The World Outside of ND
It may come as a surprise to you…but there IS more to see in this world than the flat, arctic tundra that is North Dakota. If you would have told me four years ago that I would someday travel the world to play music with my best friends, I would have straight-up laughed in your face. What a ridiculous thought. It is strange to think that moving to a city in what can be considered the most obscure state, would provide me with more travel opportunities than I could have ever imagined.
I have always loved traveling and exploring new places. In my opinion, traveling changes your heart in ways that are unimaginable. Not only does travel open your eyes to new cultures and people, it makes you appreciate your home a whole lot more. Some of my favorite places I have traveled include NYC, Jamaica, and Edinburgh, Scotland. Each new place teaches you a new lesson, whether that be about the location itself, or you.
UJ Kilts: Scotland and Ireland
My freshman year, I had the incredible opportunity to travel to Scotland and Ireland with the UJ Wind Ensemble. The funny thing is, I never wanted to play my trumpet after high school. Luckily, for me, I absolutely loved Dr. Lynch, and the idea of traveling to Scotland and Ireland didn’t hurt either.
So as a little baby freshman, I boarded a plane with some of my best friends and traveled all the way across the world. The trip was one I’ll certainly never forget. While overseas, we spent time in three different cities over a span of ten days: Edinburgh, Scotland, Belfast, Ireland, and Dublin, Ireland.
While in Scotland and Ireland, we got to see many iconic sights, including the cafe where J.K. Rowling wrote the first Harry Potter book in Edinburgh, the first ever golf course in St. Andrews, the Guinness factory in Dublin, and so many more. My favorite city that we visited was Edinburgh.
I thought it was super cool because I love the Harry Potter franchise and J.K. Rowling lived in Edinburgh, so the entire city inspired the series. It felt like we had walked right onto the movie set. The buildings were ancient and beautiful, and the streets were made of cobblestone. You could definitely tell that the city’s history is extremely important to the people living there now.
Sure, seeing the countries of Scotland and Ireland was pretty amazing, but the people of those countries made the trip even better. Every local we met was extremely cheerful and optimistic. I honestly don’t think I saw one crabby Scottish or Irish person.
Our concerts that we performed overseas were always jam-packed with people who were legitimately excited to hear us play. The Scottish and Irish people appreciated music in a way that I had never seen before. It made me reevaluate how I felt about playing the music. Traveling opens your eyes to new perspectives and changes the way you view everything.
One big, happy family
Not only does traveling give you the opportunity to explore new places and cultures, it also creates lifelong friendships. The UJ Wind Ensemble arrived in Scotland as just a group of people who enjoyed playing music together. Obviously, everybody had their own group of friends within the ensemble. However, when we left Ireland, we left as a big, loving, dysfunctional family. The upperclassmen that I had been scared of all year became some of my best friends, and I had the chance to bond with people that I never thought I would be friends with.
So here’s my advice to you…
If you ever get the opportunity to travel, TAKE IT. Even if it’s just a state away. I promise you will NOT regret it. Some of my favorite trips have been traveling around the Midwest.
Traveling can be expensive, but the memories and relationships that develop are absolutely priceless. College is the perfect time to travel because there are no jobs or families depending on you. There will always be time to work when you get back. Later in life, I am not going to remember what my GPA was or what score I got on that chemistry final…but I will remember the travels I took and the friendships I made along the way.