I remember when I first learned how large this world truly is. I couldn’t have been more than 6 or 7 years old at the time. The irony being that just a few years prior, I had traveled some 2 and a half thousand miles by plane to live in New York. And yet, the reality of earth’s size didn’t hit me on the plane, but in a classroom far away from a place I once called home.

Thinking about it now, it’s not quite a fair comparison to make. I was 4 years old at the time of coming to the United States, and I wasn’t at an age where I could truly appreciate what was happening and why. Yet, whenever I do actually travel, I think back to tiny little Miguel and how that original experience shaped me so much as a person that without it, I doubt I’d even be writing this post right now.

Traveling, to me, is a wonderful thing. It’s an act of complete cultural immersion–body and soul–into a hurricane of new realities. There’s this grand sense of wonder and amazement when you see how differently people lead their lives even though we all have a shared existence on this world. And then, there’s also reconciling these differences and learning that we aren’t all that different from each other.

This reconciliation adds humanity to how we see other people, and ourselves, when visiting other countries of the world. We come to learn how they live, thrive, and take their place in the grand cycle of life. And although their way of doing things is not quite the same as our own, we appreciate these differences and accept them as they are. And to me, there’s beauty in this acceptance.

I feel that to truly understand one another, we must understand what it’s like to lead different lives. To experience firsthand how other people source their emotions from their surroundings, and in turn, learn to turn these gathered emotions into something wonderful. It’s these beautiful acts of humanity that we can share with each other and learn from one another.

However, I feel that in this political climate this isn’t something that is done anymore. We live in fear of each other, but also in fear of ourselves; in our inability to make changes within ourselves, and within others, too. That’s not to say that my singular trip to Riga will be a source of great change. It won’t. But it can be the source of something more within me as an individual. And that change within myself is why I’m enthused to go on this journey.

I like to think of that being the ultimate goal with anything that we endeavor to do. To find a force for good within ourselves, and act on that force. And ultimately, inspire others to do so as well. That’s all we really need as motivation anyway, right? A little inspiration.

With that being said, it will be my first time traveling across the continent laterally as opposed to vertically. Furthermore, it will also be the first time visiting a country where I will be the minority, as I typically either go to Colombia or coastal islands near Colombia. All of these factors play in to such a new and exciting experience that I can’t wait to document through the photos I intend to take, and my journal.

Until next time!