With trips to almost all of the continents of the world already crossed off her list, Shanna, our Web Developer III, shares about her love for immersing herself in other cultures and places in this week's Share & Tell.
One of my biggest passions is traveling and learning about different peoples and customs. It started with a summer vacation to Israel when I was an undergrad at DePaul University in Chicago. It wasn’t my first time outside the country, but it was on that trip that I was refreshed by the idea that the world can be so different from the suburban, mid-western lifestyle I had grown accustomed to. It was as if my bicultural upbringing helped focus my perspective to show me that there was another world in Israel, where I also belonged, even if I wasn’t from that particular place.
Since then I have traveled to all continents, except Antarctica, although I considered crossing there from Southern Argentina. The places that I visited include many states in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, most of Central and South America, Tunisia, Egypt, Kenya, Tanzania, Thailand, Vietnam, India, Australia, and many European countries.
Some highlights of these travels:
- Doing research for UC Berkeley Masters by working with kids in a Russian summer camp in Siberia
- Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania and watching the sunrise at the peak of the mountain
- Taking a bus through the Himalayas monastery area in Northern India, where the average elevation is 20,000 feet, and being trapped in a local village for days during rainy season
- Publishing an article on travels in India in the India West newspaper (largest Indian newspaper on the West Coast)
- A one-week river trip along the Brazilian Amazon on a local boat in a hammock
- The peaceful, secluded La Guajira desert in the northernmost part of Colombia, the setting place of One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
- The Putumayo valley in Southern Colombia, with its endless jungle and waterfalls and the beautiful Indian people
- More recently, however, I have begun to share the love of traveling with my now almost 4-year-old daughter. Her first trip was to Montreal when she was just 3 months old. Since then her biggest travel accomplishments include an all-around Vietnam trip at 19 months old, an all-around Portugal trip at 3 years old, and a trip to a local village in Mexico this past Christmas. Traveling with her has turned into an even bigger and stronger passion of mine, because seeing the world through her eyes puts a whole new lens on my travel experiences. Considering the hardship that comes with traveling with a young child, many people would probably be uneasy and apprehensive before embarking on these trips. However, in my experience, our travels turned into the most rewarding encounters, as we were provided with a natural and easy way to connect with the locals, as well as experience local culture from a different and very interesting angle.
- How has traveling helped me in my work? I have learned to accept that although we come from different places and backgrounds, we can grow as a team by sharing our past experiences and knowledge, no matter how different or inapplicable they may seem. By sharing with one another, we can inspire our team members, and in turn, evolve and exceed in our professional careers.
Every Wednesday at 3:30 we gather to celebrate an employee who exemplifies our core values to inspire, share, evolve, exceed, and be 100% jerk-free. In our Share & Tell edition, we invite the employee to share their unique story, or simply something that inspires them.