You Need to Travel

You Need to Travel

Lucy Bailey, Associate Editor

When was the last time you traveled ? Did you wake up, semi-delirious, not quite sure of what’s outside your window? You get out of bed (or cot, or mattress, or couch) and the day is already an adventure. Just knowing you’re miles away from what you’d call “home”- from the people you’re familiar with and the places you’re used to- makes your heart pump a little more audibly. When was the last time you were anonymous?

Traveling is a gift; an opportunity. Seize the day whenever it arrives, and you can depart from America. The world is so big, so diverse, and so worth exploring. Where would you go if you had the chance? Rainforest.. desert.. Would you escape to Africa or Antarctica? Even if it’s a 40-minute train ride to wonderful NYC, any trip is an experience – an encounter with new people , new scenarios.. new surprises. But what rules over your emotions when it comes to traveling? Elation or fear ?

Steph Pissi, a WHS junior, journeys to Spain every summer. “Preparation is key,” she says. She has to pack for two weeks which can be tricky. The plane ride is woefully long.. and jetlag is not a good friend. But finally in Espana, the day is “laid-back” and starts later than usual. “The fashion is weird- too much pink and tight.” When it’s time to go, Pissi likes the comfort of home, the familiarity-and sleep!

Junior Gina Ciappina went to Aruba with her friends this past summer. There wasn’t room for fear on the plane- she was way too excited. “I like the change of scenery and get excited more than ever to be going somewhere beautiful.”

So many of our teachers have traveled.

Ms. McPartlan was lucky enough to visit the Forbidden Kingdom in Beijing, China through a teacher’s scholarship program. It was her first big trip. And as an art teacher, she was astounded by visuals of the country’s diverse, dazzling culture. Mrs. Romano traveled to Japan on a Fulbright Scholarship.

Ms. Fugazzi has been all over the world- 41 countries to be precise. Fugazzi lived in Africa in a tent for 8 weeks. She encountered victims of the Rwanda genocide; thousands of refugees fleeing their country. She saw perishing AIDS victims. It was an unforgettable venture. She believes the time to go is now, especially us Americans who need to get out of our box. “Seeing the world through social media doesn’t cut it. Walking away with an experience is what matters most.” Ms. Fugazzi loves the new: foods, people, music, climates.. But her favorite part is the search for a new destination.

Mr. Kravitz, an English teacher and the adviser to this newspaper, is also a world traveler. He’s explored South America, Africa, numerous parts of Asia and Europe as well. “I have no fear of planes. I love planes. I am claustrophobic though about elevators and caves …”

I asked Mr. Kravitz what it’s like the moment after the lengthy plane ride. “I love when I arrive. It’s so exhilarating to be dropped into an exotic place and experience culture shock.” So what was Kravitz’s most un-Wantagh-like experience? “Definitely one of the places I’ve been to that caused the most culture shock was India. Seeing huge cows walking all over the place, eating garbage, the unique smells, thousands of laborers sleeping in a dusty traffic circle, the Himalayas soaring out of the hot dusty planes, Srinagar, Kashmir, the magical city of houseboats on top of the world – India was incredible. Though one of the best things about traveling somewhere that far away and that exotic, is returning home.”

From a young age, I have been fortunate enough to see the world beyond Wantagh’s limits. My yoga-teaching mom and adventurous father have dragged me all over the country, and to foreign countries like Mexico, Barbados, and the most extreme- India. What I can say is there were no 7-11s or King Kullens in India. Menacing, bearded men holding creepy knives sold fresh papaya and coconut water. Women in vibrant saris would stare, dazed- I didn’t quite fit in. But overall, everyone was kind. Life was simple.

I’ve walked away from these experiences, gaining valuable wisdom that will stay with me forever . Now, I’m addicted to wanderlust and will spend the rest of my life anticipating the next voyage.