Every time I travel, I never return the same.
Traveling really transforms you. It takes your perspective and totally reconstructs. Let me tell you about the 2 most impactful trips of my life.
I never would have guessed that some day I would end up traveling to Africa. In grade school, it just seemed like a far-off place that you only learned about in school. My uncle was the ambassador to Democratic Republic of the Congo, the poorest country in the world. When I was entering seventh grade, we went to visit.
It’s incredible seeing something that you’ve learned about in a book come to life. All of the problems in Africa are very real and they’re something that people have to deal with on a daily basis.
While we were there, we hand-fed Bonobos and met Hillary Clinton. But the highlight of my trip was getting to meet our family’s sponsor child. A lot of families send money every month to children all over the world in need. Do they get to meet them? Very rarely. Seeing the conditions that Sarah, our child, was living in was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. We got to play with her, hold her hand, and meet her family. We brought her toys and played with her for the day until we had to go back to the embassy.
We left that day feeling very humbled and grateful. We were happy to have each other as a family and knew that there would never be another trip like this in our lifetimes.
The other trip that left me strongly impacted was our trip to South Korea the summer of 2015. We initially went to check out my Motherland, but ended up on a quest to meet my birth mother.
I’d never dreamed that one day I would be blessed enough to travel around the world to find my birth mother. That trip was really good for me. It left me with some answers to questions that I thought would be left forever unanswered. My mind was undoubtedly expanded with a newfound love and appreciation for not only my birth family, but my adopted family and my cultural background.
But beyond this, I left with great memories of exploring South Korea with my family all the way from Seoul, to the bottom of the peninsula, to crawling in an underground tunnel in the DMZ to North Korea.
These two trips are the most memorable trips for me so far. I’m sure there will be many more to come, but the mere ability to travel leaves me grateful beyond words.