I haven’t been traveling long, only the last few years, but even so, I have seen more beauty in those years than I have ever seen in my entire life. I grew up in Los Angeles, California USA. When I saw “Los Angeles,” most people picture palm tree lined streets running alongside the pristine beach, with fancy $18 dollar salads at the juice bar down the street and celebrities jogging in the perfectly manicured parks.

But I didn’t come from that part of Los Angeles. In my part of Los Angeles, I never thought I would even OWN a passport, let alone travel to over forty different cities all over the globe in the last two years. In my part of Los Angeles, I never would have thought that I would even make it out of my neighborhood.Though, there were still palm trees.

The hardest question posed to any traveler is asking them to choose their favorite place on Earth. Which parameters are being measured? Should I pick Singapore, where my friends and I would end every night at a Hawker Center, huddled around Michelin Star awarded plates for less than I pay for a tube of toothpaste. Every single piece of food I put in my mouth made my soul ascend to heaven.

Costa Rica was also incredible, where I could experience seventeen different adventures all within a span of day and still have time to watch a beautiful sunset. I climbed slumbering volcanoes, and rappelled down freezing waterfalls, and skipped over misty clouds.Or maybe I should pick Jordan, a country so deeply rooted in history that every site felt like I was witnessing the birth of religion. Where the sun on my face felt like time travel.

And then there’s Greenland, a country that has only recently become more accessible in the last few decades but holds strong community ties and traditions nestled under the cover of some of the most beautiful landscapes I had ever seen. Icebergs floating so silently, that it was almost like standing in a void. I keep going back to Mexico, for the color. The colorful food. The colorful streets. The colorful history. Mexico lights my heart on fire. But then there’s also Japan. I mean. IT’S JAPAN.

I wrestled over my answer, because every place is unique and incredible in its own way. Looking around my room, however, I instantly knew my favorite place on Earth.

Home.

Around my room, are souvenirs. All of the life changing memories in one place. A hand painted mural of Cuba. A certificate from volunteering at a Panda Research base in China. Skincare products from South Korea. Pressed flowers from France. Maple Syrup from Canada.

These are all things, yes, but also experiences. They are memories of experiences that have helped me grow and realize that the world is as big as I dream it. They are memories that encourage me to support local artists and recreate amazing global recipes in my own home. I walk outside and see my surroundings in a new light.

Traveling has given me the courage to step outside of my comfort zone, and get involved in my own community the way I immerse myself while abroad. I founded a non-profit organization, Global Dreamers Foundation, to sponsor young adults in under-served communities to also travel.

Traveling isn’t just about learning about other cultures. It is also about unlocking bits of yourself that you didn’t know existed. It’s about bringing those realizations back with you and impacting your surroundings for the better. My travels are enriching, but the real magic begins when I can be a more productive ally to other communities because I am constantly using that enrichment to better understand and uplift their perspectives and voices.

I have souvenirs and memories from all of my amazing trips, but home is where I can actually see the positive growth and change those trips have put into motion for me. Home is the reason WHY I travel.

There are a lot of beautiful places in the world, truly awe-inspiring places, but home will always be my favorite.

  • Kay Kingsman
  • : Kay is a travel blogger who is focused on making travel more relatable, inclusive, and accessible to those wanting to travel. Along with hilarious tourist tales and travel guides, her posts offer travel tips for communities who are frequently under-served in the travel community, with articles focusing on traveling with chronic illnesses, wheelchair users, and those that are hard of sight or hearing. Kay also uplifts local voices in interviews about their culture so that the audience may gain a deeper understanding of the region from a local's perspective.
  • : https://www.theawkwardtraveller.com/
  • : https://www.facebook.com/awktravels/
  • : https://www.instagram.com/theawkwardtraveller/
  • : You should visit The Awkward Traveller for fun, welcoming, and encouraging stories that will shape you to be a better global citizen. The Awkward Traveller is insightful, but not judgmental or condescending, so you can learn more about the world without being accused of being uncultured or ignorant for not knowing something. Travel is a literal journey, and we are all growing and learning from each other in The Awkward Traveller community. And telling bad puns, but those will grow on you.
  • : adult_(19_and_over_as_of_31st_december_2019)
  • : This is the first time this story has been published.

Vote for this Story