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The Orion

Growing up globally crafts perspective

Julianna Eveland
Julianna Eveland

It was almost 11 p.m. when the lights flickered, the walls shook and the earthquake had reached our Bay Holdings apartment in Baku, Azerbaijan.

The earthquake read 6.3 on the Richter scale — Azerbaijan’s largest in 160 years.

My family has always had a keen taste for adventure. The way I think about the world has been carefully crafted by travel. Books are helpful and Google is great but travel is the best tool for learning. Whatever the purpose of my travels, I’ve collected knowledge about cultures and customs I may have never considered had I stayed rooted in one place.

That earthquake was my first misadventure in a foreign country where I had to react quickly and calmly.

After Azerbaijan, our next big move was to Saudi Arabia in 2007. I spent my high school years at boarding school in Switzerland, traveling back to Saudi Arabia for holidays.

The world is beautiful, but it is a dangerous place.

No matter where I go, I know to listen, proceed with caution, heed warnings and most importantly, check-six.

Check-six is a pilot term my dad uses, which means check your 6 o’clock both ways. Pretty much, always be aware of your surroundings.

Traveling abroad comes with the responsibility to always plan for the worst-case scenario. And if the worst comes, handle it with firm and patient resolve.

I was 16 and headed to Saudi Arabia for the holidays when my flight was canceled in London — a nerve-wracking situation for anyone, especially at that age.

We were required to do an Outward Bound excursion in boarding school. We hiked in the snow from the eastern part of Switzerland to the western part of Austria to a cabin with no electricity, water or plumbing.

That experience taught me to take on challenges, be adventurous, roll with the punches and lastly, to appreciate when there’s heat and plumbing.

California, Azerbaijan, Switzerland and Saudi Arabia are all places I call home.

I have been extremely fortunate to experience the world so extensively at my age.

After dabbling in various cultures, I’ve seen many societal commonalities. The earthquake in Azerbaijan brought together an assortment of culture, sharing in a sense of integrated fear.

Travel has taught me to observe, listen and learn from what others have already discovered.

Whether it’s across California to a coveted beach spot, a volunteer program to Africa or a summer vacation to a “must-see” spot in Europe, I plan to grow in my worldly know-how by continuing to explore.

Julianna Eveland can be reached at [email protected] or @janeca12 on Twitter.

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