I haven’t always been a big traveler.
In fact, for about 13 years, I lived in the same town with the same people and never really even thought about venturing away from it. I was comfortable where I was, and of course, I was still in grade school, so I suppose I didn’t have much of a choice but to stay.
It wasn’t until my freshman year of college when I went on my first international trip. At Kennesaw State, I was a part of an honors group called PEGS (President’s Emerging Global Scholars), in which we focused on the world and the impact we have on it. In order to understand how we could work with other countries to make the whole world a more efficient, self-sustaining, and all-around better place, we planned to travel to a different country every year for a first-hand international experience.
Unfortunately, we were only able to take 2 international trips during my time there, but I still accredit PEGS to sparking my interest in travel.
It’s hard to believe that it’s been 4 years since my trip to Brazil. From exploring the city of Salvador and visiting the churches and government buildings, to spending time on a beautiful beach and going to a small fisherman’s village to volunteer at the children’s school there, this first international trip truly opened my eyes to A LOT.
First, it opened my eyes to poverty and just how evident the divide between rich and poor could be. We could be in a wealthy part of the city or on the breathtaking beach shores for a second, and then the next, we were in an impoverished part of town, where people lived in the slums with very little food and resources.
Second, it made me realize how blessed I am. I have been given so much, from a caring family to the resources I need to survive (and much more) – but it also made me question why. Why did I have so much when some people have so little? And more importantly, how did they seem somehow happier than I was? At all times, these Brazilian people who appeared to have nothing somehow acted like they had everything. They were so happy and so welcoming. It really made me re-evaluate my life.
Third, it amazed me how much pride these people had in their country. They waved their flag and talked about Brazil like it was the best place they could ever live. Since I had lived in the U.S. all my life, I had always assumed that we were the greatest country, but it’s not like I ever raved about it. Seeing these prideful Brazilians made me wonder why we didn’t shout out our pride about this land of the brave & free; moreover, it made me realize that we really should. It’s funny now, as it wasn’t until moving to Colorado that I ever thought people could have so much pride when it comes to the U.S. state they live in, but boy are these people proud of this state and I absolutely love it!
Lastly, it inspired me to find a passion – to find something that lit my fire, just as these people in Brazil seemed to have found. For years, I had been searching for something, anything that made me passionate. Of course, I had always found that passion in my family, friends and running, but I felt that I needed to find more. I think my fire was lit more than I realized after this trip – lit for life, for traveling, for more experiences. I believe that this trip inspired my passion for all of these things, and more.
The trip to Brazil changed my mindset. It changed my perspective, and ultimately, it changed my life.
Looking through the pictures, every memory from my time there rushes back to me. I know that these poorly taken pictures will not have that same effect on you all, but since I see this blog as a little something for you and for me to look back on, I’ll share some of these snapshot memories here ~