This month we asked some ladies about their favorite travel destinations and what advice they would give to fellow travelers. See what Amy and Emma had to say!
Where is your favorite place you've ever traveled to?
Amy | My favorite places to travel are Hawaii and the Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.
Emma | My favorite place I've ever traveled to is "hands down" Santa Barbara, CA. Especially, since it turned out to be my first home away from home. After finishing high school in Sweden I was unsure about what I wanted to do for college, but knew that whatever it was it included the US (mostly, I was inspired to go because of TV shows such as the OC and Beverly hills 90210, they all made America look like such a happy and palm tree filled place). At the time that I started thinking about living abroad my best friend, Anna, had already been in CA for a year and couldn't stop talking about how much I would love it there (again, the palm trees were discussed). So, after having spent many weeks convincing my parents that moving across the world was a good idea, that the Swedish government offered scholarships to cover tuition, and that I wouldn't end up getting any tattoos and piercings (the latter being promises I broke within two months of my stay--sorry mom and dad) I went.
I can still remember my first bus ride from LAX to Santa Barbara, my bag didn't fit down below with the other luggage so the driver had placed it in the seat next to me. I felt like I had when as a young kid my grandparents would pack me into the backseat of their old Nissan car and surrounded by bags of clothes and board games we would take off on our yearly road trip--that is, as a canned sardine. I couldn't wait to get there already. Never having been to Santa Barbara before I didn't know what to expect: would my apartment be close enough to campus that I could walk to class (it seemed like it on google maps)? What would my roommates be like? Would they like me? As I nervously went over a million different questions in my head I stopped thinking about the bus ride itself. And it was then, somewhere between Carpinteria and Ventura, that we drove through that stretch of highway where the ocean becomes visible right next to you on the left...I had never seen something so beautiful in my whole life! The blue water on the one side of the silver colored road and the burnt-orange mountains on the other. I think it was in that moment that I knew that no matter what, Santa Barbara would be my new favorite place in the world. It still is.
Where would you most like to travel to?
Amy | I would love to travel to Utah to see Zion National Park and Arches National Park
Emma | If possible I would want my next trip to be to Reykjavik, Iceland. Even though I was born and raised in Sweden, I've never paid a visit to "the neighbor in the north," something that definitely needs to change. Also, after one of my American friends went there recently I feel even more inspired to go. From the way she described the country: its wild terrain and beautiful vistas, I know that I would love it there. For example, they recently built a new concert hall in Reykjavik (http://en.harpa.is/) and it is supposed to be one of those architectural wonders that people talk about. It is definitely on my bucket list of things to do before I finish graduate school (search for the Harpa concert hall on google and look at some of the pictures, gorgeous right!?).
What is one piece of advice that you would give to new travelers?
Amy | Traveling always sounds like a lot more work than it actually is. Set a date, book a flight, and GO! Life is short and the world is huge; so take advantage of it and go explore!
Emma | My jazz history professor at CSULB once told me that if there is one genre of music that you think you don't like, give it a chance and spend some time exploring it! You never know what you might be missing out on. I tend to think about travel in the same way. If there is a country you believe you wouldn't like because it seems so different from where you are from, just go! Try it out and don't be afraid of engaging with the people who live there. Doing so will make for a more exciting experience and you will be a stronger and more independent person for having done so. Happy travels! :)