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From Montclair State to Wherever the Holidays Take You

by Montclarion Feature

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It may only be the beginning of November, but it is clear that something is in the air. The contagious feeling of having the need to wrap up the last bit of assignments for classes and make plans for a much-needed vacation appears to be on everyone’s mind. After all, what better way to put your mind at ease than to sit back, relax and just simply enjoy all that another destination has to offer? At the moment, sunny blue skies and anything beyond this chilly weather would seem to do the trick.

Luckily, there are so many countries that the options for a warm winter vacation are endless. As one can imagine, having used all that brain power on several back-breaking assignments and exams, going through the hassle of figuring out where to go and putting together a full-on itinerary is a lot of work. Hence, acquiring some proposals of vacation destinations from fellow Montclair State students couldn’t possibly hurt.

Shannon Boyle, a communication major, raves about her time spent outside of the U.S. It was just only
a year ago that she studied in London. Since this trip was her first time travelling, she had considered England to be “not that intimidating.” According to Boyle, “It was different enough that I felt I was experiencing a new culture, but it was not too much of a culture shock. It was a good first experience with living abroad.” Although in England, the ability to be exposed to a variety of other people from Wales, Poland and Bulgaria was present, all of which are places that now remain of interest to Boyle even more so after the experience. So why visit London?

As far as food is concerned, “You can pretty much get whatever you want,” said Boyle. A great feature to also look forward to is the South Bank. This area remains one of the must-visit spots. As Boyle said, “There are so many parks, restaurants and shops along the South Bank and many street performers. It was a friendly atmosphere and it had beautiful views.” Not to mention that despite common misconceptions, the British can be “very welcoming and friendly.” With food, entertainment and good company, what’s not to love?

Another place worth traveling to, as suggested by fellow Montclair State student Ali McCabe, who is currently
studying abroad, is none other than Florence, Italy. Her main goal, as most students like herself, was to “experience a new culture and get an opportunity to travel that she might not have otherwise.” When asked to pinpoint what most excited her, McCabe said that, “Before coming, I was most excited to see the Duomo in Florence and countries like Ireland since I’m Irish and also Barcelona, since I studied Spanish in college and love the culture.” As for those who are fearful of jet-setting off by themselves, McCabe assures that there is absolutely no need for hesitance as she said, “I came here alone originally, but became good friends with another girl from Montclair State who came here at the same time as me.”

With both students raving about European destinations, it seems to be a very sound choice for a vacation for a student living near New York City. However, if by some odd chance these fellow Montclair State travelers’ destinations were not enticing enough, there is always the option of stopping by the New York Times Travel Expo in early January. The expo, which is held at the Jacob Javitz Center, offers travel tips and seminars with professionals in the industry, as well as exhibitions of several countries, providing some insight into each destination’s culture and a bit of food tasting. As one can imagine, great food is always a nice perk in order to be lured to any spot. An even greater bonus to look forward to is, of course, meeting some travel celebrities like Adam Richman, the host of NBC’s “Food Fighters” and Travel Channel’s “Man Versus Food.” Richman, who made an appearance last year at the expo, is just one amongst many to watch out for.

Whether taking a piece of advice from students or gaining some insight from professionals, hopefully the process of narrowing down where to get away has been made substantially easier, so that all there is left to do is hop on a plane, train or any means of transportation that suits you, kick back and enjoy the ride.

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