How Travel Changed Everything – An Email From A Rustic Alum

Taylor Brennan, of Montclair, New Jersey, brought a smile and a beam of hope into our inbox and we think she’ll do the same for you. Read Taylor’s full email—and how travel inspired her passion for helping others—below, published with her permission. 

Taylor with a student during her time spent on the Sacred Valley Service program in Peru.

You recently asked how travel has shaped who were are as people, so here is why I believe travel has shaped me as a person.

Since the age of 13, my big, imaginative mind has wondered what the world would be like if all humans rooted for each other, instead of tearing each other down. I have grown up witnessing the injustice and discrimination that exists against different races and religions and the dream I have for the planet has inspired me and motivated me to take an active role in society, working for those without a voice.

On my first Rustic Pathways trip two years ago I had the opportunity to view the world firsthand through a different lens than I had previously. For the duration of the trip, my one wish was that it didn’t have to come to an end. I was so inspired in that environment, surrounded by people I loved, helping others who showed nothing but love and appreciation for all that our group was doing in their community. It was the first time I felt as if I was a part of something so much bigger than myself. The two weeks I spent in Peru revealed to me the true meaning of humanity and life and the importance of the human race working as one to enrich the lives of all. As I took in these extremely vital life lessons I also felt a spark and passion for travel ignite.

I believe that the experience we have as travelers brings understanding, tolerance, and compassion for different cultures and religions that are unlike our own. Rather than fear what we grapple to understand, we search for that meaning and unconditional love that binds mankind as one. My belief and conviction that we need to cultivate a message of fellowship and inclusion is matched by my belief that this can be done if we all work with determination and faith that with enough voices speaking loudly for the cause, our voices will be heard.

This is not only a political issue but a moral issue of our time and it is happening now so we cannot become beleaguered and accept prejudice toward any group of people. We are able to influence when we speak up and stand up for those bound into racism and despair because they are misunderstood. We can share the message that equality and love for one another will make us all triumph in the end.

My experiences with Rustic Pathways have opened my mind and tapped a passion for helping others, so I would like to say thank you for lighting that fire within me. Thank you for teaching me that our most important role is to love one another for our differences, for they make us who we are. That amazing tapestry that is human diversity in the world is a beautiful thing.

The way to get things done is through action and one voice can move millions, so thank you, Rustic Pathways, for teaching me, and others that one small voice can make a large difference.

Taylor Brennan, RP Alum

Surfs up! Taylor’s Surf and Service group in Uvita, Costa Rica.

Because selfies…