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Photo by Catherine Von Holt, Nepal Semester.

Intro and Response to “Why We Travel”

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Hi everyone!

My name is Nina, and I can’t wait to meet all of you and head to Nepal in less than two weeks! I am from New York City and just graduated high school this past spring. I decided to take a gap year before starting school next fall. This summer I have been working on an organic maple syrup farm in Vermont, and spending a lot of time preparing/getting excited about this trip. I also just thought I’d mention that I bought Ethics for the New Millennium by the Dalai Lama from our suggested reading list and will be bringing it to Nepal, just in case anyone else was considering buying it.

While reading the essay Why We Travel, one quote in particular stuck out to me. Pico Iyer says that “‘what gives value to travel is fear’ – disruption, in other words (or emancipation) from circumstances, and all the habits behind which we hide.” To me this quote perfectly summed up the “emancipation” or exhilaration that I felt when I decided to break away from the path expected of me to take a gap year and come to Nepal. It sums up the exhilaration, as well as the fear that I still feel as I watch all my friends fill large trunks with clothes, books, and other supplies for college while I pack a single backpack for the fall. The quote, and the entire essay made me realize how valuable it is that I will not be able to “hide behind my habits” this fall but will instead be routinely challenged and uprooted from what I know.

See you all next friday, I’m SO excited!