08/20/2012 09:13 am ET Updated Oct 20, 2012

How Travel Changed My Outlook on Life

It is easy to get stuck in the American bubble. We are part of a great nation, with great schools, wealth and opportunity. We are blessed. However, this blessing can also lead to a large bubble forming over our casual dressing, hamburger-eating American selves. This bubble is often difficult to pop. The good life is enticing, and once we find it, we may never want to leave.

At the moment, I feel the bubble forming around myself. Food-wise, I have gotten stuck in the world of chain restaurants. Fashion-wise, I have been rocking the "I just got back form the gym" athletic look. I have been living in exclusive American style for far too long now. The only cure for this syndrome? Travel.

Although there is nothing wrong with embracing your motherland, I cannot stress enough the importance of world travel. I remember my first time out of the country -- I was 17 and it was only my second time on a plane. Sheltered much? I think yes. I went on a school trip to England and Scotland. My first impression was, "Everything is so green!" The plane landed and I was immersed in a world of green grass. People say the grass is always greener on the other side. Well, I took this greenery as proof that this phrase was all too true and stepped out of the aircraft starry-eyed.

This trip revolutionized my way of dressing, thinking and speaking. Although I was still within the boundaries of Western culture, I could not believe how different British culture was from my own. For instance, one fashion tip I took away from the Brits was to always dress to impress. I decided that when I got home I was going to start sporting heels more often and finishing off my outfits with decorative hats. Dressing was to the British more than just throwing on clothes in the morning -- it was an art form. The artistic masterpiece was not complete until that necklace or that hat was placed, until the hair was properly pinned. This struck me as a fashionable way to always put your best foot forward and never let a bad day take the diamonds off your arms or out of your eyes.

I followed this trip up with one to Italy, where I learned the importance of family and that the dinner table was so much more than just a place to stuff your face. All in all, these trips enabled me to evolve in ways I never thought possible. My style and general outlook on life has never been the same.

As I fall back into my running shoes and sweatpants, I miss travel. Although I will never truly leave the free spirit of American fashion, I do believe that another cultural awakening would do me good. Maybe this time I will venture to the East. I challenge you to do the same. Study abroad, visit long-lost relatives, just get up and get out there any way you can.