"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do."
For me, this is travel. As a soon-to-be junior at Wake Forest University, constantly bogged down by the pressures that come with college, the opportunity to travel is something that I could never turn down. I've been lucky enough to grow up in a family that makes travel a high priority (active travel in particular), but it wasn't until recently that I began to fully understand why I appreciate travel so much.
Having taken several Backroads trips throughout my life, I've seen the ways the trips have changed and grown over the years. Lucky for me, the most recent addition are Trips for Families with Older Teens and 20-Somethings, which are designed for families with college-aged kids (and their teen or twenty-something siblings). These trips cater directly to my age group and our parents, giving us the opportunity to experience active adventure and cultural engagement in ways we'll all enjoy. Not to mention being on a college budget makes the opportunity for a "free" trip with my entire family all the more appealing!
So what makes these trips for families with older teens and 20-somethings unique? In order to explain what's so special about these trips, I've compiled a list of things that appeal to me, a nineteen-year-old college student.
1. A WELCOME ESCAPE: Don't get me wrong, college is a blast and I certainly don't want my four years to end, but the opportunity to escape the college bubble every once in a while is much appreciated. It's easy to get caught up in the happenings of college life and forget about the world around me, and taking advantage of the chance to experience new cultures and countries is a great reminder that there's a lot more out there than what I see in my day-to-day routine in Winston Salem, North Carolina.
2. FLEXIBLE ACTIVITIES: Whether I'm interested in experiencing night life, live music or a local café, the leaders on these trips make it happen. Not only do the leaders cater to me, but also to my parents in order to make the trip as enjoyable as possible for each member of the family (not an easy task).
3. HEALTHY LIVING: Greasy cafeteria pizza, late-night college food and lounging on the couch all day watching reruns of Modern Family can get old fast. A week of good clean food (lots of it) and challenging exercise in a beautiful and foreign area of the world is a breath of fresh air. And if you've taken a Backroads trip before, you know there's no shortage of either of these two things.
4. GATEWAY CITIES: One of the best parts of these trips, in my opinion, is the opportunity to explore gateway cities. They intentionally use cities great for young people--like Amsterdam, Prague, Cape Town--as jumping off points, which gives my family a chance to explore captivating cities before and/or after our trip.
5. CATERING TO MY CALENDAR: One of the most challenging parts about traveling with my family at this age is figuring out a time that works for everyone. With busy schedules, final exams and summer internships, it's hard to find a good time of the year to take a trip that works with their schedules and mine. What's great about these trips for families with older kids is that they're planned specifically to fit into college schedules, with departure dates at the end of May, beginning of June, and the third week in December to avoid overlapping with summer internships and Holiday plans.
I know how lucky I am to have the opportunity to travel, and I'm incredibly grateful for the experiences I've had on these trips. Although my schedule is busy and family time is hard to come by, I make the time for Backroads trips because not only are they fun for my whole family, but 20 years from now I know I'll be disappointed with myself if I don't.