To travel or not to travel – the benefits and consequences of growing up traveling the world

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By Sarah Sunday

To be able to travel and see the world is widely perceived as a fortunate, fabulous experience for the privileged few and one that many never have the chance to encounter, while others grow up traveling the world like it’s second nature. Although growing up in various places around the world might seem luxurious, many may not realize that there are both benefits and consequences intertwined in the lifestyle.

When asked about my childhood and the location in which that period of my life took place, I am often inclined to go into depth about how there was never one, or even two or three, single places where I grew up. I mostly prefer not to say outright to others that I moved every three years until I was sixteen, mostly for the reason that it was not always quite as glamorous as it sounds. As the daughter of a helicopter pilot in the US Air Force, and as an honorary military brat, I grew up learning how to pack up, say goodbye to friends and move along to the next place; however, as a shy child, settling into a new school and making a new group of friends was something that never got easier for me until my late teens.

One of the major cons of traveling the world, and a reason I have always been jealous of “home-stayers”, those who lived their entire lives in one place, is because of the bonds and connections that have been tied to their home throughout the years. Home-stayers have developed friendships since early childhood and often live near close relatives and family as well. A sense of community and neighborhood loyalty is instilled early, along with a keen sense of belonging. This is especially prevalent in smaller towns in the United States, and I have often admired those who speak of their hometowns with breezy sentimentality. There is much to be taken from the holidays surrounded by family, the years of high school with friends from kindergarten and having that one place to always come back to, to forever call home.

Although, I have been envious of home-stayers, I have never once in my life wished to have been one; I wouldn’t trade my travels for anything. St. Augustine of Hippo famously said, “The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.”

Traveling is an eye-opening experience that shapes a person in an exceptionally international and multicultural way. There is an open-mindedness that comes with growing up around the world; being open to trying new things and seeing new places. Growing up, I have witnessed absolutely amazing sights and have met incredibly wonderful people; experiences that have influenced and inspired me and that will always stay with me.

I know without a doubt that even if I had not grown up traveling, I would have had the desire to tour the world; however, I am fortunate enough to have a head start on my journey. Although there are times I think about having that set ‘home, sweet home’, I think more often about the beautiful, wondrous places I have been, and even more, the places I have yet to go, and the things I have yet to learn and experience.