8 Reasons To Travel This Summer
by Reef Adventure Seeker Eryn Krouse
Summer is here, which means my travel game is strong. I use this time away from school to travel and create new experiences as much as possible. To kick off my summer, I hopped on a plane (and a bus, and a boat) to get to Bocas del Toro, Panama. Wherever you may be #justpassingthrough, here are 8 reasons to give into your wanderlust this summer!
1. Get out of your comfort zone
I travel because I like to challenge myself to get out of my comfort zone. It’s easy to get used to your routine at home, but I like to break that to really make me feel alive. For me, travel is all about remembering how vulnerable and small you are in the world and it really makes you take on a different perspective on life.
2. Traveling builds character
Traveling is exhausting, and anyone who says differently is vacationing. (I think there’s a big difference between the two.) It’s easy to overlook the toll traveling takes on your body, especially with social media portraying the glamorous side of travel . In reality, there’s a lot more involved. HOWEVER, this isn’t me telling you to not travel- quite the opposite. When you’ve been traveling to get to a destination for 24 hours +, you feel like there’s nothing else you can’t do and that no place is unreachable.
I had quite the travel nightmare getting to Bocas del Toro, Panama. I had a red-eye flight leaving at 1am from Los Angeles to Houston. In Houston, my flight got delayed eight hours, causing me to miss my connecting domestic flight from Panama City to Bocas. As a result, I ended up taking an overnight bus (with 3 separate transfers) and 12 hours later, I made it to my final destination. It was frustrating because one leg of my journey that was only supposed to be 11 hours total turned out to be 30. I was so exhausted, both mentally and physically, but when it was all said and done, I was pretty proud of myself for navigating through Panama on multiple buses in the middle of the night with very limited Spanish!
3. Give back to the local community
Traveling creates a connection to the communities that you visit and to the natural world. Taking time to give back and make a positive impact on the local communities is the most fulfilling part of the journey.
4. Experience a culture different from your own
A huge benefit of traveling is all the things you learn from first-hand experience; things that you can’t really learn through books in school.
I love trying new foods and hearing languages other than English being spoken around me. In Panama, there was a lot of fresh fish and fruit, so I basically had some combination of the two in every meal. My favorite dish I tried was octopus ceviche with a side of fried plantains. We’d also stock up on ripe papayas, bananas, and limes at the local fruit stands. It’s so easy to eat healthy in a place with abundant and delicious produce!
5. Surf somewhere different
Surfing is a funny thing because it’s the same concept everywhere you go. Paddle, catch a wave, and repeat. That being said, surfing is one of the best ways to get to know a country and the locals. When you’re out in the ocean, it’s like you’re part of a community that transcends culture. There’s a general happiness from being able to share the stoke, and the energy is contagious.
6. Connect with nature (and yourself)
Most often, the places I travel to tend to have little to not cell service, and limited Wi-Fi. I like that it forces me to get off any electronic devices that would dominate my life back at home, and to live in the present. In down-time m
ments, I instead choose to journal and reflect, read a good book, play card games, or enjoy the scenery. Your mind will thank you for this as you notice your thinking patterns change and you feel more relaxed.
7. Let the ocean set you free
The ocean is my ultimate escape, wherever in the world I end up. I just love how it makes me feel, and how instantly refreshed I feel after a quick swim. Every beach has something new to offer, whether it’s the sea glass or the sea shells hidden in the sand. At Red Frog beach in Panama, I spotted a sloth hanging out on a tree! Talk about things you don’t see everyday at home!
8. Bring out your adventerous side
This is something that can’t be denied. Travel definitely brings out your adventurous side as you live in the spontaneity of each and every moment.
Things I can't travel without
Some of my travel essentials include a passport, swim suit, Reef Escape sandals, camera, and my journal.