Have I mentioned that I’m an immigrant? It’s a detail that people often don’t realize about me (although, if you know me personally and know my family, there’s no way you haven’t picked up on it!)
I was born in England and moved to the United States in August of 1992 with my parents and older sister, Katy. The move was supposed to be a short stint for my dad’s job, but obviously it didn’t work out that way. It has been 23 years since we made our move across the pond, and it looks like we’re here to stay.
I have distant memories of England that mostly consist of climbing on my late Grandad Des’ shoulders, playing with my sister in our playroom, and riding in the car to the sound of rain (the sound of windshield wipers always takes me back to a time I can barely remember, in a place that will always feel like home.)
I grew up as an English girl in America. In some ways, I grew up a lot like any other kid in Cincinnati. In other ways, my life has been very different. The experiences I’ve had in my life have made me…me. Like anyone’s experiences, mine have had their ups and downs. Moving to a new country meant that I’ve never known what it is like to have extended family gathered around at Christmastime, or to have had grandparents there to celebrate my wedding day, or to have not been teased (and sometimes bullied) for talking “funny” as a kid. I see my extended family sporadically at best – years pass without being able to hug my aunts and uncles, grandparents pass away before I can say goodbye, and cousins grow up from babies to teenagers to adults.
With that being said, there are lots of the positives. I have a broader worldview than I believe I would have if I was born and raised here in Cincinnati, without such close exposure to another part of the world. I know there is more to see than what’s just past my front doorstep. I know how to manage distance between me and the people I love. I know how to be flexible – I understand that life can change in huge, drastic ways, that it can be scary, and that you can work through it and find people, places, and experiences that are incredible. And I know, thanks to my incredible parents, that taking that unexpected change on with your partner and best friend by your side can make it a lot less scary. I know that family is everything – and that no matter where life takes you, or however far apart you are, that never changes.
Although I will always feel that I missed out on making memories with my extended family growing up, there is a silver lining. Whenever I get to spend time with my aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents, it is so special. Growing up, I saw a lot of my friends take that time for granted. They had no idea how lucky they were! My wedding day was made even more special because so many family members made the journey to be there to celebrate with us. It brings tears to my eyes to think about my cousin, Jemma, who stood by my side that day, and my Auntie Sue, who read the famous passage from 1 Corinthians to us during our ceremony. I cherish the times I’ve been able to spend with my family more than I can represent with words – those memories means everything to me.
Another bonus? I believe that my experience as an immigrant has given me an insatiable desire to travel. As someone who grew up between cultures, I want to see life from other perspectives. I want to meet people from other places and see the world through their eyes. I want to understand them. This desire drove me to save for a trip to Japan in high school, rather than save for a car. It is what led me to Russia as a freshly-graduated 18 year old (instead of to the beach to party, like so many of my friends). It’s what drove me to study abroad in college and spend an unbelievable 4 months living in Rome and trekking around Europe.
So, maybe I’m a bit of weirdo – choosing plane tickets over things like cars and parties. But I believe that when you travel, you become more understanding, more compassionate, and more accepting. It connects me with people – whether I’m traveling back to the country that was once home, or I’m traveling to somewhere completely new, looking for adventure. My experiences as an immigrant have encouraged me to always try to look at the world from another point of view – to always be mindful of other perspectives. These are some of the best decisions I’ve ever made, and experiences that I’ll carry with me always.
Where did you get your love of travel?
Until next time,