Our Excess Baggage

I’m standing in the middle of a crowded airport, surrounded by hundreds of people from all over the world. I glance around and realize that each person carries with them their own unique story, their own set of beliefs, and their own cultural background. I wonder if they are leaving their home forever to start over like I am, or perhaps they are going back home? Do they miss their family? Are they in love? Are they lonely?

I can’t help but think of all the excess baggage we carry with us. No, I’m not talking about the extra pair of shoes we never end up wearing, but the emotional baggage that weighs us down. You know, the kind of baggage that you don’t need to pay an extra fee for at the airport.

That’s what this blog is all about.

Hello and welcome to Excess Baggage! My name is Zalma Colmenares, and I’m a traveler, ex-pat, and culture enthusiast. I’m thrilled to share my experiences with you through this blog.

So fasten your seatbelts, we’re about to take off on a journey that’s exciting and unpredictable. From my life growing up in Colombia to my adventures studying abroad in Spain, The Netherlands, and New York City. I’m here to share everything I’ve learned about culture, travel, and the power of stepping outside your comfort zone.

Everything leading up to now

Growing up in Colombia, I always had this idea that the grass was greener on the other side. That the quality of life and opportunities were better in other countries. I thought I would be better off moving abroad, more specifically to the United States. Everyone around me worshiped America and their lifestyle. I wanted to study film in Los Angeles. I dreamed of being a Hollywood film director. However, the universe had other plans for me.

When I graduated high school I was accepted into a film college in Orlando, Florida. I thought this was the closest I could get to my dreams. But my plans took a turn and I ended up applying to study Communications in Madrid, Spain. So, when I turned 18, I packed my whole life in two bags and headed off to study abroad in Spain. When I first moved to Madrid I was so grateful I had the chance to move abroad, even if it was not the place I planned to be in.

However, Madrid showed me that I was wrong. I am a very analytical, logical mind, I like to plan things. And when things don’t go according to plan, it affects me. But I learned that sometimes what you think you want, is not necessarily what you need. Sometimes you gotta let life take its curse and it will guide you where you are supposed to be. Sometimes we gotta let go of control.

During my four-year bachelor’s degree in Madrid, I had the incredible opportunity to study abroad in The Netherlands and another time in New York City. These experiences changed my life. Living in a new country helped me grow as a person and improve my communication skills. Every time I moved abroad, I learned something new about myself and the world.

Since then, I’ve been fascinated by culture – the way it shapes our beliefs, our habits, and our sense of identity. That, and the fact that it’s a great excuse to eat lots of delicious food. I love connecting with new people that come from diverse backgrounds and learning from their experiences. I’m passionate about traveling because I believe it is essential for personal growth, at least it has been for mine. Every time I travel, I feel like the world is smaller, and I feel closer to myself and the world around me.

Our Excess Baggage

We all know the phrase “emotional baggage” – all your past relationship drama, childhood trauma, and unresolved issues. And let’s be honest, it’s not exactly lightweight. It’s the kind of baggage that can weigh you down and make it hard to move forward. Most of the time we don’t even realize we have it.

Just like when we go to the check-in counter at the airport and we realize we might have overpacked right before we put the luggage on the scale. «I’m sorry, ma’am, but your luggage exceeds the weight limit. You’ll have to pay for excess baggage”.

I believe culture is baggage that we carry with us at all times. Some people pack light, while others are stuck carrying around a 23-kilo bag of traditions and customs. No matter where you come from, you grew up with a culture – a society with certain beliefs, values, and customs. Culture is learned and transmitted from one generation to another, and it shapes how we perceive and interact with the world around us. Your culture and past experiences shape who you are today and how you behave.

Let’s Shed Some Excess Baggage

When we immerse ourselves in a new culture, we open our minds to new ways of thinking and being. When we step out of our comfort zone, we begin to question ourselves, our beliefs, and our ideas. And sometimes, we need to let go of our preconceived notions and let life take us where we’re supposed to be – that’s when real growth happens.

So welcome to the Excess Baggage blog. This blog is about the impact that culture, travel, and languages have on us, about the impact it has had in me. So, join me on this journey. Let’s unpack our excess baggage and see where it takes us. Hopefully, we’ll discover something new about ourselves along the way. Or maybe we’ll just have a good laugh at the ridiculousness of it all. Either way, I promise it’ll be a wild ride. And who knows, maybe we’ll even shed some excess baggage.

Please share this article with anyone that you think will love it. Join the conversation and share your thoughts in the comments section. I am excited to hear from you.

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