My daughter has been on this Earth for nine years. In that time I've tried to maintain one constant in her life -- travel.
On a recent trip to Rhode Island, I scoured through old family photos. In walking down memory lane, I came across a picture of 4-years-old me; I was in Guatemala. My sister and I were on a chartered bus filled with family. Peering into that lens were two young adventurers in a foreign land.
If I'm honest, I can't remember that exact moment and what it meant to me, but I can appreciate what it represented to my parents. It served as a bridge to connect their children with an existence they left behind, an important trip for their children to connect with their homeland.
As the years continued - my parents took us back to Guatemala. They were not adventures by any stretch of the imagination, but I have fond memories of the travels we shared together. It is only now that I can appreciate how these experiences would shape my life.
Our trips planted the seeds of possibility. It was in our family travels that I would garner the courage to venture out into the world on my own and move away from the United States at nineteen.
I first landed in Guatemala and seven months later would live in Germany for two years, eventually coming back to the states.
Tiny human in the big world
I have fond memories of my time spent abroad. It was in my travels that this naive kid would find young love. That love eventually led to the birth of my daughter in 2008. Early in her life, I realized something worth sharing with her, and it stemmed from what my parents had introduced to me. I wanted to expose my daughter to a different way of living through travel.
I masterminded a plan introduce her to a reality where the world was more than her daily surroundings. A reality where the world and its people didn't seem foreign.To date, we've traveled to 4 countries, and various cities around the U.S. Our most recent trip abroad had us in Thailand and Cambodia.
My lifelong plan with her revolves around the ability to travel. A trip once or twice a year until she turns eighteen. Why eighteen you ask? Well, at the end of this crusade I plan to fund a full year exodus for her to explore the world before going to college. You know the gap year model. My only stipulation is that she travels with intention and purpose, doing some good in the world along the way, finding and discovering this beautiful planet.
Travel changed my life in ways I continue to discover. It has encouraged me to be open-minded, to shift my perspective on a global scale, to understand there is much value in our differences and universal similarities between all of us as a species.
These are the lessons I'm hoping as a dad and more so a human being to impart to a future generation. And as they say, change can start in the smallest of places.
Father, traveler, self trained creative, and spectator of life. The quest is to live a life intentionally, to construct a life of my choosing. I left the comfort of home at the age of nineteen and have been enjoying the Viaje as it unfolds ever since