How I Caught the Travel Bug
A lot of people are surprised to hear my first trip ever was at a month old from Newark, New Jersey to Lima, Peru with only my mother. Not only because I was very young but also because traveling internationally with practically a newborn can be a great challenge.
This was the first of many trips to the motherland by my sister, Bianca, and I. Practically every summer we would spend in Lima with our grandparents and cousins. Our parents would usually join us at some point during our stay and take us outside of Lima to get to know Peru even better.
This definitely contributed to my want to explore and discover new places but so did the countless road trips we did throughout the United States. As a family, we road tripped from New Jersey to Colorado/Illinois/Florida on numerous occasions. At the time we had a station wagon and we’d put a mattress in the back where my mom, sister, and I would play card/board games or sleep while my dad drove us to the next destination. I’ll always have fond memories of these moments we shared together.
The moment I knew I was hooked
If I could pinpoint when I caught the travel bug and that I was officially hooked on travel when I was 14. In Latino culture it’s common to have a Quinceñeara to bring in your 15th birthday. My parents were willing to give me the party of my dreams, if I wanted, or send me to Europe for 3 weeks. I had never crossed the Atlantic and seen the rest of the world and I was intrigued.
The trip I would be going on would consist of visiting Switzerland, Germany, Holland, Belgium, France, and England. At this point I definitely wanted to see the Eiffel Tower, as this was what I knew I could see in Paris. So I gave up the celebration for the trip of a lifetime.
I don’t regret it for a second. It expanded my worldview more than I could have imagined and I knew I wanted to keep seeing new things. Which is why the following year instead of having a Sweet Sixteen, the United States’ version of a Quinceñeara, we went to China. I was able to see with my own eyes places I had only read about, such as the Forbidden City and the Terracotta Warrior statues of Xian.
After these two trips I knew that travel would be a priority for me. Which is why I’ve made sure to allocate money towards future trips even if that meant saying no to every day outings or activities.