How I Met Your Adventure: True Colors30 September 2013
How I Met Your Adventure is a series of posts featuring you, my readers! Whether it's that time you almost got arrested in Rome or a heartwarming story about finding love in Tokyo, I want to hear your unique travel story.
I'm Casey from True Colours and I was born and raised in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, but a citizen of the USA. I traveled a lot as a child and my experience as an expat kid has shaped me into the traveler I am today. I crave the feeling of the unknown and of a plane headed somewhere far away. Of all my travels, one place holds my heart and that is the French City of Light, Paris. I fell in love as a kid with the city and make regular trips back to Paris each year now that I'm an adult. My husband is a photographer and is capturing the magic of each place we see as we travel around the world. Traveling for me is a spiritual experience and something that I find extremely important in my life. Come follow along our adventures!
It seems the life of travel was kind of forced onto you at a young age, do you have any regrets about that?
I wouldn't say it was forced on me, because truly I was born into it. I was born in a foreign country and was flying since I was a small baby. So I think that I never really realized that the life we were living was unique, it was my normal from the day I was born. It was only after I returned to the States that I realized my childhood had been different and I'd done all this traveling by the time I was 12 years old. Though at the end of the day, I have absolutely no regrets about the way I was raised, because it allowed me to have this unique story and to see much of the world in a different light than most.
For those who don't know, can you sum up what a third culture kid is and how you relate to that term?
Yes! I came across the term Third Culture Kid in my late teens and it seriously changed my life. I'd never had a term before to describe what I went through growing up overseas and then moving to the States (which was my technical passport country); it was liberating to finally be able to have a term to describe myself. A Third Culture Kid, often referred to as a TCK, is a child like me, that grows up in a foreign country but that technically is a citizen of another, like the USA. The child then sort of creates a "third culture" in their mind, as they aren't really from either place.
Did you have any struggles growing up in another country?
Honestly, no. As a child, I never really realized that my childhood was different than most. Saudi Arabia was my home, I was born there, my childhood friends were there, the only house I'd ever known was there and it was home. I don't think it hit me how unique my childhood was overseas until I moved back to the US when I was 12. It was then that everything sort of hit me like a tidal wave and I really felt "different."
As someone who has experience being raised as a third culture kid, what tips do you have for parents who are raising their kids in a foreign nation?
I think one of the most important things is to let TCK's keep some connection to their birth country. It's important to have that connection steady even after you leave. As a teenager, I kept in touch over the internet with many of my friends from Saudi as kids and that helped tremendously. As parents, you must remember that when you leave the kids' birth country, everything they've always known is ripped away quite dramatically to a kid. It took me a few years after moving back to the US when I really felt like I finally fit in. And even now I still feel adrift quite often and like sometimes, even in the most random moments, like I don't really belong.
For an American who has never been to Saudi Arabia, what would you recommend seeing or visiting?
First, a little known fact about Saudi Arabia, is that it's extremely hard to get into the country as a tourist. Even for me, if I wanted to go back and see my childhood home, it would be extremely difficult bordering on impossible. And while the country is slowing getting better about opening its borders, it's still very complex. So as a tourist, you probably wouldn't be able to get in the Kingdom even if you wanted to. However the country does have some gorgeous places, including amazing beaches along the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf (where we lived). The country is also home to beautiful Mecca, though only Muslims are allowed inside the Holy City. And I also spent a lot of time as a kid in the Arabia desert, climbing the dunes, experiencing camel markets and meeting Bedouin tribes. Saudi Arabia is a country full of contradictions but at the end of the day, it has quite a rustic and raw beauty.
And you've also lived in South Korea! If you had to recommend just one place to visit, what would it be and why?
I never actually "lived" in South Korea, but I spent a great deal of time there for a few year span for work. I was at one point going every 2 weeks of so and would spend a few weeks at a time there, so I got to know the country fairly well. I happen to love Seoul, I find it invigorating and has this amazing energy like no where else I've ever been. The people there are also some of the nicest I've ever met traveling.
Where do you see yourself going next?
As far as trips, we have many on the horizon including London, Ireland and Scotland in November followed by Whistler BC in January and India, Cambodia and Bangkok in February. It should be an amazing 6 months ahead!
As far as life, I think that within the next 5 years my husband and I will be heading back overseas at some point. It's something I've always wanted to experience again, as an adult and I think it will happen sooner than later.
What's been you're biggest/craziest adventure?
In truth, I'm a big planner. Usually we have our travel calendar set for the year ahead but last year about a month before Thanksgiving, a bunch of random things happened that our Thanksgiving days opened up with family scattered for various reasons and we decided to book a trip to Iceland over the holiday. It was the most last minute I've ever booked a big trip like that and it really was an adventure. Iceland blew us away and I had lots of moments there where I felt totally in another world.
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