The world is yours.

The first signal - to my memory - of a world outside of my grandmother’s neighborhood came from a show called California’s Gold, hosted by Huell Howser. Mr. Howser spoke with a southern accent that was picked up by his interviewees which made me think that this was how people outside of Los Angeles communicated. This show explored all of the amazing beauty that California had to offer and despite living the state he was sharing, it contrasted my surroundings in nearly every way. He would explore the California Missions, while the only “Mission“ I could recognize were on tortilla labels at the local El Ranchero market.

Eventually, as cable television was introduced and my grandmother grew tired of her Reader’s Digest, we would sit and marvel at the Discovery and Travel channel documentaries that rivaled my National Geographic subscription. A portal to Egypt, China and the Ancient worlds were open in our living room, pushing my concept of reality beyond South Central and toward the larger world. The spirit of adventure had been sparked and I watched religiously as if I were one of the trailblazers or a modern day Sacagawea, here to show Europeans their next discovery. I was moved and consumed as much of this alien world as possible by watching every new discovery piece and travel show, then dreaming of the far-flung places I could escape to.

The portal showed me a world that I had to experience for myself, it made me believe that there was something beyond the mortgaged home that held my family captive. Adventure for my grandparents consisted of either hunting in the jungles of Belize or establishing a new life in America. For the most part, they were content with watching the world through a television screen and though I had always wanted to join them on their annual trips to Belize, there never seemed to be enough money and it never materialized.