There are a million places to begin my story...
Born in Germany and raised in the Southern United States, you can say I’ve been traveling from the moment of conception. In fact, you could say I was traveling since “pre” conception considering my parents lived in the Northern and Southern United States respectively, and they were wed in the Far Southwest. My parents are literally from two different worlds, culturally, spiritually and socioeconomically speaking.
My mother is from a middle class family raised in Florida (the part of Florida still considered the South culturally, but not as Deep South as the panhandle or west central part of the state). She was raised as an only child by a family friend in a part of town, one might refer to as the “black suburbs. She grew up in a time, where you were not valued as a woman, teachers did not expect much from you, and the Ku Klux Klan marched in the heart of downtown aided by the protection of the police.
My father, on the other hand, was raised in the streets of the “ironically” toughest towns in the country - and possibly the poorest, and maybe the blackest - Southeast Washington, DC. Brother of three tough sisters and a brother (whom I never got the chance to know), and the son of a “take-no-shit-from-no-one” mama, coming straight out of New York.
Then, there is me - an only child born to two very different people, in a foreign country, whose fairytale memories would one day offer hope in the challenges of childhood. A child who would move from Europe to the US before age one, and then a year later move again to live out the rest of her formative years in the citrus state.
At 18, like my parents before me, I would embark on adventures elsewhere. In search of answers to questions, I did not know I had; in search of meaning and a community of belonging I did not know, and most importantly to reveal aspects of my spirit, will, capacity and humanness I never imagined, could’ve planned and yet desperately needed to know about myself.
Travel, you see - whether through the pages of a book or the flickering images of a foreign scene captured in film or a travel series on tv, was not an escape for me - it was my process for discovering hope. Hope - and beauty, in the unknown, the overlooked and the certainly the unexpected.
Travel is one of the continuous threads in my life. Like art for me, it had nothing to do with extra money and leisurely time, but reflects an overall process of diving into the murky waters of my psyche to sort out and piece together the meaning and metaphors of the fragmented stories that compose and surround my life. It is a way of learning - a tool to sift through the rubble and jumble of everyday, ordinary life and discover something, someone, an experience inherently my own.
I suppose along with being born to travel, I was born to write - to observe every detail of an experience, embody it and through art represent it as a projection - processed through my physical body and restructured and presented to the world through my mind.
I had little to no money when I traveled, but rushed to greet every opportunity that presented itself to me, using what I did have - my power to learn, and my power to write. Intuitively I knew these experiences were priming me for something more than a vacation or personalized experience, but instead it was a portal, my path to walk through and meet on the other side.
Along the way, I discovered friends and allies whom I miss on the daily and wish I lived in closer proximity to - whether spending time studying the palms of “nuns” in the Buddhist temples of Thailand, participating in Vodou ceremonies under trees older than you or I, jumping off a pier in Denmark in the early morning hours, hiking the mountains and bathing in the glacial lakes of Switzerland, living in an art installation in the infamous Berlin, touring outdoor sculptures and dancing traditional dances in the middle of nowhere Latvia, or hitchhiking alone in Iceland - my adventures has transformed my perception of self and my place in the world around me.
Now, I often do not have much of a plan when I travel. I usually plan to meet up or stay with a friend, and then spend my days observing the people and interactions between people in different places - chilling at the local cafe, park or hostel on the regular. Day after day, until the stranger becomes the familiar face.
There have many uncertainties along the way - and much like my entrepreneurial life, I did not know where a lot of my resources would come from. However I trusted the unfolding of the process, and made it my mission to find every opportunity to move forward with my plans. Somehow, It worked. Somehow, I came to be in the places I imagined - and discover new places I never had before.
So as with travel, as with art, as with business, as with life - do like a blogger and do the following...
When you don't know where to start, put one foot in front of the other and just begin.