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Traveling experience is beneficial for personal growth

So I won’t sit here and preach about how some “Eat Pray Love” traveling experience will change your life forever. I won’t do that, because you’ll hate me for it — The Targum won’t print it and Julia Roberts did a better job at it. What I am going to do is try and explain that through my experiences traveling really did change my life. Before you turn the page, roll your eyes or chuckle at my romantic and silly fallacies about traveling, I will have you know that I am an incredibly logical person. I eat oats in the morning, get my papers done before 4 a.m. and, perhaps the highest indication of responsibility and reliability, I wash my dishes immediately after using them.

Of course, I know that it takes more than a logical person to be at liberty or qualified to give out advice. So let me give you some background. I have moved around quite a bit. I was born in Lahore, Pakistan in July 1994. When I was four years old my family and I moved to Augusta, Georgia, where I lived and grew up for about 6 years. Let me tell you — the only common denominator between those two towns was the heat and humidity. Straight from Augusta I moved to New Jersey. It was fun, I made friends and overdosed on bagels, pretty much the real Jersey experience. Suddenly, I felt like I was surrounded by bubble wrap again and was ready to move back to Lahore, where I was to live for the next seven years. I lived, I laughed and grew up in a very unique way, being in one of the most controversial countries of the world.

Just as I really settled into my life there, it was time to go again. My family and I made our way back to dirty Jerz and set up our lives here. My sister and I graduated high school and enrolled at the greatest school on earth, (Rutgers, just in case any Penn State kids are reading this). So here I am now, entering my senior year at the only school that I have been at from the start to the finish and in a city that I can now call one of my many homes.

Now that we have established that I am somewhat pretty set in the traveling and culture shock department, lets get to the point.

I have always known the act of traveling to be an out-of-body experience. If you really allow yourself, you can perceive the world in a completely different mindset. I know it’s corny when people say “life begins when you step outside of your comfort zone,” but honestly, it really does. A good trip is like a great meal. Fair warning that many of my insightful metaphors will revolve around food, (pretty much every single one). Once you get that perfect dish, you want more.

When you find yourself in another city, town, zip code or even county for that matter, you are putting yourself out there to try a new life, looking through a new window or just trying out a new flavor (food). In today’s world, we are lucky enough to be able to be curious about the world around us, and, even more so, we are able to act on that curiosity and learn. To me, this is a gift. An experience that everyone and anyone should take advantage of. The most important lessons learned in life take place outside of the classroom, and I believe that these lessons are hidden in more ways than one and in more places than one. We just need to start looking.

Biya Haq is a school of Arts and Science senior majoring in communications with a minor in digital communication, information and media. 

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