Over the last couple of months, I realized that my 100th post was approaching and I started brainstorming ideas for the day when my fingers would hit the keyboard for the 100th time. I thought about making a list of my top post, but I usually save that for my end of the year post. I also thought about writing a list of favorite trips or my favorite post, but I covered that on both my first and second anniversary. As I continued to play the “what to write about game” the answer came a couple of weeks ago in the mail from the People to People Student Ambassador Program. Let me explain.
My son and I had traveled for three years before I ever considered writing a travel blog. We started traveling because I wanted to enhance his learning experience by visiting places that he learned about in school. I also wanted him to see that the world is bigger than the small town we live in and even larger than NYC, which is just a train ride away. I wanted my son to become courageous and curious, knowing that it would lead to great opportunities to learn about himself, our country and the world for that matter. In a time when we are all connected in a digital world, I wanted him to become not just a good citizen, but a global citizen, respecting everyone and judging no one. As we would visit different places, I noticed the experiences were positively impacting my son, and his perspective was broadening through exposure to various kinds of experiences that were the result of our travels. I recognized how traveling changed my son, but I didn’t think he ever considered how our travels coincided with his personal growth. I was wrong and pleasantly surprised. When he received the invitation from the People to People Student Ambassador program a couple of weeks ago to travel for twenty-two days next summer without me to Fiji, New Zealand and Australia he begged me to let him go. How could I say no? He has become courageous and curious.
After reading the letter just one time, I knew I was going to let my son travel as a student ambassador. Of course, the price tag did give me pause, but I just said to myself, “you will find a way” and realized I need to look at it as an investment into his future. My son agreed that he would do odd jobs like raking leaves and shoveling snow and hold a fundraiser to try to earn half of the tuition. As a result, I know he will learn the value of hard work.
He is looking forward to learning about architecture, art, conservation, geology, history, oceanography, and political science. In addition to the knowledge he will gain, he is going to grow as a young adult by traveling without me and participating in the leadership and community service programs. Pretty good ROI, if you ask me.
It was at this moment that I realized that the choice to give up certain material things over the last seven years to travel to provide my son with life changing experiences has paid off. You see our traveling has always been about experiences and growth.
I didn’t set out to travel to write, but I write because I travel. Traveling has turned me into a storyteller, and this blog has become my travel diary which keeps our memories alive.
As I write this 100th post, I realize that I too have grown. I am courageous and curious, and it increases with every trip I take and every word I write. As a teenage girl, being told, “You are a nobody” resulted in having thought that I was boring. ”She refused to be bored, chiefly because she wasn’t boring” became one of my favorite quotes. It is was once spoken by Zelda Fitzgerald, another southern gal that moved to NYC.
Even before I was aware of this quote, it was my personal motto and is what drove me to want to try new things and go to places that I have never been before. As hurtful as those words once were, I am grateful that they were spoken to me because they made me courageous and curious. Being courageous and curious has afforded me incredible experiences and makes me feel like I am living and taking advantage of God’s great world. Courage and being curious in my opinions are staples for a happy life which are why it was so important to pass those traits to my son. It seems that his eagerness to travel across the world, live with a family in New Zealand for a few days, and rappel down a 100-foot wall solidifies that I have succeeded. I am filled with happiness because my son is starting to live and is taking advantage of God’s great world. What more could a mother want for their child?
Has traveling made you courageous and curious?
To learn more about my son’s upcoming trip, check out the Journey Through the South Pacific.