I will get to travel with her again.