Can you tell us about your background?
Well, my mother and I have been traveling for just over 5 years now, through Central and South America, after a certain economic crash back in 2008, which served as a catalyst for our lifestyle change. My mother used to run a successful boutique branding agency in LA, but after an economic down turn, she was forced to close it, which through a long chain of events, brought us to where we are today.
How many countries have you been to?
I have been to a total of 14 countries over the last 5 years now, ranging from Mexico to Panama, to even Peru.
So with all these travels how do you usually identify yourself?
As a nomad, visiting local, and even as a Third Culture Kid. We like to travel around a lot and enjoy immersing ourselves into the host countries culture.
You’ve travelled, lived and worked in several countries. Can you tell us what you’ve learned from your time overseas?
I have learned that there is nothing to be afraid of, that the world is a pretty welcoming place, and that (above all else) we’re all human. The world is truly a great place, filled with colorful traditions and cheerful people.
How do you find the balance between school/travel?
The balance is essentially my life. I am an unschooler, or worldschooler as I like to call it, which means that I don’t separate learning from my day-to-day life; I learn to live, and live to learn, and traveling undoubtedly enhances and enriches that experience.
Can you talk to me about what you and your mom do?
Well, on a daily basis we live our lives how we want to, whether it means following our passions (such as visiting ancient ruins and exploring history) or just simply living hand to mouth. But in the long run, my mom and I run immersive learning retreats for teens, which aim to provide intensive and experiential learning in the form of temporary learning communities.
What is one way in which you connect with people when you travel
By not putting up any boundaries. Be a friendly and genuinely nice person, and you’ll be sure to have a few interesting conversations. For example, just earlier today I had an incredibly charming conversation with a little old lady who just wanted to talk and share her culture, and was very interested in ours. Friendliness is universal.
Transitioning here to your personal life. How have resolved that feeling of home?
“Home”, to me, is an entity of nostalgia, not a physical place. It’s honestly just memories of growing up and of my favorite moments and learning experiences that have stuck with me through the years.
My mission statement is “use your difference to make a difference” and that is something I try to live by everyday. What is one way you use your difference to make a difference?
By looking at the world as an insider, rather than an outsider. This is honestly the biggest lesson I have learned through my travels, and I like to think that I’m doing my part just by living it. You can’t have a collective without the individual, right?
What piece of advice would you give your younger self?
Just to have no fear. When we first started traveling 5 years ago, I was pretty spooked, all of this was so new and it frightened me. All I would say is to shed the fear, looking back on it now, I’m seeing that there never was any reason to fear in the first place. Just go with it.
Tell us how you see multicultural individuals making an impact in the world.
I don’t have experience with others, but what I can say is that my mother and I have been able to support teens in many different countries through our retreats, and more often than not, just being active in the community as outsiders really has an overwhelming effect.
Out of all the countries you have been to, which has been your favorite?
Peru is definitely my favorite country. It’s the most diverse place I’ve ever been to. It has: rich history, rich culture, and such a colorful landscape. Peru really has everything for everyone.
Country with the best food?
I would have to say Mexico. Authentic Mexican food is my lifeblood, and it’s probably the one thing I miss about living in California. I would give my arm and a leg for some real fish tacos right about now.
Colombia’s original Salsa music is at the top of my list here. It’s filled with such life and passion that’s reflective of the Colombian spirit.
My mother and I have only been in Latin America, and in this day in age, (in my experience) cinema is not a very relevant culture in Central and South America. Many of these cultures are bursting at the seams with color, but film is not very prevalent in comparison to the other arts.
And friendliest people?
Guatemala had the friendliest people; they were always happy to help and were open to any culture. There was one time when my mother and I had prepared a dish before realizing there wasn’t an oven where we were staying, so we wrapped it up and knocked on some random door in town. We asked the family inside if we could use their oven and said that we would share some of the food with them. They accepted and it was a great night of conversation and ‘intercambio’.
Where can we find out more about you and what are you up to?
Thank you for the interview.