|My mom was not too keen about the giraffe up close and personal|
Tuesday, September 16, 2014
I was 27 years old when my feet left United States soil for the first time (not counting a visit to Canada when I was 3). What I lacked in experience did not deter me from wanting to travel. All of the women in my family traveled to exotic locals like Mexico, Venezuela, Ghana and the Caribbean.
Never one to listen to conventional wisdom, rather than travel and then study I did the opposite.
Prior to obtaining a fellowship that would take me on my international journey, I completed a Masters degree in International Affairs. It worked out quite well for me! My first trip took me to South Africa, via London.
With an overnight stay in London I took full advantage and visited museums, Buckingham Palace, ate Chinese food (it is great there), the requisite fish and chips, and got my party on in Brixton. We departed the next day for Johannesburg, South Africa and as they say, the rest is history!
I lived and worked in South Africa for over 2 years and loved every minute of it. I visited so many countries that I had to obtain extra pages for my passport. Although there were some very rough times when I lived overseas (like many in South Africa, I was a victim of crime) I would not change that experience for anything in the world.
Nothing beats safari, the Indian Ocean, souk dancing in Zambia, white water rafting on the Zambezi and Victoria Falls! I left South Africa begrudgingly but my ties to the continent and love of international never faded.
I’ve tried to incorporate at least one international trip annually into my life. Having my son has not deterred me. I am fortunate because my work has enabled me to open the world to my son too. His first international travel was at 4 and again at 5. This year we have applied for his passport and in just a few weeks we will be journeying to Turks and Caicos. At 7 my son will obtain his first passport stamp and I feel so very blessed to provide this opportunity for him. This will be my second international trip this year, you may recall in May I was on a mission trip to Ethiopia and it was truly life changing.
When I returned from Ethiopia I was asked to be on the advisory board of The Passport Party Project. “A rite of passage for underserved American girls ages 11-15, a fun and informative global awareness initiative that will not only gift 10 underserved American girls with their very first passports, but will help create responsive and responsible global citizens as well.” I was ecstatic! In my capacity I help spread the word about the program and mentor the young women who participate. I can’t think of a better way to influence a young woman and help her to realize that the world is truly her oyster!
If you know an American girl between the ages of 11-15 who currently DOES NOT have a passport but would like to take the journey of a lifetime, PLEASE encourage her to apply! Applications are currently being accepted until October 1st. Next year, 10 young women will travel to the Guadaloupe Islands and stay at a teen villa provided by Home Away and I know they will have an amazing time! Too many of us have barriers (real or imagined) for international travel, won’t you help break down the barriers for a young woman this year?