Traveling thousands of miles out of my comfort zone

A student details how a desire to travel more manifested in a New Year’s resolution.

Nicole Hwang

This year, my New Year’s resolution isn’t going to the gym or starting a new diet — it’s to embark outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 

My current roommate studied abroad in Spain last spring. My best friend went to Germany to visit family over the summer last year. And my future roommate is studying abroad in London this spring. 

Meanwhile, I haven’t flown in a plane since my senior year of high school. Seeing the pictures of my friends having the time of their lives and hearing stories about their excursions,  I promised myself 2020 would be the year that I expand my horizons.

I’ve never booked a plane ticket or gone to the airport by myself until now. So I finally worked up the courage and saved enough money to plan my own trips.

One of my coworkers told me about a concert venue called Red Rocks in Denver, Colorado, where the stage is actually built into a canyon. As a concert and photo lover, I was immediately interested. I checked their website for weeks, waiting for a band I like to appear. 

While looking at the website one day, I audibly gasped. King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, an Australian rock band, was playing a three-hour marathon show in May. 

The tickets weren’t going on sale for a few more days, so I waited in anticipation.

The following Tuesday, I was ready to book this adventure, but in just a few days, this band managed to sell out an entire amphitheater before I could get a ticket. Resale tickets were more than double the original price, so I resigned myself to the fact that I would not be able to go.  

A few weeks later, I checked the website again, not expecting to find anything. Lo and behold, they added a second show. On top of this, plane tickets to Denver had suddenly dropped $30 each. 

I was determined to make my resolution a reality, so I quickly bought two tickets, one for me and one for my boyfriend for his birthday.

I could hardly keep this secret to myself, especially since I was on the phone with him while I was buying the tickets. I told his mom, and she stopped what she was doing, mouth agape. She was so happy, she even offered to pay for the hotel.   

Finally, on his birthday, a week before Christmas, I handed him a card with a poem I wrote, leading up to the surprise. The last line said, “You’ll be spending Cinco de Mayo in the breathtaking town of Morrison, Colorado.” 

He had a perplexed look on his face, and he was very confused when he unfolded the paper tickets — how were we going to get halfway across the country? 

I handed him two plane tickets, and he could hardly believe it. 

Neither could I, and I am beyond happy that I am following through with my resolution, and I will have him by my side. 

But that wasn’t enough for me. Since then, I also booked a flight across the country to attend a music festival in Phoenix, Arizona, and I have plans to go to Los Angeles with my friend for spring break.

Two concerts. Three cities. All in the next four months. And this is only during the first half of the year. 

Still, I’m not satisfied. I recently got my passport in the mail, so I’m hoping to travel outside of the United States very soon. 

My New Year’s resolution is to go outside of my comfort zone — 1,500, 2,000, even 2,400 miles out of my comfort zone, to be exact.

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