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Life is too short to be unwilling to expand your horizons. A lot of people live their lives never having traveled outside of their own state. What good does it do you to be so closed minded and ignorant to what all the world— other communities and cultures— have to offer?

It’s one thing to not have the resources to travel and expand your frame of thought but, to have the resources and choose to remain secluded from the rest of the world justifies your own ignorance, biases, and limiting beliefs. It’s time to increase your exposure.

I love traveling, whether domestic or international, you can catch me soaking up the full essence of a place. I love immersive cultural experiences— learning about historic sites, speaking their language, trying the food, seeing the landscape, and meeting the people.

In July, I had the opportunity to travel to Lisbon, Porto, and Sintra, Portugal, and Seville, Spain, with my best friend. This trip was meaningful for the both of us and we both learned so much.

I had been learning Portuguese, so naturally, I was excited to practice with the locals. When I got there, I learned that there were ten countries whose main language is Portuguese: Portugal, Brazil, Angola, Mozambique, Guinea-Bissau, Cape Verde, Equatorial Guinea, São Tomé and Príncipe, East Timor, and Macau. When speaking to the Portuguese, they told me they could understand me but the dialect I have been learning is Brazilian Portuguese. I think it’s amazing how language can bring people together or separate them. It is important to me to learn the language, even if simple phrases, of the places I wish to travel. To me, this shows an appreciation for the culture and a desire to connect with the locals. I’ve found in my traveling experience, if you’re able to communicate, you’re more likely to have a more enriching experience. I have been blessed to be exposed to many things that if I had not taken the initiative to learn the language of the places I’ve visited, I wouldn’t have had certain unique opportunities and experiences.


Some of my favorite places we visited while in Portugal were Porto and Sintra. The history of both these places blew my mind and the architecture was phenomenal. In Sintra, at Pena Palace, I waited an hour for the steps to clear and captured the perfect photo. To some people, it wasn’t and would never be worth it, but to me, it meant the world.

Photography is a great teacher and the camera is a versatile learning tool. My love for photography has taught me patience, afforded me the ability to observe how other people move in the world, and appreciate the seemingly mundane things in life. In these photos below, I experienced all of these lessons in photography on my trip in Portugal and Seville, Spain. I can't wait to go back to see more. I'm even more excited to increase my exposure of culture and place in other countries.

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