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MIT student blogger Laura N. '09

So Facebook has this interesting application that lets you display on your profile a map of all the places in the world that you have been.

As I might have mentioned, I have never been outside the country (unless you count Bermuda and the Bahamas, which I don’t). This makes me very sad.

It’s hard to explain how incredibly jealous I get of friends who have traveled. I think it’s a particularly touchy subject because I feel….well, “ashamed” is the closest word I can think of…of the fact that I’ve lived such a sheltered life so to speak, and when I gush over the fact that my friends have been to even the UK (of all non-exotic places, at least from our point of view), I feel the need to rush to my own defense, saying, “No, you don’t understand! It’s not my fault I’m this naive!” I’m sure some of you understand this feeling- it’s very, very uncomfortable to feel defensive about things outside your control.

So I played around with that Facebook application yesterday, just to see how boring my travel experiences really were, and how little of world out there I actually know anything about. Places I’ve been are highlighted in blue. (Also, this is clearly a very US-centric program, since it delineates the US states but for example, none of the regional divisions of China).

Basically, the most interesting places I’ve been are Disney World, Utah, and the Henry Ford Museum.

But all that’s about to change.

First of all, I’m spending spring break visiting Adelaide in France, with a 2 day excursion to Italy.

Second of all, I was officially offered a job at Telefónica. If the name sounds Spanish, it might be because the office I’ll be reporting to every day this coming summer is in MADRID.

OhmygodI’msoincrediblyexcitedyouhavenoidea!

So basically, after 21 years of living on either the same street in New Jersey or the same floor of the same dorm at MIT, I’m finally taking matters into my own hands and knocking off as many interesting places as I can in the next few months. Any suggestions for weekend travel while I’m in Europe this summer? =)

And hey, if I get into D-Lab next semester, maybe they’ll send me to Africa…

37 responses to “Whoooo!”

  1. Libin Daniel says:

    The feeling is the same which came along when I turned 18. The feeling that my life is now completely on my hands. I make it what I want..Actually, No Strings attached at all this time.

  2. Steven says:

    Hey, I have that application! Mine doesn’t look too much better, except a bunch of places are colored for places I wish to visit.

  3. Tanmay says:

    Many congratulations Laura! 8-)

    Is there any way you can get a chance to go to Antarctica?! I’ve got better ideas to spend a weekend (huh?) there than Europe (say, ride a polar bear and go fishing). Just kidding! You should see those bullfights in Madrid, I’ve heard quite a lot about them.

  4. Jan says:

    My browser already crashed two times while writing a bit about the places I would like to recomment to you, so I’ll just add a list wink London is a must see, to me one of the, if not THE most international cities in the world, tons of culture! Paris is lovely as well, just be prepared, a lot of Frenchies don’t speak English at all! Tuscany/France because of the great landsides, which France actually offers tons of, just get a train ticket and travel around! Munich because of the Oktoberfest, a lovely city center and the special kind of people which are widely regarded as very friendly, which actually I don’t agree on, but anyways, just give it a try! Frankfurt Main, being my hometown, the second biggest airport in Europe, and WAY stylisher than Heathrow!, great soccer stadium with the best supporters from Germany, besides London the only European city with skyskrapers, also very international because of the banking world, very nice nightclubs (entrace and alcohol for people at the age of 18 or above) Barcelona, never been there, but is regarded as a very nice city, a lot of culture as well, also the biggest soccer stadium in the world, home to the FC Barcelona, called Barca, one of the most famous and best soccer teams in the world. Milan because its the worlds capital of fashion and because of the great Italian food, of course Rome is worth visiting for the same reasons as well, Italian people are generally be known for very stylish and friendly towards foreigners. Prague for its wild nightlife and tons of lovely old buildings ……. could go on for houres, but this should be enough for your first few weeks/month in Europe, have fun!

    Greets from Germany!

    PS: Bullfights in Spain… its part of the Spanish tradition, but still its cruel to the animals…. I prefere Spanish wine, food, beaches and girls wink

  5. Tanmay says:

    Okay, you’ll have to go to the North pole to see polar bears. So rather ride penguins!

  6. Jan says:

    AAAH I just mixed up Italy and France, of course Tuscany is in Italy! The place I meant in France was Cotê d’Azur!

  7. Hawkins says:

    Yaaaaay, I’m happy for you Laura! You’re supposed to “join the navy, see the world,” but the only place I’d brag about having visited so far is Croatia. Still, I suppose I probably did see a lot of the world, as most of it is made of water.

  8. maithreyi says:

    congrats, laura!
    that’s exciting!
    i’m indian, so i have been to india. and singapore.
    but none of europe, really (unless you count 3 days of london. which i don’t.)
    and i’m experiencing italy for the first time next week!

    i hope you enjoy spainnnn! smile

  9. Becca says:

    I feel pretty lucky that I have had the chances I have had to travel to a lot of different places.

    As for Europe, these probably wouldn’t be weekend excursions unless you could find cheap air (which of course is always a possibility), but if you get the chance visit Prague (it gets pretty touristy in the summer, but if you wander enough, you can find cool stuff that is off the main drag and hence people don’t go there). And my favorite city in Europe is definitely Ljubljana, Slovenia.

  10. dan says:

    awesome!
    be sure to try as many new foods as you can, you know, breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner, supper, and whatever else i’m forgetting.

  11. Anonymous says:

    what part of france are you going to be in?

    and a lot of frenchies to speak english… they just choose not too XP

  12. Hey I live in Utah! Where in Utah did you go? Also I lived in Europe for 8 years and you should definately check out Greece! It’s amazing there I loved it!

  13. Edgar says:

    I understand your feelings. But now, imagine this: the only place in blue on my map would be somewhere in the middle of the US, and Mexico, with no hopes of seing it change in quiet sometime. =(

  14. Steph says:

    Congrats Laura!

    Don’t worry, I haven’t been overseas either (although my mom comes from overseas….I have never been to her home country! haha how sad!).

  15. Evedizzy says:

    Cheer up! You’ve definitely been to more states in the America then I have, even though I’ve lived in Florida for 3 quarters (or more) of my life. And you’ve been to more countries than I’ve been to considering I wasn’t born in America. I suppose I’ll be a lot like you when I get to college but as for now there’s nothing i can do about it. But I do recommend you visit Florence or maybe even Panama. I heard the canal is a great sight and comes with amazing natural slides that you can surf on! The people over there are really down to earth and friendly and you’d be surprised how many places over there are purely english speaking. Despite the language similarities the cultures are very different and don’t be surprised to find there is a great lack of some of the social stereotypes we have here in the North. (reading helps)

  16. Valerie says:

    Visit Budapest! Seriously, it’s gorgeous. I loved it. And in the city, most people do speak some English (I was only there 4 days, and got by just fine with only Hello and Thank you, which I normally don’t do)

  17. Michelle L. says:

    I love the “Where I’ve Been” application!!!! But it makes me feel like I haven’t been anywhere when I compare it to my friends’. smile

  18. dotty says:

    Laura you have to visit Cracow in Poland – the heart of Europe:) This city has an atmosphere that you won’t find anywhere else…smile

  19. Anion says:

    yes..u better know some french..otherwise,everyone will not ALWAYS be nice.

  20. Sam says:

    Madrid sounds like it in itself would be ballin’ or whatever. Landing that Telefónica job, that’s so cool.

    And man, Where I’ve Been just makes me depressed, because after filling the places I’ve been, I go to my map and cry a little bit on the inside because my world looks so albino.

    So it’s a good thing there’s Scrabulous.

  21. Sam says:

    oh my god, that amazing.When I read your previous blog, I was hoping that you would get the job at Telefonica.I am sure it’s a great experience for you
    Best wishes,

  22. Sam 2 says:

    MISTI!!!! MISTIIIIIIIII!!! MISTI!!!!

  23. Anonymous says:

    @ Jan – Come on, the Frankfurt airport isn’t all that great. Actually, some parts of it look really crappy (from the inside). Other than that, it’s just really big so that you keep on walking until you finally arrive at your terminal…

    @ Laura – Travel to St. Petersburg, Russia! There are so many things to do and see!! (Btw, I am not Russian.)

  24. Isshak says:

    @Laura

    I suggest you go to Geneva to buy plenty of chocolate ! And if you get sent to Africa, go to Benin ! Or choose Benin, either way ! ^^

  25. Anonymous says:

    Some people I know have really enjoyed starting in Milan or Venice and travelling north by train through the Alps and along the river Rhine. takes you through Italy, Switzerland, Germany, France then Holland. from there people can go east into Russia and eastern Europe or West along the coast to Calais or down to Paris where you can get the Euro star to london…and from london you can go ANYWHERE lol: scotland, wales, back to france, iceland, etc etc
    hope you really enjoy it regardless of where you go!!

  26. Shruthi says:

    You should try to go to the Swiss Alps smile Beautiful place :D:D

  27. Oasis says:

    MADRID IS AWESOME.

  28. Okay, Laura, I’ve never been to the UK either. So don’t feel bad about that one.

    What you might maybe would be allowed to feel bad about is that, of all the “non-exotic countries” of the world from an American point of view, you’ve never been to CANADA. We’ve got a beautiful country, ya know. So come visit me in Toronto sometime, eh?

    See you very soon! I’m so excited!

  29. Muz says:

    Hmm.. I’ve been to like, here in Malaysia, Indonesia, that mountain on the border of Thailand, and um.. quite a lot of the USA states which I don’t remember.

    Lol, my parents, being foreign students in the USA probably travelled across a quarter of the states there, but to me, as a little kid, Niagara Falls was as cool as hotel fountains.

  30. Anonymous says:

    Hopefully, you’ll get to add a ton of new blue areas to your map smile

    @ Tanmay
    This is sooooo far down the line I don’t think you’ll even see this, but considering the amount of travel advice that’s been added to this blog, I might as well shamelessly take a crack at it.

    It’s not impossible to get to Antarctica… you just need a large amount of money handy. Probably the easiest way is through the cruises to the Antarctic Peninsula, (around the Weddell Sea and the Southern Shetland Islands?) which are available in Punta Arenas and Ushuaia in Chile and Argentina respectively… But some cruises can cost as much as up to 3000 USD… you’ll definitely have to think a little before you take the plunge.

    And if you actually want to get to the continent itself… you probably have to be a researcher working at one of the many research stations there. (MIT might help in that respect, wouldn’t it? raspberry)

  31. From what I can tell, most people have not gone overseas much. So to all of you, don’t feel too bad.

    In fact, since I’ve been old enough to remember anything about the places I’ve gone, I have only been around FL (my home state), DC, and Detroit (sorry to anybody from there, but ugh). In case you’re wondering, the “duke” thing was just a summer camp confined to part of the campus.

    Then again, I had an instructor who has been to Rome+Ravenna, around France and UK, Cracow, Moscow, on a “pilgrimage” in Spain, skiing in Australia (and probably Austria too), Egypt, Peru, Central Mex, about 5-10 times each. Not to mention probably 25 US states and several other countries that I never found out about.

    Ah well. Emmanuel Kant, one of Western history’s 10 most important philosophers, never went further than 100 miles from his hometown

  32. Ana says:

    Nobody out here mentioned Romania. We have really, really beautiful natural landscapes (the Danube Delta or the Prahova Valley, for example) as well as an outstanding folklore that you don’t have time to discover completely not even if you try it for your entire life.

    As for other places, I have been amazed by Vienna’s beauty. I find it the most beautiful city in the world, followed by Athens. From places I didn’t visit, I know someone who lives in Lausanne and she sais it is an incredible beautiful city, where you find people of every nationality, including tons of English-native speakers.

  33. Anonymous says:

    Congrats, Telefónica is one of the biggest telecom companies.

    I think you´d must be quiet, there are a lot of places to visist in Spain, and things to do specially in summer (is the fiestas time, you can find a lot of fiestas in most of cities and villages), the only one problem is the weather, you´ll feel a lot of hot.

  34. omar '10 says:

    i also need to do some traveling… definitely keep us posted about your trips. wink

  35. E. Rosser says:

    Congrats on your job and your upcoming trip. Major jealousy vectors are directed in YOUR direction! wink Espero que tus viajes a Espana, Italia, y Fracia (sp?) son FANSTASICAS!