I can remember the chill of the air conditioning on my neck, being nervous but excited at the same time.
A flight attendant brings me a blue colored felt blanket to ease my goosebumps. My ears began to pop again and again. I start to cry but immediately Ma’ passes me a chicklet. My eyes grow heavier and heavier, till it is quiet.
My eyes shoot wide open after an announcement by the captain, “Welcome to San Juan, Puerto Rico”, and everyone claps once the wheels touch down. My sister looked out the window with excitement; “the motherland” of our bloodline. I remember getting off the plane, smelling fruit and moist earth mixed with fried food. Home.
I’ve been lucky to have gone back and forth between home and the motherland, every year, every summer. I am blessed our parents exposed us to culture and wanting us to retain and maintain this connection mattered to them. I know everyone’s experiences can be different due to circumstances or the way one was brought up. In today’s world, though, you can truly connect and gain insight into many cultures unlike ever before. About 10 years ago, it was a different kind of experience, because you had to know people, do your research through word of mouth, and travel solely by foot to learn where to go, what to do and how. There are so many parts of the world you can connect with right now, prior to visiting. You can go well equipped.
With Google, apps and companies like Ancestry.com or 23 & Me, you can find your bloodline, research your last name and find out ways to learn about your culture. You may even find family members you didn’t know you have.
Sharing some thoughts…
Proud or not, you come from a cultural line. It may be one dominant culture, consist of a fusion, or maybe you don’t know where your family is from. You may never even have stepped foot on the soil that bore the feet of your family’s journey before they arrived into the United States.
Don’t worry; it’s ok if you don’t know. It’s ok to learn as an adult. It’s ok to learn at any age, actually.
The reason why I’m sharing this is because traveling can be a source of inspiration, especially for those curious enough to want to find out about their heritage. Your imagination may wonder what it’s like growing up on an island, a tropical paradise where the water is so clear you see the marine life, music playing at 7pm on a Sunday, siestas shutting down businesses for the afternoon, games played on the corner of the block that create bondage among neighbors, being surrounded by trees and unfamiliar species which may frighten you, or the politics involved that impact how people engage with one another. Learning about these connections, and understanding them, as an adult may connect you more than you think. And this will be by choice.
Just think back to boring-ass history class during middle school. This time you’ll be learning hands on, as an adult. You’ll get to venture on your own, speak with locals from the area to gain more insight and ask “what it is that they love about their culture?” Places to see, things to do with people to meet. It’s all just a mindset. You don’t have to grow up with your bloodline to know it; you can now live it.
Final Word of advice…
We want to utilize our tools for connections, to get the best travel deals and prepare for our trips. But, when you do touch down on the ground, I recommend taking time to disconnect from technology in order to reconnect with your roots.
Technology has helped get you far, but now, here you are. Back “home.”
Wishing you the best trip possible as it will be enlightening, uplifting, emotional and an unforgettable experience for you that all becomes tangible once you’re there. It’s all about the journey, not the destination.
Anything above inspired you to travel, or need additional resources to get your travels started? Feel free to DM or tag us @Esc_Artists and using the hashtag #CreateYourTravels in your post.
Jasmine approaches each project with a familial sense and her own philosophy, “When you’re a part of my team, it makes me part of yours so we’re in this together. This has been the catalyst behind her work with the goal of creating, refining, toning and shaping uncommon stories not found in mainstream media whether producing content to live events or curating an art show. This is OUR story to tell.
If you’re in need of some additional inspo + resources feel free to follow us on social media (Insta @Esc_Artists/FB Escape Artists Collective) to DM us or email info@EscapeArtistsCollective.com