When I was 6 weeks old, I took my very first international trip: I was born in Trinidad & Tobago, and soon after my birth, my father took my mother and I from San Fernando, Trinidad, to State College, Pennsylvania, so my father could pursue graduate work at Penn State. Little did I know it, but this was the first of a lifetime of moves and trips all over the world. Because my father was a petroleum engineer, we moved every two years or so of my life; and once I was an adult, I didn’t stop. I may wear discount shoes and drive a beat-up car, but by gum, I try to make sure a year doesn’t go by without my leaving the country.
My passion for international travel is the usual, I suppose: I love discovering new places, new foods, new music, for sure. But it’s also more than that: it’s incredibly important for me to make connections with new people as well. When I travel, I want to spend time with locals, do what locals do, experience life as a local would. I want to connect in some way, however briefly it may be. The world keeps getting smaller, thankfully, and I want to learn as much about it as I can.
Next Thursday, I’m going to have the distinct pleasure of traveling to Ethiopia with the amazing ONE Campaign, and a brilliant group of Moms. The ONE Campaign is an advocacy organization focused on the fight against extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa. This is my second trip to Africa with ONE — my first was last year to Kenya, and it was an life-changing trip, not just because I was able to see and photograph so much of Kenya’s beauty and tell the wonderful stories of success in the battles against diseases like HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis; but also, selfishly, because of the people who I had the opportunity to meet — people with whom I continue to frequently communicate via email, Twitter and Facebook. And I’m so grateful that through ONE’s generosity, I was able to make friends who live, quite literally, on the other side of the planet from me.
When I return from Ethiopia, I fully anticipate that I’ll be sharing some of my favourite images and stories from my trip — but most importantly, the connections that were made. Connections for which I will be extremely grateful. I can’t wait to share them with you, and I hope you’ll enjoy them.
In the meantime, tell me: have you ever traveled internationally? If so, what was your favourite country? Why? And if you haven’t left your home country yet, where would you want to visit first?