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The GW Hatchet

AN INDEPENDENT STUDENT NEWSPAPER SERVING THE GW COMMUNITY SINCE 1904

The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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Next year, use spring break to travel for fun

Sarah Blugis, a senior majoring in political communication, is The Hatchet’s opinions editor.

I’ve never been on an airplane. In fact, before last week, I had never really traveled much at all.

Before coming to college, I’d been on just a few trips. Sure, my family took yearly vacations to our favorite beach in New Jersey, but that car ride from our house in Pennsylvania was only a few hours. In high school, my friends and I went to an amusement park in Cedar Point, Ohio, but there wasn’t really much to see there. During the spring of my sophomore year, I went down to Alabama for a service trip with GW Alternative Breaks. But that didn’t really feel like traveling.

So for spring break this year, my last one as an undergraduate, six of my friends and I took a road trip down to New Orleans. It took a lot of time, energy and arguments to plan – but it turned out to be the best break I’ve ever had. I got to see eight states, try some incredible fried chicken and go out on Bourbon Street. Now, even without stepping onto an airplane, I feel like I’ve really traveled.

I think everyone should try to take at least one big spring break trip, especially somewhere unconventional, during their time in college. Service trips are great, and staying in D.C. or going home can make life easier. But going somewhere just for fun will almost always be worth it.

For my group of friends, this trip meant coming full circle, since we’ve all known each other since our freshman year. I didn’t think our bond could grow any stronger than it already was, but nothing brings people closer than spending 16 hours in a cramped van – twice in one week.

Taking the time to travel with friends, especially those you’ve known for a long time, is important. Most of us have probably heard that the friends you make in college are the ones you keep for life. As it turns out, planning and going on a trip together is a real test of those friendships. It’s impossible to sing along to each other’s playlists, sit together in bumper-to-bumper traffic and share a small mirror while doing makeup without getting to know each other better.

And don’t be afraid to plan a trip somewhere less common. I’m sure heading to Florida is fun, but it isn’t the only option. New Orleans was definitely filled with spring breakers like us, but our trip focused less on partying and much more on tours, food and sightseeing, especially on the drive.

Last week in Virginia, for example, I posed for pictures in front of “Foamhenge,” a foam replica of Stonehenge. I ordered barbecue from incredibly kind southerners with South Carolina drawls. I saw the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans, still in unbelievable disrepair and devastation from Hurricane Katrina 12 years ago.

Going somewhere off the beaten path can teach you a lot. While I didn’t get a tan, I got a new perspective on parts of the country I had never really seen before – and some really great food, too.

Traveling, of course, is a privilege, and isn’t something everyone can do. Some students may have to work through spring break, and others may not have the money to travel at all. My friends and I saved as much money as we could – by borrowing a van, staying in a hostel and eating at inexpensive restaurants – and our trip still wasn’t cheap.

But those who can travel for fun over spring break – or any break – should. It’s a lot of work, but I’ll never regret it. And you won’t, either.

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