The Break We All Need

As spring break approaches, many people are starting to travel again, but still with many hesitations.

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Many people have already adjusted back to their regular lives after the last two years, and are now ecstatic to go and travel again. The upcoming spring break is a perfect opportunity for this. Students are also looking to take a much-needed getaway this break from New York, where many students have been stuck in for the last two years. Whether it is traveling the East Coast or leaving the country, students are excited to be back to exploring new places.

For the last couple of years, travel rates have declined because people have been scared to fly or visit other places due to COVID-19. As a result, students have started to miss the excitement of going to new places. “My favorite thing about traveling was the immersion into cultures, which is highly under-appreciated. There are so many amazing people and cultures in this world and just being able to live amongst people with different perspectives, customs, languages, and foods is so eye-opening,” sophomore Kaeden Ruparel said.

Many others share the same sentiment and miss learning about new cultures and traditions. Several students feel as if they haven’t had a proper vacation in a long time, since they haven’t been able to leave the city. “I used to travel every break, so it has been a big change to have to stay in one city. Although I love New York, I enjoy relaxing on a beach more,” sophomore Elizabeth “Gigi” Bryce said.

Additionally, some people have forgotten the feeling of traveling and lost their passion for exploring. “My family used to be avid travelers before COVID hit, but I think my parents have enjoyed their staycation and relaxation a little too much. Now, I'm looking forward to leaving and going to new places in the world again, but they are a bit hesitant,” Ruparel explained. Along with people still being worried about their health, their general desire to see the world again has decreased due to staying in the same city for the last two years.

Other students have only built up more desire to travel over this time, so they cannot wait to leave the five boroughs and walk around the streets of the world. Junior Alika Peker didn’t get to travel much during the pandemic, so she is looking forward to going to Chicago for spring break with her family. “I have never been to Chicago and I can’t wait to just walk around and visit tourist attractions,” Peker said.

Activities as simple as walks have a large impact on people, so many students can’t wait to just go breathe the air in other areas. Sophomore Lucien Clough, born in Canada, said, “Going for walks in different cities is really interesting because it lets you see the difference between New York and other places.”

Likewise, many students are feeling overwhelmed in New York and want to have a quick break from their daily routine. Sophomore Chloe Tom said, “I am very excited to get away, as it’s always nice to have a break from New York and all the stresses of school.” Spring break is the perfect time to get away, especially since it is right before AP and finals season. Although New York is a great city with lots to do, people are ready to see other parts of the world. “My favorite thing about traveling is the break I get from everyday life and the opportunity I have to forget about everything in New York for a week,” said Bryce, who is traveling to Paris. She is excited to only focus on eating French food and exploring the beautiful city of Paris.

The thrill of traveling includes not only going to new cities and seeing more of the world, but also going to see family or friends in places one might have frequently visited beforehand. Ruparel used to visit Toronto three to four times a year to see his family, but he wasn’t able to go until December of last year. “I’m thrilled to go back. I love Toronto, it’s my home away from home, and I miss walking through the streets of the city. I missed the energy and complete enchantment I get when going back to Canada and seeing all the culture there,” Ruparel said. Going years without seeing one’s family can be extremely difficult.

Like Ruparel, Peker spent every summer since the age of three in Ukraine with all her cousins and grandparents. “Due to COVID, I could not go to see my family in Ukraine. Although I talked to them over the phone, I really missed the long summer days on the lake and in the park,” Peker said.

However, it is much harder to travel now. To fly anywhere, one must first check all the post-pandemic requirements of the particular place. For example, some countries require different levels of vaccination, quarantine periods, or negative COVID-19 tests. “COVID made [flying] more complicated because I had to get a negative Covid test within a day of my flight,” Clough said. These particular precautions are necessary for safety purposes, but can sometimes be very difficult to comply with due to the meticulous instructions.

Despite these challenges, many students are taking this upcoming spring break to relax and take a break from the stresses of life and the city in general. Students are starting to return to exploring the world and immersing themselves in the diverse, rich cultures of other cities. “I can’t wait to experience more culture shocks like I did when I went to Jordan and Egypt,” Ruparel said. “For the first time in two years, this break will feel normal again.”