By Brandon Ellis

Surely, everyone has a mental list of their “first times“.

It could be that you remember the first time feeling a certain way, when you saw your first concert, or the first time your mind was blown by something completely unexpected. All of us have undoubtedly experienced things that seem to stick with us — and for those that had left a greater impression, you will lock them away in your mind to reflect back on down the road. These memories will not leave you. You may find a memory being uncontrollably triggered by any number of innocuous activities. And so, every now and then, the experiences we have are so profound that we find ourselves compelled to let them guide us.

Here’s what stuck with me:

A few years ago as I was sitting in class, my professor (who I’ve now traveled across the globe with a handful of times) threw out the plug that he would be leading an international trip to Hong Kong during the upcoming summer. While most kids probably brushed this off quickly as an unrealistic pipe-dream or a “lame educational field trip”, the notion kept popping up in my mind. Could I actually go on a trip to the other side of the world? The idea of this had never really entered my thoughts as anything other than a fleeting fantasy. Is it worth the price? Would I even be able to handle something like this?

It’s obviously very easy to get carried away with these lofty questions.

In one swift decision, I decided to consciously drop the questions. I was going. And so rather than spending my time trifling with the idea, I began to look at the steps necessary to make it happen. I would remind myself everyday, as if reciting a mantra, that it was happening. And luckily for me, I was encouraged to pursue it further. In a few weeks, I had diligently brought the opportunity into fruition.

This is certainly not to say that that I do not recognize the role that my parents played! Without their support, many of the unique experiences I’ve taken on would have never materialized; instead, they would have fallen flat in a muddled defeat.

With that being said, I truly do believe in the corny saying, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” The questions I had asked myself before committing to the trip are certainly very common — we are all skittish of the unknown! The challenge I set for you is to break through the mental boundaries we place on ourselves — because this will ultimately lead to the most satisfying “first times”…

The following articles will be an exercise in reflection — to both allow me a space to reminisce, and shed some light on the phenomena involved in travel.

One thought on “An Exercise in Reflection: My Introduction to World Travel

  1. You are fortunate to be so young and to have already learned of the human capacity to manifest desired outcomes. Your can-do attitude, spirit of adventure and open mind will allow you to journey with wide eyes and wonder through a myriad of “first times.” I’ll be along for the ride.


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