I was ten when I received my first map of Africa from a National Geographic, I was obsessed with it. I traced the lines over Mount Kilimanjaro, imagined being in the African Rainforest breathing in the luscious greenery, on a safari overlooking the lions roaming the pride lands, or in the Sahara sleeping under the stars. I made a promise to myself from an early stage in life, that I would do whatever it takes to travel and see these incredible places, and extraordinary cultures that the world had to offer.
I was enthralled and completely obsessed with the idea traveling. Raised by a single father, and well, the vegan, wandering-soul that he is, it's no surprise I turned out the way I did. Health food and optimism was pushed down my throat which I am now incredibly grateful for (even though I may not have been at the time).
In high school I experienced my first big trip out of the country, but was taught a very important lesson. The trip took my class to Spain, Portugal and Italy but I did not appreciate everything nearly as much as I would today. I was a bratty teen who cared about myself a little too much if you ask me. But don't we all go through this faze in life? The "I want things my way or no way" type of ideology we metamorphosis through in our teen years as we learn how to handle the emotions that encircle us on a daily basis. I think this was a crucial stage in my life because I can now look back and firmly say I am not that person anymore.
Fast forward to college, and things are different. I'm working through those emotions but now in a healthier way: through therapy. And I decide I need a change. I've always been a motivation to myself, I wake myself out of dumb moments and work myself through painful ones. At the end of the day, I believe you are your number one motivator. If you don't believe in yourself why should anyone else? I grew antsy to fulfill these passions. I wanted, no, needed to travel. I began looking at study abroad programs. I signed up for just about every program in Africa with high hopes. My dad just about had a heart attack (not a fan of his only daughter heading to this continent solo), so I scaled back and looked into other programs. Believe it or not Semester At Sea was shown to me on my Instagram at one point as I was searching through people's travel photos. Semester At Sea, besides being the most incredible program to exist ever in this world (too much?), is an eye opening experience where you live on a ship for 4 months and dock in approx. 14 countries (give or take, it changes often). I chose obviously the program choice that would go to Africa at some point and my dad gave me the okay.
When he was my age, my father decided to set sail around the world on his own, using the stars and some maps to navigate his way around. At the time his mother, my grandmother, thought he was absolutely insane but no one could stop him from pursuing his dreams. Starting off in Tahiti, he finished the trip in Hawaii where he met my mother. Thus I was born and raised in Hawaii.
I explained to him how much I wanted this program, but I proved it when the finances were questioned. I applied to every single financial aid/scholarship there was and emailed them daily to try and get something (after all my solo parent was paying for this). I ended up getting a work study program scholarship and this was the final push we needed to move forward. This was happening.
Semester At Sea is where I became more confident in being able to travel the world and it became my norm for 4-5 months. I grew used to the chaos, the food, the cultures, the people and loved every second of it. I decided to make a new pact with myself as well: to be able to travel solo as a woman and prove to other young girls that they are capable of doing anything. And within a year after the program ended I took off and did just that. I took on France, Switzerland, Germany and Italy on my own and worked through some tough moments after a bad breakup. Eat, pray, lovin' every minute of it. Some days I doubted myself but that only made me want to prove myself wrong and break out of that comfort zone I grew so fond of. I wanted to motivate myself to become the person I knew I could be. I often wondered...Why do we limit ourselves? At what point does that start to happen? It bothered me that it was such a norm for us to do this.
The goal of my blog is to make you believe that you can do anything in this world. As a woman, I am also specifically speaking out to you ladies, because we are often times limited by societies ideas of how we should be behaving or that we should stay inside where it is safe if there are bad people out there. Here's the thing, there are bad people everywhere in the world. Never let your fears keep you from doing everything you want to do in this life. My promise to my audience: I promise to be honest, I promise to continue to motivate and prove that you can do anything you put your mind to. I promise to share my journey and grow, learn, and cultivate the person I am into who I want to be in this life. I promise to never be perfect, but to show you positivity when you might need it most, because I've been there and understand you, see you and will always be an open mind for you. This is a safe space.
Welcome to Backpacking Bee xx