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  • Life-Changing Travel Contest: Lauren

    It happened in a fleeting moment; everything changed yet it was all still the same. The adrenaline I felt pumping through my body as we pulled up our paddles and prepared for the free-fall down the 7 meter waterfall on the Kaituna river in New Zealand made me realize that there is so much more to this world that I need to see. It was a matter of seconds, but that’s all it takes to realize that there will be so many more worldwide adventures to experience.

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    29 Responses

    1. Lauren says:

      Thank you all for your support on and off-line. Thank you for listening to my stories until your ears bled and thank you for always allowing me to come home to some great friends and family who love and support me. May all your travels be safe and memorable. <3

    2. Lauren says:

      @Dom.. thank you so much! I’m sure everyone is sick of my stories, “this one time in new zealand..” haha. Love you!

      @Joe.. China is definitely on my list. And exactly! It’s crazy (yet hopeful) to think that there is different life outside these coal-region walls. I hope everyone gets to explore.

      @Heidi.. Girl, I love you so much. Germany was an amazing time and a beautiful start to our friendship! Funny how it takes two people to travel thousands of miles just to realize that they’ll be friends forever and keep traveling together! <3

    3. Heidi Rudelitch says:

      My first experience abroad was spent with Lauren in Germany during a high school exchange program. Not only was this a great opportunity at such a young age, but this is also where our amazing friendship began. This was my first time being immersed in another culture, and was truly a life changing experience. Living with our host families forced us to speak the language and learn the culture. That trip lit the fire for my own personal passion for travel. It made me realize that there is so much “out there” – and I’m determined to see and experience as much as I can. Since then, I’ve gone back to study abroad in Maastricht, Netherlands which was yet another amazing experience. Every trip and journey creates new stories and endless memories. Lauren, your passion for travel is so motivating. You have already experienced more of the world than most people will in their entire lifetime. I only hope that your passion will become stronger and push you to never give up and follow your dreams. Love you so much!

    4. Joe says:

      Lauren,

      I agre that there is so much to explore in world… When I was traveling in China I realized that there is so much more to life than our small town dramas, not to mention the endless beauty to see around the world… I hope u can see it all and take it all in!

    5. Dominique Filiziani says:

      Lauren, your travel story is amazing. Although I’ve never had the opportunity to travel abroad, this story makes me feel like there is so much in the world to be experienced. And knowing you, I know that having such an experience isn’t hard to do and doesn’t have to be achieved in another part of the world. You are never afraid to take a chance and you deserve to have the world open for you to explore. Good luck! Love you!

    6. Lauren says:

      @Charles.. Give yourself at least two weeks. Even that is stretching it but you can make it work. Take what you need on your back, or on your body, because you’ll end up wearing the same layers every day and won’t need to pack too many clothes. I would recommend going the route of hostels or couches because it saves money and you meet fabulous people. Don’t use a guidebook; use the locals as your guides. They will be so excited to help you and they are always willing to go off to the beach at any time of the day.
      I can’t give you any particular place to go because really, you should see it all if you can; every town/city is completely different than the last. But definitely hike the Franz Josef glacier, enjoy the wine and beer, eat Fergburger (ooh baby) and jump/raft off as many waterfalls as you can 🙂

    7. Charles McElwee says:

      What advice would you have for someone who wants to go to New Zealand?

    8. Jennie says:

      You make me miss kiwi-land! kia ora

    9. Lauren says:

      @Mary.. did you have such a moment in NZ?

      @Emmett.. It certainly was. I hope your girls get to experience something like that when they go away to school!

    10. Emmett says:

      It must have been incredible Lauren …. In some ways it probably seems like it was just yesterday and in others like it was an eternity ago. Hope you get to experience many more special moments like that in your lifetime.

    11. Mary says:

      Those moments last forever–I’m so glad you got to really experience all New Zealand has to offer, and I’m sure you have lots more adventures in your future.

    12. Lauren says:

      @Uncle Tom.. I can only hope that one day I will get to experience all of those amazing places. I know you’ve had quite some amazing experiences as well! Thank you!

      @Bryan.. Once my little niece is big enough I will take her with me and show her the world. I guess you can come too.. 🙂

    13. Bryan says:

      Lauren, your trip sounds amazing. I can close my eyes after reading your entry and envision myself there, going over the waterfall; what a rush that must have been like. I can only imagine. I’m sure that is only the tip of the iceberg of your trip and hopefully you can get out there again and explore more of that ‘iceberg’!

    14. Tom Durilla says:

      Yes, Lauren, there are many wonderful and beautiful places to vist in this world that will take your breath away. Try to experience as many as possible. Visit countries and islands.
      Fill up your passport with stamps from everywhere. Enjoy foods and cultures. And don’t forget the fantastic sights right here in the good old U.S.:
      the Grand Canyon, Crazy Horse, Mount Rushmore, Washington, D.C., Niagara Falls, Hoover Dam, The Liberty Bell, Disneyland / Disneyworld, Mount Mckinley, The Northern Lights, an active volcano in Hawaii, Alcatraz, the Statue of Liberty, just to name a few. Each will change your life in its own way.
      And you will be glad that you witnessed each and every one. Continue your desire to adventure. Enjoy, enjoy !!

    15. Lauren says:

      @Angela.. Where did you study in Italy?

      @Ali.. I love you. Come back to Boston! I want to travel with you so badly. Just think of what we could accomplish 😉

      @Charles.. ! Once you hold your passport in your hands you get the feeling that anything is possible. And once you look through all the pages of stamps, it brings back memories and also makes you yearn to fill more pages.

      @Tabitha.. Haha, or how about riding the donkey while going up the cobblestone paths.. in a dress yet. hahaha

    16. Tabitha says:

      The beauty of travel is that every person has a story, no matter how near or far they travel. My life changing travel moment was visiting Santorini, Greece. Seeing the beauty and serenity of those white and blue houses hanging to the side of those cliffs, watching the donkeys climb the cobblestone paths… it was like a scene out of a movie that will play out over and over again in my mind.

    17. Charles McElwee says:

      It’s those kind of moments, moments I could definitely use right now, that inspire me to travel. Your post inspired me to get my passport.

    18. Lauren says:

      @Amanda.. Every day! I know you’ve had your share of amazing moments in Africa!
      @Justin.. I highly recommend it! 🙂
      @Megan.. I remember when you told me that story! As soon as you started explaining it, I remember feeling like I was there. Beautiful.
      @Frank.. it truly is!
      @Alyssa B.. I hope you get to see more of the world! I hope to see Scotland someday
      @Kayla B.. I couldn’t agree more. I wish that on everyone because it is very hard to describe a moment

      <3 you all!

    19. Kylee says:

      studying abroad was easily the best decision i made in college. i love that so many people i know have been able to travel and enjoy it so much!

    20. Kayla says:

      One experience can change your entire perspective, attitude or even life. I can only wish everyone could have such an experience.

    21. Ashley says:

      Perfectly worded to capture the feeling. Amazing.

    22. Alyssa B says:

      My life-changing travel moment was touring through the highlands of Scotland, seeing a country I’d never been to with sights I’d never seen before. Like your moment, I knew I needed to see more of the world.

    23. Frank says:

      It’s amazing how one moment can change your life

    24. Megan says:

      For you it was adrenaline that made you realize there’s so much more to see….for me it was a smile from an old italian man who was spending time with his granddaughter. Despite cultural differences I could appreciate his happiness, which makes me want to see other cultures and revel in what makes them happy.

    25. Justin Valentine says:

      This comment is breathtaking, literally. I do not throw that word around often. I love thrills and traveling and I now must visit New Zealand!

    26. Ali Frendak says:

      I can honestly say that I wish I have been on a few adventures myself with this lovely lady. I know for a a fact that with $1500, she could cover some serious national or international ground. Drop this girl off in any given city and it is guaranteed that she will meet an incredible amount of people and learn more about that country’s culture than some of the natives even know. Along her travels, Lauren always manages to network so well and keep in touch with people from all over the world. She is currently helping me plan a trip abroad so I can discover my own life changing moment!!

    27. Angela Davis says:

      Yes, I remember that moment also along with realizing I now had a choice. My choice was to explore this world with the gift of time or close myself down to the possibilities. The world is a beautiful place full of imagination, wonder and surprise. You are all to lucky to have had this experience and moment because most never get the opportunity. My life changing travel moment happened when I visited Italy. It is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been too along with such unremarkable history. I am so lucky to have had that experience at such a young age. Every day I want to go back.

    28. Amanda says:

      Carpe diem!!!!!

    29. Lauren says:

      What was everyone’s life-changing travel moment and how did it affect the rest of your life? <3

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