Today I’m introducing a new travel series here on the blog- Traveling Tuesday! Once a week I’m going to begin sharing some of my favorite destinations around the world. I’ve traveled around but I definitely haven’t been everywhere I want to go yet! Have you been to a super awesome place that you want to share about? Shoot me and email and we can work out some guest posting details!
Without further ado–
Mexico was my first trip abroad, and the place I’ve returned to most. I first visited on a vacation with my family when I was in my pre-teen years, but really returned and lived for the first time as an exchange student in my sophomore year of high school.
At 15 years old, I packed my life into 2 suitcases and went to live with strangers.
Strangers who, even after all these years, I still consider family.
As a Rotary Youth Exchange Student, I met other students from around the world that all took part in a year-long exchange. Though we were spread out throughout the year, every few months Rotary would throw us an event so we could all get together and enjoy the camaraderie that comes from shared experiences. The ladies in the picture below were all a part of that group and are still close friends of mine. I’ve visited a few in their home countries since we’ve all returned!
In addition to that I was also lucky enough to be able to do quite a bit of traveling throughout the country and ended up seeing some incredible sights. These of course included the pristine, goldenrod, beaches of Acapulco and Cancun, among others.
I was able to visit the ruins of where my own ancestors once lived and thrived many, many years ago.
Throughout the year, I lived with 3 different families, each giving me a unique perspective into culture and life in the city of Morelia, Michoacan, Mexico. My own mother was also able to visit in the Spring, and we were able to travel around a bit because I had already visited several places with my host families!
My first host family had children with whom I speak with on a regular basis and love with my whole heart. My youngest sister just had her Quinceañera this past weekend, which just seems like she’s growing too fast! Isn’t she supposed to stay 7 forever?
My final host family consisted of only my host mother and myself. I still call her quite often and call her “Mama” because we really connected during my time there. It was just us on our own (her biological daughter was on exchange in Brazil while I was there) so we would adventure out every Saturday morning to a new place. Because of her, I was able to see more places around where we lived that I didn’t even realize existed!
It was also because of her that I learned to make killer guacamole, among other foods.
My time in Mexico saw my change from little girl into young woman, and really solidified my love of travel. After my exchange year, my whole life would change as I continued to have that travel bug and explored new places. More on that in the coming weeks!
Have you ever been out of the country? What was the first place you traveled that really grabbed your heart and gave you the desire to not only return, but continue traveling and learning about other places?