|My mentee Ryann with her Heys Luggage|
Tuesday, February 9, 2016
I developed a love of travel at an early age. My mother encouraged me to be an independent spirit and by the time I was nine, I’d traveled across country alone to visit my family in California. With an early introduction to solo travel I was able to seamlessly visit colleges that I was interested in attending in cities I’d never visited without fear or trepidation. During high school I had a deep desire to travel internationally (all of the women in my family are travelers and had been to countries in Africa, South America and the Caribbean) but despite my best efforts, it remained elusive to me. My first trip overseas occurred after I finished my Masters degree in International Affairs - yes, you’ve read that correctly, I even obtained a degree in the field without ever stepping foot off of U.S. soil. Not to be deterred from my dreams, shortly after my graduation I was headed to South Africa and ended up living there for over 2 years.
I believe that travel should be something that all children and adults have the opportunity to do and developing a love for it early in life is key to successfully integrating international travel. By opening the youth's eyes to new cultures they can develop a worldview that not only will change their perspective but impact friends and family who that share their experiences with. This is why I am so very proud to be a mentor for the Passport Party Project for the second year in a row. The Passport Party Project(PPP) is a National Geographic award winning grassroots global awareness initiative for underrepresented American girls aged 11-15. The PPP provides passports for the young women if they do not already have one. This summer, 15 travel teen ambassadors will be traveling to Toronto, with a newly stamped passport in hand!
Tourism Toronto, Heys Luggage, Niagara Parks, National Geographic maps , Hornblower Niagara Cruises, Porter Airlines , Francesco's Limousine and CityPASS are sponsors for the program. Heys has provided all of the Ambassadors with beautiful luggage for their trip, National Geographic has provided world maps and CityPASS is providing excursions. It has been a pleasure being a travel mentor for 12 year old Ryann, she is looking forward to the trip and is extremely excited about traveling with a group of her peers.
I believe in the power of the passport and I so honored to be a Travel Mentor for the Passport Party Project, a program that I know will change the lives of these young women forever!