At ten years old I found myself in Russia. As a young gymnast, I was in Leningrad for several weeks to train. I may have been young, but this, my first international travel experience, left a substantial and lasting mark on my soul. Witnessing the way other people lived humbled me. This trip sparked in me a desired to explore the world. This was my first #changedbytravel experience.
During my freshman year of college, my gymnastics career ended prematurely. This was the catalyst for an intense identity crisis one that to this day reminds me, that with crisis comes clarity. Our struggles all have meaning if we choose to learn the lessons and surrender to journey.
Yearning to find myself, I embarked on a solo adventure through much of Europe which molded who I am today in so many ways. This trip truly solidified my passion for food, cultural cooking techniques, and the deep-rooted history of medicinal foods. Changed by travel, this adventure inspired my career and led me to culinary school, then led to my masters in nutrition.
Finally after years in the classroom, I was longing to explore the world again. I landed in Costa Rica where I led a group of students on a variety of community development and conservation projects. It was here that had a meaningful introduction to what it means to live mindfully. Stationed in rural, impoverished communities, with no more than I few changes of clothes, I found immense peace. A peace that was echoed by those we lived with. During my time here, I was present. I was happy.
One night lying in bed, the sound of the rain approaching and the sweet smell of the humid, tropical air; the rain moved across the tin roof and it sang a calming song that has stayed with my to this day. Now, anytime I get overwhelmed or detached I remind myself to appreciate the beauty of the world around me. I remind myself of the peace that exists in each moment if you quiet you mind so you can bear witness.
Travel has often grounded me during uncertain times in my life. It has gifted me the opportunity to step away from my surroundings, to immerse myself in the unknown, and to connect with my true self. I am thankful for the many opportunities that have followed since that that time in Russia years ago. I now would like you invite you to join me for my next #changedbytravel journey as I lead Pravassa’s upcoming trip to Bali this fall. Together we will reflect, reset, and be humbled by the fact that we are all connected. - Katie Cavuto