World traveler — Adventuring to different corners of the globe contributes to understanding cultures

Kelly Cordingley, Editor in Chief

Australia. Rwanda. Morocco. Paris. Amsterdam. Canada. Belgium.

Senior Walter Vaughn has traveled to many countries with his family.

“I’m reminded by my parents how fortunate I am to have traveled so much at an early age,” Vaughn said.

Vaughn took his first trip to Australia when he was 15 years old and has continued to travel the world with his family since then.

He said he recognizes that his family tends to travel to more exotic places than the normal vacation spots.

He said his family enjoys an adventure rather than a mundane, sitting-at-the-beach type of vacation many people go on.

“Most families like to buy things, but this is our hobby,” Vaughn said. “We’ve always done that.”

Vaughn said when he travels to countries that speak little English, his family usually has a guide or translator to help them get around.

“In Europe, you can tell people have issues [with Americans],” Vaughn said. “Otherwise they’re pretty cool; we’ve never had anything really bad.”

Vaughn said one of his favorite memories was when he traveled to Rwanda.

He said he visited Hotel Rwanda and viewed the sites of the genocide that took place there — a moving experience.

He said he also witnessed the poor living conditions of the African people.

“You really realize how much we take for granted,” he said. “There are people living without roofs and yet they’re two times happier than most people I know.”

Vaughn said the craziest instance he can recall while traveling was when his family attempted to leave Paris. The workers went on strike the day their flight was scheduled to depart.

The Vaughn family was forced to stay in Paris a few days longer than originally planned, but he said he didn’t mind.

“I definitely plan to continue traveling when I’m out of the house,” Vaughn said. “Maybe after college I can live out of the United States. That would be great.”

Traveling to Morocco is one of Vaughn’s favorite trips, he said, because the atmosphere is so different from anywhere else.

In particular, he said the food was incredible and unlike anything he is used to.

He said traveling has enabled him to gain more knowledge and has opened his eyes to different cultures.

“You gain more respect for people and you realize what’s really important when others have so little,” Vaughn said. “You appreciate the small things, realizing life is too short to live too stressed out.”