A Surprise Benefit to Travel

By Marina Maluf

Traveling and giving is great – but we can’t forget our loved ones at home! Our intern here at UniversalGiving, Marina Maluf, gives us the rundown on how travel has strengthened her relationships with her family. 

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Everyone who has a desire to explore the world and experience a different culture would benefit from traveling abroad in one way or another. My way was by being an au pair. Moving to San Francisco from Brazil to be an au pair was an amazing experience and I would do it all over again.

For me, it was eye opening to see how much more I think about my own family and how I wish I could spend more time with them, especially on commemorative days such as birthdays, Christmas and holidays. When I was living in Brazil, I took for granted the presence of my parents. I know they will always be there for me, but now that we are far away, I wish we could be closer. I regret not spending a lot of time with them and not making that extra effort to take them to lunch or a movie.

I’ve come to see how family is so important and should always come first. I’m not sure if this insight came from my experience abroad or because I am getting older and now have a better understanding of things. However, I do believe that if I hadn’t gone abroad, I wouldn’t have realized how much I miss and need a strong family connection in my life. Every time I see my family now, I try to take advantage of it as much as possible. We talk every day over WhatsApp and at least once a week over Skype. My parents have been able to visit me in San Francisco and it was great that I could share a bit of my experience in the US with them. We had a fantastic time traveling around the Bay Area, and I showed them the tourist places in SF. They were in love with the city in regards to how beautiful everything is and how different it is from our hometown.

Even though travel is typically seen as adding distance between you and those you love, it has done just the opposite for my family and me. It has only brought us closer together.

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