When we travel, we accept the invitation to grow. Whether it’s a new destination or somewhere we’ve been a million times, it provides a chance to escape our reality and tap into the realities of others, leaving us forever changed in ways we never thought possible. For today’s post, the members of KAE wanted to share our most influential trips with you. Check it out!
In regards to influential places, I would have to say Jamaica and Uganda. My family is Jamaican and we have been visiting for as long as I can remember. Traveling to Jamaica for so many years taught me the beauty of living authentically. From the moment I step off the plane into Jamaica, I am immediately and consistently met with the radiant smiles of Jamaicans, the savory food, and the smell of salty beach water. Traveling to Jamaica is 'love' personified. Love not only for the island but for my family that is still living there. My great aunt, my aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends of the family. Many say they vacation to "escape life". When I travel to Jamaica, I do quite the opposite. I travel so life does not escape me. I travel so that I am reminded of my foundation. My culture. My love for all people and the beauty that can be found in differences.
Uganda is also influential because it was there where the idea of KAE was birthed. During two civic engagement trips in 2009 & 2010 to build a school classroom, kindness was something that stood out so much that I knew that I wanted that to be my lifelong message. I saw its presence and witnessed its impact on my life. My parents always focused on living outside our bubble and made sure we were exposed to things outside ourselves. Other ways of life that we would not approach with hesitation or ignorance, but with love, kindness and equality.
The most influential place for me thus far has been Chicago. My father was born and raised there and it has become a second home, but unfortunately, I’ve never met Chance the Rapper (sad face). The “Windy City” has opened my eyes to the fact that though a place may seem to hold many tourist attractions and magical moments, it also houses areas of despair that no one seems to care about. If we really examine ourselves, we as people can be the same way. Because of Chicago, I’ve made it my motto to see past someone’s highlight reel and appreciate people for everything they are, loving the beautiful and “ugly” parts equally and mending their brokenness where I can. That’s what being kind is all about.
This week, I encourage you to think about all the places you’ve traveled to and write down something you saw that changed you. When you’re done, we hope these experiences represent more than stamps on your passport and become lessons you’ll never forget.
We'd also love to your hear how travel has impacted you! Email us your story for a feature on our blog!