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As a grandchild of immigrants I’ve always understood the importance of culture and how it shapes our lives. At Spelman College I majored in International Relations and knew that I wanted to travel abroad, but didn’t have the funds to do so. In the fall of 2009 I received a scholarship to study abroad and embarked on my very first long-term international experience in Shanghai, China. The year prior to my study abroad experience I had taken a course on China and I was fascinated.
The travel bug had been planted and I quickly applied to attend conferences in Beijing and Trinidad. After these trips I couldn’t get enough of the travel rush. I knew that I wanted to prepare for a future in international relations. Upon hearing of the Peace Corps I knew that it would be an incredible opportunity to increase my knowledge of the global community and continue my education after graduation. In the summer of
2011 I left for Mongolia and never looked back.
During my time in Mongolia I kept a blog but neglected to update it at the end of my Peace Corps service. Followers of my previous blog emailed asking about my life post-Mongolia. My blogging ended abruptly because life has been a whirlwind since I left Mongolia in 2013. I attended graduate school, moved to a new city, and travelled to over 15 countries. While I have been extremely blessed, I lost sight of why I created my blog in the first place, to create a community.
I initially started blogging to document my time in Mongolia while continuing to keep family and friends abreast. I didn’t realize until after my Peace Corps service that I had reached a wider audience than I had initially intended. Many of you emailed:
“I appreciate you sharing all that you did and not tip toeing around the pink elephant in the room when it comes to traveling/living overseas while black. The isolation we often feel as people of color while living abroad is one that we have to talk about, even if the discussion makes people uncomfortable”.
I have been extremely blessed to have travelled to so many places and look forward to sharing the insights I have gained not only as an avid traveller, but also as an unconventional one. I have had the opportunity to work with entrepreneurs, activists, and volunteers from a variety of backgrounds and countries. I’ve seen firsthand the impact that one person or idea can have. However, that impact can be multiplied when it is fostered within a community.
Hopefully this blog will serve as a community that will educate a few and inspire someone to travel or work abroad so that pre-conceived notions of what it means to be an American will evolve into positive and inclusive descriptors. Thank you for your kind words and continued inspiration; they do not go unnoticed.
Posts to come:
Israel/Palestine, Athens, Cambodia, Vietnam, Russia, Germany, A small town in Italy, Switzerland, Istanbul, Antigua, Brazil, Shanghai, Puerto Rico, Spain
My Return to Mongolia: Mongolia continues to be one of my favorite places in the world and returning to Mongolia solidified that for me.
“Fortune favors the bold and nothing is bolder than leaving the comforts of home for a random steppe in Mongolia”
Hi! My name is Marikaa.
Two Feet, an Afro & a Serious Sense of Wonder: Changing preconceived notions of what it means to be an American one country at a time