“There are so many beautiful countries and cultures in the world, why not explore them?” A Travel Chat with a Communications Student

by Hannah Watkins on October 10, 2013

Traveler Interview: Maggie Collett

Maggie Collett

Collett  in Salzburg, Austria, where she completed four months of school.

Originally from Wardsville, a small farming town in Missouri, Maggie Collett, chose Winfield, Kansas as her “home away from home” at Southwestern College.

However, for Collett, Winfield just was not far enough. In the spring of 2013, Maggie decided to study abroad for four months in Salzburg, Austria.

Throughout her travels, she visited 18 different cities in 9 different countries. The experience was life-changing; read about her travels here:  

What inspires you to travel?

The different cultures out there are just amazing and seeing and learning about differences among people never gets old. There’s something about learning someone’s story that is so just fascinating to me so being able to learn about a culture and a background that is different from my own is awesome. People are amazing.

Have you always enjoyed travel? What contributed to your love of travel?

Growing up, my parents always made a really big effort to travel with us – we would always take family vacations. We would go places like Montana, the national parks, Florida, Colorado, and California. We also had family strung out all over the country so taking visits to them was like a mini vacation. They always tried to make sure that we traveled in unique ways too; one summer we rode the train all the way to San Diego. Their love of travel helped me to love travel just as much.

Town Hall, Munich GermanyMunich New Town Hall in Munich, Germany, a short distance from where Collett spent a semester abroad. Photo by Maggie Collett.

What is your favorite destination?  Why? 

I think I would have to say that Salzburg, Austria is my favorite destination because it totally stole my heart. I spent a semester studying there and the connection that I feel to that city now is awesome – it’s like a second home. We would travel to different places on the weekends and on the way home, when we were getting close, I would always look for the radio tower on top of the Gaisberg, which is the mountain that overlooks Salzburg. Seeing that mountain and the Salzach River and the fortress over the city was the best feeling in the world. It was like being home again. Salzburg is such a hidden gem in Europe – it’s so beautiful. I could go on for hours about it! I love that city.

What destination has surprised you the most, either good or bad?

Interlaken, Switzerland really surprised me in a great way. I was just kind of tagging along on a trip that my friends had planned but it was so awesome! Interlaken is situated in the mountains and has so many outdoor activities; there was anything from zip-lining to hiking on a glacier. We chose to go canyoning, which is kind of a combination of rock climbing and white water rafting. You’re basically going down a river canyon with nothing but jumps and rappels. It was so fun and I never would have expected so much adventure in one place.

Canyoning in SwitzerlandCollett and a few of her classmates “canyoning”, as mentioned above.

Why do you consider travel important?

I think it’s so important to expand your horizons beyond just what you know and what you grew up with. There are so many beautiful countries and cultures in the world, why not explore them? It teaches you to adapt. You also learn a lot about yourself – it is a big confidence boost to navigate a train station in a foreign country by yourself with no cell phone. You come out of it feeling invincible in a way that something at home can’t really make you feel.

From your travels, do you have a practice or insight that makes your travel experiences more enjoyable?

I just always did my best to fully a enjoy a place. It’s so easy to see a local dish and be like, “that’s gross, I’m not going to try that,” but it ends up being your new favorite food. Traveling and being the foreigner can be hard so it’s easy to just stay in the shadows and not get the most out of the experience but if you take that leap of faith and try something new it almost always turns out fantastically. I also always tried to roll with the punches; missing a train is not the end of the world but it can feel like that at the time. Taking a second to take a deep breath and laugh it off makes all the difference in the world.

Hannah WatkinsThis article is written by Hannah Watkins - writer, traveler, and grand-scale dreamer–as well as a senior studying communications at Southwestern College in Winfield, Kansas. She is an avid golfer and enjoys spending time with her pug named Cookie.

Hannah is currently completing an internship with VentureTime Travel and she hopes to someday work in the Public Relations field.

To learn more, check out her Linkedin profile.

Read More Traveler Interviews:

We enjoy learning about other people’s travel discoveries as much as making our own.         

What benefit of travel is most meaningful to you?  Please share in comments.

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