If you are given an opportunity to take yourself out of your comfort zone, try something new, and meet new people while doing so, you are so very lucky. That is exactly what I learned these past 6 days, as I got the opportunity to travel with my company to our annual SYTA (Student Youth Travel Association) conference in Orlando.
The 1200 different vendors and companies at this conference put so much time and effort into their passion for student traveling, it has had a huge impact on several young adults lives, something I never put too much thought into before this trip.
The effect that this program, and of traveling in general, has on students across the world is so amazingly incredible, I still get emotional thinking about the lives that have changed because of it, several that I luckily got to witness firsthand this weekend. I spent one day at lunch bawling like a baby as we listened to 4 brave students with difficult backgrounds tell us how much has changed since this program helped send them to Washington D.C, giving many of them experiences they would have never had before, in a place they had never seen before.
Not only that, but my life was changed as well. I met so many new people, stepped outside of my box, and became an independent, experienced, passionate traveler. I know this may sound deep for just a conference trip to Orlando, Florida, but the process of travelling in itself has opened my eyes to so much more than I felt even just a week ago, and I got to experience more than I would have thought in a lifetime, from my first plane ride to my first heartbreakingly beautiful Broadway performance experience.
Thank God for travel, am I right?
Here are a select few photos I think describe the experience very well.