When I was a child, I was the curious kid who would sit in the backyard on her swing and wonder, “What is a child my age in China, Africa, or South America doing right now?” I would try to imagine how their life might be similar or different than mine and wonder how do they feel? What does play time look for them? Are they loved and protected? Do they build things in their sandbox like me?
At age seventeen, an incredible opportunity came along. The little town where I grew up (of just over 900 people) would host a foreign student exchange carnival each year as a fundraiser to send one young person overseas for a summer. It had been years since anyone had taken advantage of this opportunity and I wanted it so badly. My mom consulted with one of the Board members and before I knew it, she was helping me save and plan for this grand adventure. I worked three jobs that year and set off to become the grassroots ambassador I imagined myself to be. My first time ever on a plane, I ventured out into the unknown and embarked on my journey as a Youth For Understanding exchange student to The Netherlands.
That summer experience taught me so much about myself. And it gave me an awareness of how similar we are as human beings. We all need love, laughter, and a sense of community and belonging. On the other hand, it showed me unique cultural approaches to interpreting and navigating the world. Some of which I brought home with me and some of which made me appreciate my own culture in ways I couldn’t have imagined.
That is when I was bitten by the travel bug. That experience fundamentally changed my life and set me on a course (with some detours) where I continue to journey to new places, explore cultures, learn, and exchange in our shared humanity. In this space, I hope to share and explore journeys of the soul (what is our true nature), sol (the Spanish word for sun, representing the culture of South America, but also sharing our light), and sole (hiking journeys and walking meditations).
I invite you on this journey with me and I thank you for joining me here. The world needs healing. And healing begins with us. Let’s walk this journey together my sunshine.