Perú as a catalyst to who I am today

For me, there are moments in life that I look back to and think, “Oh, that is why I am doing what I am now!”

Myself with my favorite animal, a llama.

As I am advancing farther and farther into my academic, professional and personal lives, I realize that I am making choices based on what began in my senior year of high school.

While that is usually a very formative time for young people, with college applications, prom, and every “last” you can imagine at that point in your life, I believe that that year was especially integral to the formation of who I am today at 20.

I intend for this blog to follow my experience of living in a consistent state of juxtaposed seasons of life. Topics ranging from being married while still in college, moving to Italy, transferring into an online education, gaining work experience abroad and chronicling our travel adventures throughout Europe will be featured.

The thing is, I do not think I would be making any of the major life choices that I listed above had it not been for my trip to Perú for my senior year spring break. I would continue in the path of a traditional 4-year college education, never deviating and always running the hedonic wheel of professional competition.

Before my senior year of high school, I had never been outside of the country, aside from the Bahamas when I did a commercial for Atlantis Resort (more on that later).

But as it happened, my best friend and her mom were going to visit their family, and they invited me to go.

Almost without a second thought, I decided that I would go. I gathered all the required materials for the passport application, saved the money, and drove myself down to the Ocala Clerk of Court to send it off.

Something weird happens to you when you suddenly find yourself some place where you never thought you would be, discovering things that are directly opposed to what you have been taught.

Myself (left) and Tessy (right) doing attitudes on a fountain in Perú.

When we landed in the Lima airport, I gasped at the sight of millions of little lights illuminating the ground like stars.

“We are in another country!” I yelled, much to the chagrin of everyone sitting close to me in the economy plane cabin.

From that moment on, I decided that I would continue learning Spanish, if for nothing else then to be able to communicate more with my friend’s grandma, who only spoke Spanish.

I realize now that the Spanish language was only the tipping point of my desire to travel, experience different cultures and be a communicator for our increasingly interconnected world.

Even as I was feeling this inter connectedness through my first remembered experience traveling, it was also on this trip that I was waiting for a call from my (then) boyfriend who was in basic training for the United States Air Force. When the call was supposed to come, I was not able to answer due to my phone being on airplane mode for the duration of the trip.

Missing a phone call from someone you love after only communicating through letters for weeks brings a lot of things into perspective. I was at once sad, but also coming to the realization that I could not just live my life in one place, waiting for things to happen. Micah, my boyfriend then and husband now, just said that he was proud that I was on that trip.

Where in the past I would have felt guilty for not being able to pick up when he called, I felt empowered to have these experiences and to learn from them. I got to tell him about my travels in my next letters, and I had a celebratory reunion with my family where I told them all I got to learn while I was gone.

Because of my spring break in Perú in 2018, I began to place emphasis on not planning my life out of fear.

When I enrolled at the University of Florida, and was deciding what I wanted my outside concentration to be, I remembered how good it was to be able to speak with people with different experiences colored by a different language and culture. I chose to focus on Spanish to supplement my study of public relations.

Understanding the importance of globalized experience, I am now confident enough to begin learning Italian in preparation to move with my new husband to Italy for two years.

While I am scared, I am also excited for this opportunity to become even more globally-minded, and understand another side of the communications profession.

Myself holding a pitcher of Chicha Morada, a purple juice made from corn that is commonly drank in Perú.

All this from just a few days of acquiring family in Perú, drinking Chicha Morada and traveling for what felt like the first time.

It is this experience that I feel my values have developed, and I thought this would be the perfect place to begin this blog.

Thank you for reading!

Until next time,

Victoria 🙂

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