Travel is one of my loves. The road to self discovery came through my travels around the world. It wouldn’t be until 19 years old that I’d get to spend time traveling in Spain on a year abroad course. From this point forward, I spent the next 20 years wondering different cities and cultures for pockets of time until I came back to the northeast, after spending six years living in Singapore.
The story (of me) is a like a windy road. But I will give you a few reasons why it is important to take time to see the world and absorb the knowledge that comes from taking the plunge. At the age of 19 years I thought I knew it all but I really didn’t. After living in a college dorm and having my parents in a city close by, I was very protected. The first learning experience from my year abroad in Madrid was being able to cook my own meals. Because I was a student (and broke) and I couldn’t afford much so making my own food became a necessity.
After spending a year living in Madrid and pretty much every corner of Spain, with small trips in Switzerland, Germany, Holland, Morocco and France, I returned home to CA to finish my degree. I was very resolute that I had to go back to Europe for another stint studying. My university offered a strong language department. I studied two years of German honing my skills to be able to take on a new challenge, listening to tapes and watching any movies I could get a hold of so my ears would be trained. After tons of research, which by the way was before the Internet, I found an awesome program that offered a full ride one-year scholarship in Germany. This desire for travel made me resourceful and determined to be better. To my surprise, I was selected for this US Congress sponsored program to study in Germany for a year. **I also got rejected for a lot of them, like the Fulbright Scholarship but this didn’t deter me at all.
My year in Germany was different than the time in Spain. Studying in Germany was truly unique because I was a little older and almost at the end of being a student in a four year college, lots to think about and a very different culture than mine. I faced new challenges, most of which were personal. My heart was broken in a million pieces with the sudden loss of my mother while in Germany, hallway through the program. I was miles away when it happened and had to hop on the next plane to Peru to be with my family. In spite of this situation, I made the decision to return to Germany after a few weeks in Peru. While in Germany, I took intensive language courses, had an internship that actually paid me a decent salary, and a host family that took care of me like a daughter.
Interestingly enough, seeing different countries while being in Europe made me want to see more of the USA. I visited Miami, New York and Chicago after my return and made the decision that New York will one day be home. While being a high school and college student, California was home. Once I became a working professional, I was lucky that one of my jobs in New York had me traveling to places like Los Angeles, Miami, Chicago, Dallas and Houston very regularly.
And yet again, traveling made me understand where I wanted to be, reflecting and understanding my surroundings. I always knew California was not the place I wanted to settle in. After spending time between the east coast and Peru (where I was born), working and figuring out my life in my mid 20’s and early 30’s, I moved to New York. New York isn’t for everyone, it is intense, busy, loud but I love it. I arrived post 9-11 and learned to fend for myself eventually – by mid 2000’s I was settled (or so I thought). Then in 2006, I met my husband who is from London! Before thinking I was settled and never leaving, I fell in love and decided to move to east London. ** I had visited London several times before and thought it was a pretty cool place to be.
Not to be mismatched, my husband is an adventurer who also spent time traveling and working overseas just like me. While we were happily living in London almost a year into our marriage, he received a work offer we couldn’t pass up. “How does Singapore sound to you?”, is what he asked me one day. At this point, I had never been to Asia and was so intrigued, curious, excited, anxious, so before our move, we went to Singapore to check it out for a few weeks. Upon our return to London, we made all the right moves to make Singapore our semi permanent home for a two years that later became six YEARS. While in this tiny island called Singapore, I found my love for makeup at The Make Up Forever academy while being a new mom to my first born, a boy. Coincidentally this love for makeup led me to blogging and social media, a career path was paved in gradual blocks. Eventually, I returned home to New York/ New Jersey in 2013 and had my baby daughter Eva at NYU Hospital.
The point I am trying to make with this road to self discovery and my story traveling is that, life took me in these mini road trips. Some people are wanderers and some love to stay put, there is no wrong or right way to do you. I gave you an abridged version of twenty years where most of my work and money went to adventures, trips, love, loss, hardships, learning to cook, becoming a makeup artist, being a mom, a wife and a blogger. This to me, is what living fully is. My time in Asia was tremendously cathartic and therapeutic. There were times when I was very homesick, not going to lie. But there were also times were I felt most fortunate getting to travel the culture of Singapore and visiting countries in Southeast Asia, Israel, and Sri Lanka. However, being back in this side of the world makes it easy for me and my family to go to Peru. I finally went back to my beloved Lima, Peru earlier this year. Oh yes, lots of trips to my country were made in my 20’s, I can say I have seen a lot of Peru and it is magical. Another one of my favorite places to visit is Mexico, it is a super amazing land.
Abbott Global is asking the world to find what living fully means. You can head over to the quiz they’ve created to help you learn how to live your best life. The quiz helped me think about where I am and where I want to be as a human. Their #fullosophy campaign encourages everyone to make the most of his or her life through our own personal passions and goals. I still haven’t lost my sense of wonder and hope to remain this way for a long time to come.
When asked, “What makes you feel the most fulfilled?” on the quiz, I did not have one straight answer, I had to think long and hard. Choosing between my family and travel was tough since both are part of my happiness and what I am about.
How do you live your best life? What fulfills you?
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.