When I was two months old, my mom was dying to get back to Brazil to see her family, so we hopped on a plane. From that moment, whether she knew it or not, I caught the travel bug. We were constantly visiting Sao Paulo, and we were fortunate enough to take family trips throughout my childhood. My parents met in Japan, so it makes sense that travel would be an important part of our family dynamic, and the catalyst of some of the best experiences of my life.

There are so many excuses NOT to travel. The time. The money. The hassle. But I firmly believe that travel has not only made me a better person and solidified who I am, but has also inspired me to create in ways that have changed the course of my life. You don’t need to have insane amounts of money to travel. And even though I’ve traveled a lot of the world, there were times I did so when I was completely broke. And also times where travel left me completely broke haha. I’ve stayed in everything from hostels to couches to luxury 5 star hotels. I’ve traveled by planes, trains, boats, bicycles, tuk tuks, quads, etc… In roughly the last decade I’ve traveled to Croatia, Spain, Armenia, Germany, Brazil, Russia, Scotland, Thailand, Slovenia, England, Italy, Switzerland, Canada, Israel, Argentina, Mexico, France, Turkey, Greece, and the Netherlands.

But traveling doesn’t mean you need to leave the country and visit exotic places. It could mean getting out of your town for a weekend, going somewhere out in nature, or visiting a city nearby. Exploration is a state of mind powered by curiosity. There is so much in the world to see. And when you travel enough, you see that people are people wherever they’re from or whatever they look like. Culturally we may be different, but ultimately, we all want the same things out of life.

There is a sense of adventure that is awoken when traveling that extends far beyond the moment you step off the plane and walk back inside your front door. You learn what you’re made of when you’re traveling, and the more foreign the landscape is to you, the better. That being said, it’s important to be extremely aware of your surroundings and to not act like a tourist even though you might be. Act like you know where you’re going, don’t trust strangers unless they’ve proven themselves to you, and always keep your passport in a safe spot.

There will never be a GOOD time to travel. The best thing to do is buy a ticket and figure the rest out later!

Maiara Walsh