At my hotel in Bavaria during July 2006.

Maybe it was the fact that I was born outside the United States, but I've never been able to hang out there too long without getting the itch to travel abroad. I am fascinated by the fact that life can be so different based solely on the fact that it is taking place several hundred or thousand miles away, even in today's globalized society. Traveling has been the consistent passion in my life, and I am hoping journalism will serve as my passport to keep traveling once I graduate. So far, I've had the good fortune to travel to about 10 countries, including Germany, France, Austria, Belgium, Italy and Switzerland. Two of these trips took place over the summers of 2006 and 2007, and they have both been integral in shaping my college experience.

In July of 2006, I had the chance to go visit my brother, who lives in Germany. During that trip, I was able to visit Germany, France and Austria. For the first time in nearly 20 years, I was able to return to my hometown of Heidelberg, Germany. I was only 3 when I left, and it was a strange sensation to return. The vague familiarity I felt with many of the winding cobblestone streets and decadent old castles was fascinating. Apparently, I had retained more memories of the town than I was aware of. That was just one of the wonders I experienced on the trip. They are too numerous to list, but perhaps this picture of Bavaria can help give you an idea of a typical day during that trip.

I was lucky again in May 2007, when I was able to return to Paris for the second time in less than a year to take a writing class with UF professor Vikram Rangala. For a month, I was able to practice my craft in the city that seems to spew out literary legends on a daily basis, and it helped me develop my creative and journalistic writing. But there is only so much I can say about the joys of traveling. Most of it must be experience first hand. Basically, if you are one of those people who feel content to rest on your laurels at home, think twice. You won't regret it.