By: Doug Mulford
I truly didn’t catch the travel bug until I visited a country that I was somewhat wary about: Morocco. I was studying abroad in Spain at the time, and had only ever gone to countries that we would consider culturally “Western”. Still, the opportunity to partake in a guided tour of Northern Morocco presented itself, and I decided to add another country and continent to my list. I was a bit nervous having never been to Africa, and in the wake of the terrorist attacks happening in Europe at the time, the media’s constant bombardment of the supposed danger in that region didn’t help. But, I resisted the temptation to back out, and when I arrived my life literally changed before my eyes. I was seeing a new landscape, a new people, culture, religion, and language. Yes, they were different, but I realized that just because they were different didn’t mean I had to be scared. The stereotypes instilled by the fear mongering media were suddenly washed away, and I connected with a beautiful country and culture that I wouldn’t have otherwise if I had given into my initial preoccupation. Now, I don’t let the media or fear dictate where I travel to. Life is too short to let someone else decide your fate. Deciding my own path has not only allowed me to see the world in a new light, but has also given me the chance to meet incredible people from the innumerable different cultures around the world. And, even though these differences are real, I now see through them and rather focus on the common human heritage that we all share.
● Travel with a buddy or two! Although at times soloing can be fun, it’s safer and just as enjoyable with some friends.
● Use a travel agency. Although now more than ever it’s easy to organize trips on
your own, sometimes the easiest way to go somewhere (especially if you are unfamiliar with the local language, culture, and landscape) is through an agency.