“Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends.”
I was born in Mexico City, Mexico in June of 1990 and immigrated with my family to California at the turn of the century. My English was awful and my first couple of months in school I cried more than I care to remember.
I was placed in a class with Chicano students. I think they thought that a recent immigrant would naturally fit in with a group of students of Hispanic descent. Well, that ended up not working out so well and I was transferred to an “experimental” class after about a month. This “experimental” class was a 4th/5th grade combination classroom with a new teacher to the school. Her name was Miss Manley. In that class I was definitely the only recent immigrant, but weirdly enough I fit right in. We had students that represented just about every option given on the “Ethnicity” part of every standardized exam given by the state of California. In other words, in this class I finally got to fit in…not because I was like the other students, but because we were all wonderfully unique.
From that moment on, I decided that this would be my place in the world. Having been discriminated for being different, I would present myself to the world as a citoyenne du monde -a citizen of the world.
My dreams of exploring the marvelous world that I knew I so rightfully belonged to were born then, but I didn’t exactly jet set off right away. In fact, it took me more than a decade to grow my wings.
When I tried to go to college, anxiety and panic attacks impeded my first attempt. I then made the life-changing decision to drop out of UCSB and move back home. I ended up feeling more comfortable staying with my parents and our pets and attending UCM, which was less than a 10 minute drive from our home.
Then, in 2009 I was in a car accident where my head missed being crushed by a tree by about 2 inches. It was this accident that led to the eventual diagnosis of my thyroid cancer.
Being diagnosed with cancer led me to question my existence. I was scared of course, but not just because I was afraid of dying…I was afraid of dying without having lived out my dreams of seeing the world.
On December 23, 2010 I underwent a complete thyroidectomy. I spent Christmas in the hospital, praying for my family, my friends, my pets, cancer patients all around the world; who I now felt a strong solidarity with- and I snuck in a prayer for the application I had submitted about a week before to spend a semester abroad in Paris, to be accepted.
I celebrated my first year of being cancer-free on a plane back to California from Paris, where I had spent 3 months studying in the 11th arrondissement, improving my French and traveling around Europe:
- Amsterdam in The Netherlands
- Antwerp in Belgium
- Barcelona in Spain
- and touring Italy for a week: starting in Rome, falling in love with Florence, leaning against the leaning tower of Pisa, and going for a gondola ride in Venice.
The three months flew by, and with each passing day I grew more and more convinced that this small adventure was just the beginning.
I spent a year in California and on January of last year I landed in Rio de Janeiro where I spent 6 of the best months of my life. While in Rio, I flew to Senegal, in West Africa for a week-one of my favorite travel experiences thus far.
I’m currently in London, doing an MA in Comparative Literature at King’s College, and planning my next adventure….my goal in life? To be happy. My ambition? To visit all 7 continents before my current passport expires on March 5th, 2018 (yes, even Antarctica).
Join me on my journey filled with wonder and wanderlust.