The world is a big place and when you graduate, it’ll get even bigger. I was able to travel to a completely new place this summer, and that opportunity opened my eyes to how big this country really is. Every college student should have the experience of going to a new place.

Grand Canyon and Other Stuff 743

Photo by Chelsie Bartley


I’ve always wanted to travel.

Whether it is abroad to a foreign country or an hour away down a secluded back road, I know that unknown roads lead to unfathomable adventures.

For as long as I can remember, I have loved the idea of packing a suitcase and driving wherever the wind would take me.

This summer my parents and I went on a pretty spontaneous adventure.

For about a year, my dad and I talked about driving out West to see the Grand Canyon.

We never set a date and the idea was more of a dream than a possibility.

But, a week or two into June, he said, “Let’s head west.”

And we did.

I will never forget that trip.

We rented a camper, packed up our belongings and our Yorkie and drove for what seemed like days.

The landscape changed from lush, green plains, to snowy mountain tops, to dry desert, and my eyes couldn’t move fast enough to take in everything I saw.

There was barely a moment when I wasn’t gawking out the window at all of the terrain I had never seen before.

I felt so tiny.

That’s when I realized, all college students should travel. This is such a pivotal time in our lives.

In college, we’re learning geology and social skills and who we want to be in the world, but I don’t think we can really learn any of that unless we put ourselves out there.

In just the six short days that I was gone on my trip I learned so much more than I would have if I had stayed home the entire summer.

I learned that if you look hard enough, you can almost always find someone from the Midwest no matter where you are.

I learned that food is different and equally delicious all over this country.

I learned that I want to travel and see things I’ve never seen before.

Traveling made me feel smaller, yet more in touch with the people around me.

When I got to the Grand Canyon, I was connected to thousands of other people who were there for the exact same thing.

My dad and I woke up at 4:45 one morning to watch the sunrise over the canyon and we got to watch it with a hundred other people all around us.

We got to share that moment with people we had never met and will never see again.

It was a moment I will never forget.

Traveling opens up new doors, makes you notice the people around you and gives you a little more insight into who you are.

So, even if you’re only traveling a few miles to a new place, take it in and enjoy the journey.

You will learn so much.

By Chelsie Bartley

Chelsie Bartley is the Creative Editor and a staff journalist for MBU Timeline. She majors in journalism. Chelsie is a student worker for the Office of Alumni Relations and is a Community Leader on campus. After graduation, she hopes to pursue a career in a non-profit doing events, marketing and design work. Apart from writing, she enjoys eating new foods, exploring St. Louis and being outdoors.