I usually never turn down the opportunity to travel, and so, even given the smallest of opportunities, you should explore what the world has to offer.

My desire to work for my first chance at travel shows how much I enjoy exploring the world’s wonders.

In 2010, my high school AP English teacher, Mr. Chad McAlister, told the class that he was scheduling a tour of Rome, Florence and Paris for the following year, and I could not let the opportunity slip away.

After school that day and for the next few weeks, I debated whether or not I should go, but there was one major problem: I had no means of paying for the trip, which amounted to more than $2,000 through EF Tours, and my parents could do little to help me earn the money to go. Fundraisers were out of the question, and so, I thought about the prospect of working somewhere in order to gain enough money.

Toward the end of the school year, I decided I desperately wanted to travel outside of the United States, and so, I applied to be a busboy at Outback Steakhouse in Gastonia, North Carolina, and was hired during the interview. I began my first day as a busboy on Mother’s Day, which is one of the busiest days of the year for the restaurant chain. I only worked a few hours, but I made a decent amount from shared tips. A few days later, I worked another long shift on my birthday. Yes, one week into my first real job, and I still decided to work on my 16th birthday.

I worked as a busboy and also as a takeout specialist for almost a full year before I earned enough money to pay for the trip in full and have extra money left for wants and desires while abroad. My English teacher continues to schedule an EF Tour for a class every year, and not too long ago, he said I was still the only student he has had who paid off their trip without major contributions from parents or other people.

I say that not to boast. I tell you this story to remind you that all of the work I did was completely worth it in order to travel abroad.

I have heard many people, including close friends, shy away from traveling abroad due to the cost and length of travel. Some people believe traveling to a new country for a week or less is not worth the money, but I am here to tell you that I spent my 16th birthday cleaning tables in order to travel to three cities across the Atlantic Ocean for 8 days in total, and it was one of the greatest experiences of my life. If you think traveling across the world for approximately a week is not worth the money, time or effort, I am here to tell you otherwise.

If you have the urge to travel, do it. The experiences you have and the people you meet and interact with will only develop you in a positive manner. You may never have the opportunity again, so enjoy the wonderful places this Earth has to offer.

What makes traveling so much fun? Which country did you visit first? Share your comments below.


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