When I was 6, my family went to Ecuador to visit a friend. We stood with one foot on either side of the equator, took a trip into the jungle where we rode pieces of cardboard down a rocky waterfall, and rowed a canoe out into a native village where they painted my face red with achiote paste straight out of a fruit they picked from a tree. This was the first trip that I remember and this is when travel became about adventure.
As a teenager, I took several trips to Nicargaua with my youth group where we worked on projects for schools, churches, and orphanages. We worked alongside local people on all manner of projects from painting desks in bright primary colors to crouching for hours on a tin rooftop patching the holes identified by a person inside the building using a broom handle to bang the ceiling wherever they could see light through what should have been a solid tin roof. This is when travel became about other people.
Traveling has always been a big part of my life. My first trip out of the country occurred when I was about 6 months old and my parents took me along on a trip to Germany and Italy. I obviously don’t remember anything from this first trip, but luckily it was only the first of many and set me on a course in life in which I view traveling as a part of who I am more than as a thing I do. It is something that has allowed me to grow and learn about myself, but is also a hobby that has grown with me and has been what I needed it to be through each stage of my life.
In college, I went to Honduras and Cambodia to volunteer on my breaks. In seeing people who lived with almost nothing, I was so grateful for what I had and always inspired to find a way to give back