Hi APC! My name is Kaylah Holmes and I’m a 15-year-old world traveler living in New Jersey and navigating the ups and downs of youth one plane at a time. I am of mixed race descent coming from an Afro-Latina mother and a white and black father. My main goal in life is to inspire other youth through doing things that I am passionate about. I also love to go with the flow, preferably wherever the next train, boat, plane, camel, or bus, take me.
“Don’t just listen to what they say. Go see.” – unknown. Before I moved to New Jersey, I grew up in one of those small, mostly white, gated communities. The everyone knows everyone (and their business) type of environment. And as much as I hate to admit it, the environment I was in, bred the stereotypes and opinions about other people and places that I shun today. My first experience outside of North America was while visiting Belize, Mexico, and the Dominican Republic. As I stepped outside of my comfortable boundaries I was shocked, surprised, and most importantly, enlightened. Not only was I finally exploring my Afro-Latina heritage but I was subconsciously dismantling many of the ideas I had about the Latin American community, despite being apart of it myself. Slowly breaking that bubble of self-hatred, I was fully able to look around and see the beauty of the culture I had tried to ignore. But above all else, this trip lit a fire within me, or as others may call it, curiosity. I quickly became curious about what the world around me had to offer, and how I could dive into it headfirst. Coming from a single-family household that had overcome so much, I was worried that I was overestimating my goals and feeding into empty hopes and dreams, but six years later me and my mom alone somehow made it work. Since that fateful trip, I will have been to, Jamaica, Bahamas, France, Rome, Turkey, Beijing, South Korea, Morocco, and Barcelona. I headed to Dubai and India in the winter of 2019, and look forward to visiting Singapore in the spring of 2020, and heading back to Korea, August of 2020. Now I’m not saying any of this to boast. I’m simply trying to highlight that no matter how long it takes to do what you love, you can and you will get there. Regardless of whether or not your goal is to see the world, as kids and especially when you’re a kid of color, it’s hard to believe that you can experience anything outside of what the world tells you that you deserve. Kids and teens are constantly forced to be backseat drivers and laser their focus on the aspirations of their parents. The younger generation has been told to wait and fulfill their parents’ expectations then release the pause button on their own goals ten years later. Travel has made me realize I can let go of the pause button now, and save myself from the agony of realizing I waited too long and my options have become limited. Traveling helps me in so many ways while also making me want to help others. This is why I firmly believe in the importance of fostering the seeds of growth within people my own age. Whether it be music, dance, soccer, science, fashion, etc. Teens and kids deserve to be supported and encouraged in their personal endeavors because they can and often will create something beautiful. Traveling has opened my third eye in a sense. It’s allowed me to be more open, involved, and expressive as an individual in my community and as a citizen of the world. Seeing people of such a wide variety of backgrounds has helped me shed the shell of ignorance I once had, and use my voice to educate others on the issues that are important to me. It has propelled me in my journey to spark curiosity within others and help them to manifest their goals on a global scale. Lastly, it led me to create my own blog, start my own business and write about things that spark joy and passion within myself. Before I end this piece I just want to share a quote by me taken from my blog, that I hope can inspire you to broaden your scope, and indulge in what makes you happy:
“If you live your life secluded and never indulge in the people and prospects the world has to offer, your mind to will remain secluded and excluded, plunging you deep into the depths of narrow-mindedness. This is why I am getting comfortable with stepping out of my comfort zone and living for myself. To me, this means not putting my life on hold and participating in things that spark joy and passion. For me that is travel.” – Kaylah Holmes
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