Growing up in a Latinx household, I had limited beliefs around traveling
Coming from a middle-class family, I wasn’t exposed to traveling growing up. I used to think you had to have a lot of money to go places. Whenever I heard about anyone traveling to a tropical beach destination or water crafting across the country, I always thought “these people must be rich.” However, as I grew into a young woman, I started viewing things differently.
I questioned leisure activities, conducted research, joined travel groups, created budgets and figured out how to travel within my own means. All of this made me realize that you don’t have to be rich to travel. You just need disposable income and a proper budget.
Fast-forward to present day: 13 years after I got my first passport, I’ve traveled to over 40 countries.
Travel is now a huge passion of mine, and I’ve shifted my mindset to know I can go anywhere in the world with the right intention
There is nothing wrong with wanting to see as many countries as you can or having a mile-long bucket list. In fact, I encourage it! However, traveling with a purpose makes the trips even sweeter. When I travel with purpose, I set an intention beyond the getaway or the break from life at home. I choose to visit a place to have a meaningful experience, learn something new or even to give back in some way. When I do this I have more meaningful memories and feel fulfilled. It doesn’t mean you need to leave your country or travel halfway across the world to have a meaningful experience.
You can explore your home city or find hidden gems around the United States, such as the beautiful and diverse state of Michigan.
On a recent trip to Michigan, I was reminded how each U.S. state is so unique
I was blown away by the state parks, the waterfalls and all of the natural beauty. Most of all, I loved Michigan’s sense of community. I visited local towns like Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan’s oldest city and learned about the history, culture and people. I got to meet some of the local leaders and small business owners, including Ken Hopper of Bird’s Eye Outfitters. Ken took me on a kayak tour along St. Marys River, the border of the U.S. and Canada. It was here that I learned about the Soo Locks and how important they are in allowing thousands of ships to pass through each year.
Sault Ste. Marie had a lot to offer and so did the surrounding area of the Upper Peninsula. There are many stunning state parks such as Tahquamenon Falls State Park – nicknamed “Root Beer Falls” because of its brown hue – which has Michigan’s largest waterfall. You also have the natural beauty of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, tons of cool lighthouses and so much more. From hiking to stargazing, there is so much to do at these incredible parks.
Ultimately, what I’ve learned in the past years is that you don’t have to travel far to have a meaningful travel experience. By making the conscious effort to take more time to explore my own backyard, I’ve learned that there is so much beauty right here in the United States, especially in Michigan. So if you didn’t get the chance to study abroad or you put off travel because something got in the way, just know that it’s never too late. Catch that flight, hop in your car, drive across the country, take a train or even a ferry and explore. Remember that there is no age limit on travel. You’re never too old to get your first passport stamp, to take a sabbatical or do the things you’ve dreamt of doing. So do it. It’s never too late to travel with purpose and explore Michigan.
Check out michigan.org to learn more about all the natural beauty Michigan has to offer.