How Travelling Changed My Life

From a young age, I always had a love and passion for traveling, and my first time flying solo was my freshman year of high school. As my best friend and I embarked on a mission trip in Tuba City, Arizona, we were prepared for what we knew would not be an ordinary spring vacation. Since I had been doing community service since the age of 7, I had a constant vision for change in the world, knowing that just myself could not influence this. As sophomore year of high school rolled around, I went on another mission trip, this time to the rainforest in Puerto Rico. As my friends at home oohed and ahhed at the thought of me vacationing in Puerto Rico for spring break, again, to me, this was not vacation.

 

As I began my senior year of high school, I thought it would be just another typical year of high school filled with college tours and the common app. To my surprise, that April of my senior year, my mom and I embarked on a trip that I will always turn back to. At the time, I had already been involved with a nonprofit organization called Connect Africa for 10 years. I can remember being 7 years old and unable to fathom the idea of children my own age, unable to attend school on a regular basis in the same way that my brother, friends, and I could. While this trip was also during a spring break, it did not feel like a vacation either. Rather, it felt like a cultivating learning experience.

 

As my mom and I traveled through Uganda, visiting schools and women in the village, I felt a sense of culture shock as I returned to my Boston home. However, after processing my experience and journey, I was able to think back onto the years of lemonade stands and letters with children in the village, and feel gratefulness as I’ve been given the opportunity to give to women and children through Connect Africa, while they give to me in allowing me to cherish and better understand why I got involved with the organization at 7 years old-an appreciation for cultures and aspects of life different from my own.

 

My involvement through Connect Africa has allowed me to further explore my love for not only travel, but also for cultural interactions, and in turn, my sociology major.

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