When I was little, I had this placemat. It had a world map on one side, and the U.S. presidents on the other. As a kid I couldn’t tell you who our 16th president was (and still can’t), but I could tell you the capital of Nepal. I used to have my dad quiz me at dinner. And when he came back from a business trip to India, we traced his travels on the map. He gave me Rupees to start my foreign currency collection, which I filled with Francs, Yuan, Deutsche Marks, Nuevo Sols, Argentine Pesos, Tanzanian Shillings.
I moved to New York City for college, and have been here 7 years. Here, it’s easy to experience culture. Museums with works from artists across the world. Multiple languages heard in the subway. At work. In your grocery store and apartment building. So it’s easy to fill the time with cultural exploration. That is, until work and life start to take over.
There’s a part of me that went missing – the part of me that’s happiest and most fulfilled. It’s the me that travels, that meetslocals, that supports small communities, that eats local food. The me that’s enriched by meeting humans who are intensely different from me, and together discovering universal truths. At the end of the day, I’m a wide-eyed citizen of the globe looking to learn from people of different cultures and backgrounds. I continue to be amazed that we’re all just humans at the end of the day. Little beings in a big world.
Now I’m not so little. I’m 26. And I have a different map – a scratch off one I’m determined to fill with memories and experiences with each removal of a scratch-off layer. Along the way I wanted to find a way to give something back. So here I go, starting my travel journal with JAB & 141 Initiative and trying to give back something in return for all the joy each new place brings me.