I’m Joy and …
welcome to my corner of the interwebs!
I created this blog to serve not only share my experiences and mishaps but to also act as a resource. I had once been blind to the world around us and through travel, I have found empathy and compassion. I have learned that we are not that different as humans. I want this to be a cultural and travel resource so that we are conscious travelers whenever we go.
When I was young, I had only dreamed of traveling the world. My parents are from Guatemala and had told me of the tales of the motherland. Growing up in New York I was exposed to immigrants from all over the world. And as immigrants do, they shared their stories of their home. They shared about how beautiful it was, but also how they had to leave, and what drove them here.
I heard the stories of the elders on my Queens block in the 90s, the Yugoslavian family, the tales of the “old country” which I learned was Italy, Ireland, of the Philippines, Portugal, Ecuador, Mexico, and Argentina. I always dreamed of going to these places and seeing it for myself, but I never thought I actually would. Since I could not do so when I was young, I lived in the library reading of cultures different than my own.
When I was a teenager my mother became immersed in religion and sheltered me from others who had different beliefs than us, my parents divorced, and we ended up moving to the suburbs. Around this time when I started struggling with anxiety and depression, and in turn became very afraid and closed off the world. I observed, and I turned to my books for comfort and coping, learning was and always has been was my outlet.
The Game Changer
My nerdy brown kid life had paid off, and I got a scholarship to attend Rochester Institute of Technology. College pushed me out of my comfort zone. Here, I was thrown into the world that did not think as I did and exposed to ideas and concepts that I had never considered. That showed me that there was nothing to fear and fostered my growth. In 2012, I got a scholarship to attend a Peace, Conflict, and Resolution in Kosovo and given the opportunity to tour through former Yugoslavia.
2012 was when my life changed; I went to a country I had barely heard of meeting people from all over the world. I met people from nations recovering from ethnic cleansing, healing, and thriving despite it. I met people of different religions, races, and nationalities. This exposure is how I realized we weren’t that different. Since then, I kept wanting to meet people myself and not believe headlines. I aimed not to be afraid of others, challenging the moments I felt uncomfortable, and carry myself with a more open mind.
I did not have much money after graduating RIT, so I backpacked in short stints, I made my way since 2012 through 20 countries so far. I had witnessed the best and worst parts of humanity. So when I returned to the USA, I aimed to make my home in the better than I left it. I volunteered with Americorps 2013 in NYC working at Grameen America in Microfinance with female immigrant communities. Then in 2014 in Miami, FL during the influx of child migrants doing intakes at Americans for Immigrant Justice. I listened to the stories of women and children of the horrors happening in Central America and could not handle it. I could not handle knowing there wasn’t much I could do, and it triggered too many memories of my own life. So this prompted a career change. So I went into working full time in tech back in New York City. On the weekends and holidays planned little escapes to stay sane and feed my wanderlust. I was content with my existence and excelling in my career.
I knew I had to speak up
Then in 2016, Latinos, especially Central Americans were being portrayed negatively once again in the headlines, I recalled the stories I had buried from my travels and my volunteer work. I got fed up, knowing that this was not my narrative and those of whom I loved.
I felt betrayed, and I realized no matter how hard I tried to fit into the “American mold,” first and foremost I would always be the brown Latina. So I embraced it and celebrated it, thus led to the creation of Part Time Exploradora with the intent to relive my memories of travel, share my journey, raise my voice, and be a platform to encourage and inspire those like me who felt as I did.
The mission is to become more conscious travelers abroad and in our daily lives. As well as to empower others like myself who are on a journey of growth and self-awareness reclaim exploration, identity, but most of all the right to enjoy life.
For this reason, I am not apologetic and accommodating in the tone of the writings as this is first told through the eyes of a Latina Backpacker, daughter of the Latinx Diaspora, aimed to speak to others who can relate.
All with an open mind are welcome to be an ally and celebrate the diversity this world has to offer.