By Amy Slanchik
National Geographic recognized “Travelers of the Year” for the first time this week and held a discussion event in their honor. Before going to cover the event, I read about each of the travelers and I was inspired by what each of them had done and where they had traveled. Not all of the chosen travelers were at the event, but it was really inspiring to see a few of them discuss their different travel experiences. One of the main things the travelers emphasized was to explore your neighborhood. In this economy, not everyone can afford to travel, especially on an elaborate trip around the world. They encouraged the audience to start small, by going outside more, trying new things and meeting new people.
Last summer, I interned in D.C. and had a wonderful experience that I will remember for the rest of my life. But at the end of the summer, I realized that I hadn’t seen everything in the city. I went to one or two museums and tried a few new restaurants, but for the most part, I let myself get into a routine for three months.
One of my goals for my second time in Washington is to really explore the city. If I don’t plan more things to do and places to go, April will be here before I know it and I’ll be in the same boat I was last summer.
When it comes to food, I don’t like to take too many risks. I try new things from time to time, but let’s face it, when all of the interns had lunch together from Naan and Beyond, an Indian restaurant, I ordered a Caesar salad. After hearing so many inspirational stories on Tuesday, I figured I at least owed it to myself to try something new. For dinner I decided to go to District Kitchen, a restaurant just down the street from our apartment that I hadn’t been to before. I ordered cod fritters, something I would normally avoid because I’m not very fond of seafood. As it turned out, I really enjoyed the food and I’m glad I tried something new.
For the past few years, it has been one of my goals to visit all 50 states before I turn 30. So far, I’ve been to 27 states. I have eight years to visit the other 23, but for now, I can start my adventures right here in Washington.