Born with the wanderlust gene, she’ll show you Chicago

I took my first international flight at 10 years old. My family flew from St. Louis to Newark to Miami to Port of Spain, the capital of Trinidad and Tobago, two small tropical islands but one nation, off the coast of Venezuela.

Twelve hours, an inspection by drug dogs in Miami, a semi-militant immigration line and 80 degrees warmer later, we arrived at our destination. I still remember standing outside the airport, sitting on my suitcase while we waited for our ride.

I couldn’t take my eyes off anything.

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Now, more than 20,000 miles and six countries — all before the age of 23 — that awe at discovering something new has turned into an insatiable desire to go.

I’ve bussed through South America, and repelled off cliffs and scuba dived off the coast of the Pacific Ocean. I’ve criss-crossed the U.S. on road trips, from Massachusetts to Texas to Georgia to Colorado, the highlight of Kansas being a prairie dog museum. In 2012, I was on one of the first mission teams into Cuba after Raul Castro began allowing Americans back in the country.

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