I left the country for the first time this past May. I was mentally prepared to encounter the infamous culture shock I had heard so much about and when I stepped onto the Jose Marti tarmac just outside of Havana, I expected the worst.
I reveled in every new experience and asked for more.
As I watched most of the other students, and even a few of the faculty members, struggle with the differences of Cuba, I began to wonder why I felt so at home in a foreign place. This wasn’t supposed to happen.
I encountered the same sensation when I traveled to Mauritius a few weeks later in June. I readily adjusted to the island’s culture, this one even more different than the last. I greeted the Creole, curries, and fields of sugar cane with eager, open arms. But why? Or better yet, how?
The only reason I have come up with points to how I was raised.
My first camping trip involved three month-old Paige and snow; at four months-old, my parents were canoeing me through the swamps at Juniper Springs. My first time rafting came the following summer when I was 18 months-old and I have been hiking since before I can remember.
I realized that I have been travelling since birth. Just because I hadn’t left the country, it does not mean that the experience was not valuable. I have been introduced to new people, lands, and realities from the beginning and it impacted me more than I ever imagined.
Originally posted January 2016