Savanah Leaf: The Traveler

I’m about half way into my spring semester and am feeling a little disappointed that I haven’t been able to keep up with the commitment of writing a blog post at least once a week. Being a student athlete I can’t always  do the things I would like to do. The ‘have to do’ takes priority, but I guess that is part of life; you think getting older will allow you more freedom to do the things you want to do, but unfortunately that ‘freedom’ is taken up with needs rather than desires. But now, I’ve finally found some time to write about one of my favorite topics: traveling.

I am currently sitting on a plane, reflecting on the things I’ve done this year and the conversations I’ve had with people that have made an impression. After a  casual discussion with the man next to me I was told, “You’re young and you don’t realize how difficult it is to travel when you get older. Do it now. I wish someone had told me that.” He looked about fifty years old and admitted that this was his first time visiting Las Vegas and traveling. I smiled, but thought to myself, Las Vegas? But he seemed happy and contented to get out of his home, Miami, and do something different and experience something beyond the ordinary. This is not the first time I’ve had random people talk to me about the importance of traveling while young. So I’ve made a promise to myself; take advantage of every opportunity to explore and travel. Growing up I have always been influenced by my Mum who takes sporadic mini-breaks and migrates across countries. At only a few years old I had traveled across England, and within Europe including Spain and Paris.  Even in the womb, my Mum carried me down to Bordeaux for a camping trip. When I was in kindergarten we moved to Australia for a while for my Mum to pursue a work opportunity and then after returning to London, we moved out to California some years later. But that wasn’t enough traveling. On weekends and at any stressful times we would take day trips to places across California, driving in our little blue Mitsubishi (seating no more than 4 people) with no air conditioning. Driving through Yosemite, Death Valley, down the coast to LA and back, through Napa , hiking on local mountains, visiting communities throughout the Bay Area, and more. By the time I grew tall enough for my head to hit the roof of the car,it was so old that the rain would come in through the sunroof, and I would have to wear a hood so that I wouldn’t get rained on inside the car. For the adventure and excitement I always valued these trips, and I will forever cherish the experiences of traveling however and whenever we could. Last week I visited my Mum and sister in California and went again to Yosemite on another road trip. The beautiful mountains reaching for the sky in every direction, and the steep hikes beside the plummeting cliffs left me in awe. The waterfalls flowing freely beside giant rocks allowed me to break away from my daily routine and enjoy the fresh air, relaxing noise of birds, and running water. This reminded me of the importance of taking a break, leaving a routine for a random adventure. Recently I have been presented with an opportunity to travel to the Galapagos in May for a three week trip between my off season and preseason of volleyball and I am extremely excited to experience the beauty South America has to offer. I am extremely grateful for these opportunities  to travel and experience the different cultures throughout the world, and I am eagerly anticipating how volleyball can allow me to pursue these dreams as well. I’ve found that traveling, whether they are day trips to local communities in nature or human populated cities or trips across the world, has been one of the most influential experiences in my growth; I have become accepting and understanding of different cultures, amazed and grateful for nature, and hungry to be a global citizen. I hope to journal my travels and encourage others to take advantage of any opportunity, great and small,  to get out of their community and experience something different to what they are used to. It has been one of the most invaluable ways for me to learn and grow.


Savanah Leaf

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