I was a bookworm as a child. I would voraciously read anything I could get my hands on. This included the dusty old encyclopedia set that had been left in our house by previous owners. It must have been from probably the 1960’s. It was bound in greenish-brown cloth with gold letters on the side depicting which alphabetized content each one included. Always a girl with a goal, I started with the letter A and planned to work my way down the whole shelf. As I was reading I came to the entry on Africa. I was mesmerized! In small black and white pictures a completely different world than one I had ever encountered was depicted.
I lived in a small college town in Kentucky and my perspective of the world was one that was very white, very academic and rather sheltered, but I loved to read and that was my window to the world. Stories, biographies, novels – they all opened my eyes to new places and people and ideas. The travel bug bit me and I long to visit the whole world.
Finally my sophomore year of college I had the chance to visit Africa. As the plane ascended into the air I realized I couldn’t really imagine what life must be like there. All the pictures and stories I had read didn’t really give me an idea of it would really be like to be there. My plane landed in Nairobi and I walked out into the airport and smelled the mixture of diesel fumes, body odor and the unique smell of Africa. I knew then I would never be the same.
Since that first trip to Kenya and Nigeria, I’ve had the opportunity to travel to Europe, Asia and South America. I have left pieces of my heart in the rice fields of Thailand, the streets of Santiago, the mountains of Peru and the slums of India along with hundreds of people I’ve been privileged to meet.
I know that the experiences travel provides changes a person. Meeting and interacting with people who are so different, yet so similar changes our view of the world and our place in it. Creating a window into people and stories across the world allows us to open the window of our own lives in ways we might never had imagined. My dream for Blue Dot is to create a bridge that ties people together through understanding and shared experience.