What Traveling Taught Me

I consider myself to be a very lucky person because at the age of 14, I have been to over 14 countries. Since the time I was very young, my parents have been taking me all around the world. Growing up my parents didn’t travel internationally as much as I did. My dad was an army kid who grew up all over the country. On the other hand my mom stayed in one city practically her whole life. Their shared love and curiosity for travel and seeing the whole world led to me getting to experience all sorts of fascinating places. 

Travelling helped me see all sorts of amazing places. My earliest travel memory is going to Thailand. It was a great holiday, the first of many. That trip exposed me to a different culture, different food and different people. Even though I was too young to notice the change around me, it did help me normalise the fact that there is a big and diverse world around me. Since that trip, my parents and I have travelled to a lot of different places. We were super crazy about these trips. We would spend weeks and weeks planning out where we should go and what we should do there. After we would reach our holiday destination, we would spend the trip seeing all the attractions, eating the food and meeting the locals. My favorite trip of all had to be the time we went to Greece. The trip was memorable to me because it was a trip I had always wanted to make. After my phase of being hooked to Greek history and mythology, going and seeing places like the Parthenon and temple of Poseidon made my inner mytholgy nerd burst with happiness. 

Travelling has opened my knowledge about the world around me. When my parents and I went to Vietnam, I hadn’t known much about the country. My trip taught me a lot of the country’s rich culture. We learnt more about the Vietnam war and visited all the different war museums. One museum exhibit showed a couple of American planes that had crashed into that exact spot and had been left there as a souvenir of war. Even my travels within my country taught me a lot. When I went to the city of Agra, India during a school trip, I was taught more about the Mughal dynasty of India and the fascinating and tragic tale of the king Shah Jahan who built the Taj mahal in honour of his late wife. Even when I visited the city of London or Paris, I got to see gain an understanding of European history. The best part about getting to travel and learn about new places is that you get to see these places in front of your eyes. Whether it be castles or the ruins of a lost city, or a giant monument or a street named to honour a famous resident. Travelling helps you learn from the best source, the place itself. 

Travelling helped me become a better global citizen. I will not be ashamed to admit that where I grew up, people were not always as aware of the world around me as I was. Even living in a big city in India was practically nothing compared to big cities in America. Here, the people my age who I have met are much more aware and generally more comfortable with people who are different than them. When I was growing up, change wasn’t as welcomed as it is now. Whenever we would encounter someone even remotely different, we would immediately start to worry, or we would just be confused. I’m not saying that it as our fault. I grew up in a city that wasn’t as diverse as American cities. Travelling however changed that for me. Travelling taught me many simple etiquettes that people would appreciate coming from a foreigner. Basic courtesies like not cutting the line or speaking slowly while talking to people who may not understand your language or accent. Sometimes I had to learn by experience. Nothing can be more humiliating than making a mistake and having a dozen people look at you like you committed a great sin. Travelling helps you also understand that some people prefer that you don’t do a certain thing and one must accept that.

Lastly travelling gave me the best experiences. As a writer, I always loved going on vacation because I knew that the trip may give me a couple of fun adventures and stories for me to use and write about. My travels would almost always have one or two crazy adventure or mishaps that I would immediately go home and write about. How else would I have been able to be stuck on a small boat in a rural part of Thailand, in the rain and in the middle of the night if it wasn’t for my parents love for booking the oddest places for us to stay? Or how else would I have been able to see practically the whole of Singapore if we hadn’t walked 10 miles to our hotel after our dinner? Travelling really brings out your inner adventurous side, whether its pure luck or the nature of your circumstances. I can always look back to my trips around the world if I ever need something to write about and it almost always makes a very entertaining story!

In conclusion, travelling gives so much more than photographs and a couple of memories. Travelling can enrich and change your life in the best way possible. It helps you in so many ways, ways that you may not even know. Even going to visit some attractions in your hometown or places around you. You can really be surprised with what all you may discover. You may find out that your city was a big part of the civil war or it was a hometown to a famous painter! I really believe that every place on the earth has something cool or travel worthy about it. The world is a vast and diverse place. So why spend your time learning about different places on paper when you should take every opportunity you get to see the world.

Each of these trips have given me so many lessons, memories and adventures. I encourage everyone to try and explore the world as best as they can. You will be surprised to find out what you will end up seeing. 

Moving to America

About a year ago I landed in the state of Kentucky, USA. My mom had been transferred and that meant that the three of us had to pack up our bags, say our goodbyes, lock up our house and move to the US. This past year has been one of the most challenging but exciting years of my life. So if you want to read about my adventures in the land of the free, read on!

My parents had been thinking of moving out of India for a long time. We had considered Canada and my dad had got an offer to move to Singapore from his company. So in the back of my mind I knew that I was going to be moving somewhere, within the next year or so. It was sometime in January, at night when my mom got a call from her boss. He told her about the job offer in America, which would be a huge promotion but also meant she would have to move to Lexington KY, the corporate headquarters of their company. She then told my dad who told me. I would love to say that I took the news well, but I didn’t. I bawled my eyes out at the mere thought of leaving my friends, school and comfortable life to move to this foreign place. Thankfully after I calmed down, I came to my senses and realized what an amazing opportunity this was.

The next six months were probably the weirdest months of that year. I was still kind of in denial that I was going to be moving COUNTRIES in less than a year. I didn’t really put much thought into my position, and I believed “ I don’t have to worry about moving for AGES.” We mainly spent all this time waiting for our visa to get approved and preparing everything and everyone for the move. I also tried spending my last few months in my home spending time with my friends and people who I would be leaving behind there. My friends were also very sweet to me and we spent a lot of time together. Finally on August 6th, my parents and I went in for our visa interview and WE GOT APPROVED

The next few days or rather weeks was a huge world wind. We had to pack up or house, my parents had to fly down to Lexington to get a house and utilities and enrol me into school. The week they were there, I would call them everyday and hear them describing the city and my house and my school. I would see the pictures they would send me and when I think about it now, the pictures gave me an illusion very different from what it was. Life in India became pretty different too. We had to say a lot of goodbyes and host many farewell parties.  The last week I was in school happened to be our examination week. Unfortunately I did have to take the tests, but I didn’t stress about it like my other friends. Hello? I would be living and studying in AMERICA in the next week. I wasn’t worried about whether I passed the Biology test or not.

(Just kidding I did put in a lot of effort into these tests despite everything that was on my mind. Remember to study kids!)

The last day of school was bittersweet for me. We had our language exam that day, so everyone was too busy studying to throw a “Goodbye Zoya!” party for me. I wasn’t complaining. I had thrown a small get-together for my closest friends a couple of days before and they were all the best. The last bell of the day rang, and I left my school, where I spent 10 years of my life, after saying the tearful and hugs-filled goodbyes to my best friends and teachers.

My last day living in India came much sooner than I had expected. Our house was completely empty, baring our suitcases and some furniture we were going to leave behind. Our flight was taking off in the night, so that gave us only a day to bid farewell to our familiar home and friends. The hardest part for me was leaving my nanny. She had been with me for nearly 12 years and unfortunately, she would be leaving us to go back to her home. I knew, in the back of my mind, that I would not be seeing her for a very, very long time.  I was unhappy, obviously, about leaving and it did make me cry one and many times. But the thought of living in the US, a place I have always wanted to go and the thought of adventure that was in store for me entirely outweighed the bad parts.

My Greek Holiday: Athens

I recently went to the country Greece for my summer holidays. I have always wanted to visit Greece after reading about it and devouring Greek mythology. I visited Athens and Santorini, two of the most popular place to go to in Greece, I would be happy to share my adventure with you!!
My trip started of when I landed in Athens at midnight. I was too excited to be asleep and my parents and grandmother were quite annoyed with my constant chatter. But our host was amused at my interest in greek history. I was delighted to see that our hotel was quite near the main city tourist spots. It was a wonderful location.
The next day we visited the main square of Athens Monasthiraki square. We, my parents,my grandmother , our host, Mr. Lampros and me, had a walking tour of the area near our home. We saw the roman market, ancient agora, the parliament house, the place where the great Socrates gave his speeches and many more places. It was amazing. I met my aunt who had come from USA and we went home.
The next day we went to the ancient temple of Apollo. The name is the temple of Apollo or the oracle of Delphi. Some quick history…he oracle of Delphi was the place where the god who could see the future, Apollo, would send his predictions down to earth and the person who received the messages, the priest, would then pass the prediction on to the mortals waiting to hear!
There was a lot of climbing after we finished the tour of the Delphi museum. The ancient Greeks built there temples way up hill. The same thing for the Parthenon which we were going to visit the next day. But in the end it was worth every bit of it. The view of the oracle was stunning and made me very happy. After a few (..thousand!) images me and my family were back in Athens to rest after this long journey.
You just cannot visit Athens without seeing the acropolis!! It is like going to Paris and not seeing the Eiffel tower. That is what me and my family were going to do today! We headed off to the acropolis centre at around breakfast. After a quick bite at a local café, we ready to climb the acropolis hill. And as I mentioned earlier, there was a LOT OF CLIMBING!!! Me and my dad sprinted ahead and my mom and aunt were a couple of steps away. My grandma decided to stay back and watch us climb. Around an hour later me and my dad reached the top of the acropolis hill where the acropolis,
The Parthenon and main temple of Athena was situated. This was the best thing I had ever seen and all the climbing was quite worth it. I was thrilled at the sight of the beautiful remains of the ancient greek temples, I felt so happy and in a way satisfied because I knew that all the preparation and reading I had been doing on this acropolis was all true. The way back down was easy and all of us were very cheerful and decided to do some shopping in the acropolis museum. I bought a beautiful headband that looked exactly like a wreathe. We caught up with my grandma who had already started going through the museum and saw all the artefacts and extravaganza that the acropolis museum had for us. We all headed back after the museum to the hotel rest after this truly amazing day!!!