#TravelBuddies

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Guest Writer Leah Rizzo, middays on Eagle 97.7

If you’ve ever breathed in the whisper of adventure and exhaled doubt then you’re ready to go. I was born in Wilmington, Delaware. I went to the same school for the entire duration of my education, until college where I attended the University of Delaware. Growing up, I never moved. Not once. I could lose my vision today and find my way around my parents’ house without missing a step. Except the third step when you first walk in the side door, I miss that one with eyes that are fully functional. My summer vacations consisted of daytrips to Washington D.C., Philly and of course a week in Rehoboth or Dewey, as any good resident of the First State spends their time off. I hadn’t boarded an airplane until I was twenty. In a few less words; my world was small. My world was Delaware. I’ve read that your twenties is the time to travel, so I’m heeding the word of cliché bloggers and wandering hipsters and I’m buying plane tickets. And guess what? They’re right.

While I wasn’t born with a phone in my hand the internet has been heavily featured in my life as a movie critic, a doctor, and now a travel agent. Back in October of 2016 I had been aimlessly scrolling through Facebook, as one does, and I kept seeing advertisements for a travel and tour company called EF College Break (Now EF Ultimate Break). At first I thought it was just spam or click-bait, but my curiosity was peaked and after about an hour on Google I found nothing but positive and inspiring reviews from people who had booked their trips through EF. After a lifetime of yearning for an adventure and about a decade of savings made up of various babysitting checks, odd jobs, and part-time pay I decided to book a trip. By myself for myself. So go ahead, use social media for good and book a trip.

My trip wasn’t until September of 2017, but I was already fantasizing about Scotland, England, and Ireland and I had to somehow bide my time for a year. I was excited even though I didn’t know anybody else that was going. Perhaps that’s why I was especially excited. I hadn’t made many new friends in my adult life, since most of my friends I’ve known since I was five I was excited to meet new and I was ecstatic to get out of the second smallest state. I had no idea a handful of those people were going to become my “Travel Buddies.”

“Travel Buddies” was previously a term that I had only seen as hashtags under pictures of various friend groups having visually stunning adventures all over Instagram next to map and airplane emojis. #FriendshipGoals! It didn’t take long for me to meet these goals myself and I suspect it won’t take you long either. While drinking, eating, dancing, and touring in beautiful cities together I found my people. I’ve never had an older sister, but I felt an immediate kinship with these other independent women who were courageous and adventurous and fun.

My trip was only about two weeks and I would go back to any one of the incredible places I saw, especially Scotland, tomorrow. But as soon as our planes touched down and we all returned to our respective hometowns we were back in Facebook messenger planning our next trip which, coincidently I just got back from last week. At one point during what became a road trip down the east coast, it dawned on us. A girl from Wilmington DE, a girl from Scranton PA, and a girl from Kansas City Missouri who met in the U.K. were now kayaking in Orlando before meeting a friend from New Orleans were all smiling, laughing, and fighting the elements so each one of us could get that perfectly lit and adequately adventurous photo op. We have only known each other for a total of about twenty days, but it feels like it’s been a lifetime. So if you’re on the fence about taking a trip, be it across the pond or across the country take it. Even if none of your friends or family don’t want to go with you. Get off the fence and go. Meet some #TravelBuddies of your own.