Growing up, I spent a lot of time with my GrandMa. Like all Grandmothers, she had her “thing”. For instance, my girlfriend’s GrandMa would pin her cash to the inside of her bra. Another GrandMa I knew always had pennies in her coin purse, and she would give me a handful every time I saw her. A lot of my friends laugh at how their Grandmother would have peppermints inside their purse – FOREVER – the wrapper would be melted onto the candy, but she would still offer you one. LOL. I’m sure with very little thought you can immediately tell me what your Grandmother’s “thing” was!
My GrandMa’s thing was words. She would say things like “Close the refrigerator. I’m not trying to cool all outside!” or “I’m gonna whoop you until the lights go off downtown’. Yea – I never figured that one out. But as I grew up, my favorite became “The more you give, the more you get”.
Now trust me, I didn’t believe these words originally. It wasn’t until a friend of mine said; “you are always giving something away” (this was after I gave her a very nice sleigh bed, which was practically brand new). So I begin to think about it and realized – I AM ALWAYS GIVING SOMETHING AWAY – yet I always seem to have more than enough! Now, let me say enough is relative. What’s enough for me may not be enough for you; but I can honestly say, I am living in my overflow.
The Passport Party Project is a “National Geographic award-winning initiative providing first passports, online global awareness training & first-time global travel experiences to underrepresented American girls 11-15 in an effort to help create responsive and responsible global citizens that travel with love.” This organization is headed up by Tracey Friley, aka The Pied Piper of Passports. I promise you I have never met anyone so passionate about giving. She genuinely loves it! And it shows in everything that she does. She gifts these young ladies an experience that very few will ever have, and even less will take advantage of if the opportunity came their way.
This year is Phase 3 of The Passport Party Project, and with the help of Tourism Toronto, and , Tracey and two college students (one of which has been traveling with Tracey since she was 11 years old) will be escorting 15 Teen Travel Ambassadors to Toronto. After 6 weeks of online global awareness training, where the lucky travelers learned what it takes to be a Global Citizen, they are ready to pack their bags and head to the top of the CN Tower. Some of these young ladies will travel alone for a short distance by plane for the first time and perhaps even be away from home and/or travel as a group for the first time.
My current mentee, Destiny A. is looking forward to learning more about Aboriginal Culture and History (Do you know when National Aboriginal Day is? Destiny does because she had to learn about it during Week 5 of her training!). Destiny also found it interesting that Toronto was founded as a trading center in the 1600s and is looking forward to eating beaver tails. All of these things, and more, were discussed during my time with Destiny, which I enjoyed immensely. She asked me questions such as “what inspires me to travel” and “how did I navigate myself through the mountains of Atlanta with no GPS’. She is ready to tackle her adventure. I am so excited for her! I am so excited for all of them!
Why? Because I know that this experience will change their lives in ways they may not understand for years to come. They will make new friends, see new things, go to new places, eat new food. They will laugh. Get frustrated, but then figure it out. Some may experience fear. Some may experience tears. But through it all, they will learn. They will grow. They will appreciate. And hopefully, they will begin to understand my GrandMa’s words “the more you give, the more you get”.
Wow. Now that’s the #PowerOfThePassport.
Travel Well Ladies…
2 Girls & a Bikini