As a kid, a lot of us were taught, “You can be anything!” or “You can go anywhere!” or “The sky is the limit!” If you are anything like me, I believed it. I wanted to be everything. I wanted to be a teacher and a lawyer and a doctor and business owner and a model; anything and everything. I also wanted to go everywhere, I wanted to see the world. However, I am inclined to believe, I was under the impression that other country’s weren’t far off (nothing a 3 hour flight couldn’t handle).
At the ripe age of 12, I was preparing myself for college and by 13 years old marked Howard University down as the place to go (I did graduate from Howard University, for the record). During that same year my military brat cousins had just moved back to the States from London and I couldn’t be more excited since they were all born overseas and had only visited a couple of times in those years. My first question for the oldest was, “So what’s it like over there?” Not even really sure what I expected the answer to be, or what I would do with the answer, or really how intelligently an 11 year old could articulate culture. She quickly replied, “It’s cool, but *insert best British accent* Everyone talks like this.” I was in love immediately, I practiced the accent with her and then we would go to the mall and walk around the stores pretending to not be from “hier.” I made up my mind that I was going to London and maybe the best way to do that would be to attend Oxford University for undergrad instead.
Well, high school had come and gone, so did my time at the illustrious Mecca, and still no London. In fact, I hadn’t even left the country to go anywhere, my limits were seemingly much closer than the sky. Between time or money, international travel seemed to be out of my grasp. I moved all over the country after graduation and found my way back to good ol St. Louis: my hometown.
So here I am March of 2013: no children, no significant other, working what I now perceive to be a dead-end job, not even half way through my Master’s program and feeling very unfulfilled. Fortunately for me, and part of the reason why I chose Webster University, I attended a school with International campuses, one of which was London! I hurried to order a passport, I quickly submitted my paperwork to the school to do a semester abroad. I knew I wanted to wait and leave in the Spring time, whereas not to spend my birthday and the big holidays away from my close friends and family. The University granted me enough money to pay for my roundtrip flight. So before I knew it, it was January 2014…nervous and excited, but about to live out a 16 year old dream….
That’s where this travel love story really began. Sure I had done more than enough domestic travel, but that was all safe and easy. I was excited by the tough love that international travel provided me, the challenge of finding your way in a foreign land.
International EO, that’s my handle.