Cultural Experience | California

My Love Affair with Travel

YOUR 20s ARE THE PERFECT TIME TO GET STARTED ON YOUR TOUR OF THE WORLD

By Diana Odero

I hear the correct term is Dromomania: an uncontrollable psychological urge to travel. I really can’t tell when it started actually. I wasn’t as obsessed with seeing the world before in my younger years as I am now and I think that’s due to the fact that I have a serious attachment to my home and my family. But when my family started travelling WITH me, everything changed… So I guess I should thank the parentals now; Thanks Mum and Dad. Even though they are not quite pleased about my constant travelling bug now.

When I was younger my family would take vacations every Easter and every Christmas holiday. Don’t really understand why that tradition has since then stopped but I digress. We would travel within the country though I didn’t get to fly across the Atlantic till I was about 13 years old. As you all know, I am from Kenya and Kenya is one beautiful, beautiful country. Despite having lived there all my life, I always am in awe every time I leave the city to explore other areas outside the capital, Nairobi. We would travel to the coast, to the game reserves in the Maasai mara and to the village where my grandparents lived.

These trips exposed me early enough to 3 different lifestyles i.e. the chill beach life by the coast, the adventurous safari life in the Mara and the serene life in the countryside of the villages. I love the beach life, live for the adventure life and absolutely hate countryside living. After a couple years of these same trips, I started getting curious. Where else can I go explore, experience, love or hate? And thus began the start of my insatiable appetite for new places, new people, new adventures… and also my love/hate relationship with embassies, the TSA and airports in general.

I’ve compiled a list of some of my favorite trips and a little summary of my time there; it may entice you guys to pay a visit to these places sometime.

California

student travel california image

Out of the hundreds of pictures I have of my time in California, I think this one best summarizes my time there; Sun, sand and school, in that order. This is the place I spent the longest time in and all I can say is California is wonderful. So many amazing cities within it but I only got to experience a few since most of my time was spent in school. I lived in Orange County, but spent a lot of free time in Santa Monica and Hollywood. San Diego and Irvine are great tourist spots as well and Newport and Laguna have great beaches if you want to get away from the packed beaches like Venice and Santa Monica Beach. I got into a lot of hiking as well and trips to art museums as well. The Getty and the MOCA- a must see!  LAX however has got to be the most annoying airport ever! Crazy lines all the time, and their customs procress sucks! Best day to fly in and out of there… midweek, mid morning, or late night. Any other time, don’t even try it.

Florida

student travel florida image

This picture summarizes my take on Florida as a whole; HARRY POTTER. I am a die-hard potterhead and getting to experience Harry Potter world in Universal Studios Orlando was the cherry on top of my trip. I’ve been to Florida I think 5 times now and been to universal studios thrice out of the 5 trips. I have no complaints about Florida; great weather and always a great time. Love Miami, love South Beach, and I especially love Orlando.

Side bar: Make sure you have a car while you’re out there. You’ll basically hate every minute of it if you don’t.

South Africa

south aftica soccer world series image

south aftica soccer world series image

Summer of 2010. World cup season. South Africa. Best summer yet. Despite the freezing cold, South Africa was still a blast and the world cup games, incredible. Brazil, I’m coming for you next year! I’ve been there through all their seasons, summer, spring & winter… and I have to say summer is the best time to visit this beautiful land.

For anyone wanting to visit Africa, I suggest South Africa be on your list, right after Kenya off course Jo’burg to be specific is a budding metropolis of a city with great people, amazing food and a lot of history to take in.  I hear Cape Town is also the best of its kind so that trip will have to be done at some point.

Read more about other students travels to South Africa here.

 Vegas

las vegas student travel image

A trip to Vegas is tradition for any American college student, and the same goes for International students as well. Except for me, it was for a whole different reason-Rugby. Anyone who’s Kenyan or a rugby fanatic knows that the Rugby 7s circuit has its US leg of the tournament in Vegas at the beginning of every year.  And every year since my freshman year, a 3-day road trip with my friends has always been planned for Vegas.

Sincity is kind of like New York but on a higher level; New York is the city that never sleeps, Vegas is the city that never stops partying. 3 days out of an entire year of rugby, friends, and the Vegas strip, is enough to keep you going back every year. Try experiencing Vegas during rugby season, you won’t regret it.

 New York

student travel NYC image

My heart, my love, my New York! Hands down the best state in America in my opinion. From the people, to the fashion, to the food, to the adventures on literally every single subway ride you take… everyday is something to talk about in that city. Not forgetting the breathtaking views that you will never tire of, the magic that engulfs it during Christmas, and its fun-filled summer season. New York has been my best venture yet and waiting to see if any other city tops it.

Sidebar: If you want to really tour Times Square, do it on a Sunday evening. The human traffic there on every other day is worse than its actual road traffic, never ending!

Puerto Rico

puerto rico student travel image

And last but definitely not least is beautiful San Juan, Puerto Rico. If you are looking for a very relaxing vacation say for Spring break or just whenever… Puerto Rico is the place to be. It was never a plan to actually go there but my roommate and I stumbled upon some awesome vacation package deals online and we couldn’t pass at the chance. Puerto Rico is so welcoming, warm and relaxing. I’d never be able to work if I lived there, the chill atmosphere would be too chill for me. But vacation wise-perfect. The beach, the lively locals, superb food… I’m sure you can tell by now how much of a foodie I am.  And it’s so colorful, just like Miami, giving the city that happy, fun ambience.

Think I’ll stop here before I write an entire book on travel spots! My goal is to travel the entire world by the time I’m 40 so really working hard to make that happen. Hoping my editorial work can land me something that will have travel as a requirement, that way I can get a head start on accomplishing my ‘travel the world by 40’ goal. I find travelling a method of learning, a different kind of knowledge outlet. By the things you see, hear and taste, the people you interact with on every trip, the challenges you face travelling and the achievements you make with each trip… definitely worth every 2hr, 5hr, or even 16hr flight time.

Your 20s are the perfect time to get started on your tour of the world. Semesters abroad, travel courses abroad, internships abroad, or across the country, relocation for your job and even the family vacations, the random road trips with your friends… all opportunities to experience different cultures and appreciate the world for the beautiful place that it is. My next mission is to take on Europe so I’m working on getting into grad school there. It will be a nice change of scenery and yet another new adventure! I think I sound a tad bit obsessed now.

I dedicate this post to my friend and fellow travel enthusiast Cathryn Karanja, who is currently working in India now. Hopefully we shall meet again amongst our many layovers and customs queues!

Diana Odero

Chapman University | 19 stories

Diana is a recent graduate of Chapman University having studied Graphic Design & Sociology. She is an international student from Kenya and is currently working in Atlanta. She is an adventurous person who views the world with an artistic eye. She loves to travel, to read & write, design, cook and meet new people. In addition to writing for The College Tourist she is also working on building her brand as a freelance designer and lifestyle writer. Check out Diana's blog http://www.wrytersden.blogspot.com .


2 responses to “My Love Affair with Travel”

  1. Cathy Karanja says:

    This was so amazing to read and I didn’t realise you’d been to such lovely places! Such a good read D.od and lets deal with a consulate or two (God I loath them!) together!

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