Why on earth are we launching a travel section?

When I was 17 years old, I traveled abroad for the first time. Along with about two dozen classmates, I visited a number of cities in Spain, and took a day trip from the tip of Spain to the top of Morocco.

While visiting one of the Spanish cities, some classmates and I went to a little teenybopper club. We met an English-speaking, American-seeming young man there. One guess where he was from.

That’s right. Just like our featured travel contributor, Traveling Mad, recalls in her inaugural travel post, I was an ocean away from home, yet managed to bump into someone from Newark, New Jersey.

Brick City Live is launching a travel section for a couple reasons. First, I’ve met many people in this city who travel, both domestically and internationally. We’re highly connected to the rest of the world through our airport, rail system, and easy access to key interstate highways. It only makes sense that a site with Brick City Live’s mission and ambition inform our readers about how to maximize the travel opportunities that infrastructure affords us.

And those trips include travel to other East Coast cities, which so many of us take for granted, but which are just as much travel experiences as anything else. After all, non-Americans travel halfway around the world to visit those places. (Also, in about the same time it would take to drive from Newark to Virginia Beach, you can drive north instead for an international trip to a French-speaking city.)

Second, many people from this city travel, and I think our perspectives on experiences outside of Newark are just as valuable as anyone else’s. Why not?

Third, a more personal reason: I love to travel. I think it’s one of the most horizon-expanding, transformative, and fun experiences a person can have. Living smack in the middle of a travel hub, I think it only makes sense that we swap suggestions, stories, and tips. At the very least, it might make those of us who haven’t given travel serious thought realize how much more accessible these opportunities are than one might think.

…Perhaps some of us will even take a trip together sometime soon.

And fourth: I find that travel can change the way you look at where you live. A few months ago, I went on an unofficial walking tour of Maputo, Mozambique that lasted for hours. Maputo is not scrubbed and pristine, but it’s still beautiful. I loved the tour (and posted about it on Brick City Live when I returned).

Inspired by that experience, the second walking tour I took this summer was…in Newark. I gathered with a group of about a dozen other people at Penn Station for the Have You Met Newark? tour, and spent four hours walking around the immediate neighborhood where I’d lived for five years, this time with a tourist’s eyes. About half of the people on the tour were Newark natives. Everyone had a great time, and it gave us a newfound appreciation for the history, architecture, culture, and characters we have right here in one of America’s oldest cities.

So we hope you’ll enjoy this section, and that you’ll help us build it by sending your travel pictures, experiences, and/or questions to travel@brickcitylive.com. To get to this section quickly, visit brickc.it/travel. To stay on top of Traveling Mad’s posts, visit brickc.it/mad. You can also check out her website, Facebook page, and Twitter page.

For more on what Brick City Live is all about, visit our About page, my “Exactly why are we launching a Style section” post, and my recent essay, “What about the shootings?

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