The Wild Thornberrys

Kaya Hartley - Senegal


July 8, 2011

Hello, Kaya Hartley here. For starters, I believe I was 5 or 6 when I first decided I would travel the world. It all started with the TV show ‘The Wild Thornberrys.’ For those of you who haven’t had the opportunity to watch it, It’s a cartoon about a family who goes on crazy explorations all over the world and their daughter that talks to animals and saves the day.

Now we’ll jump into my childhood which will explain the extreme passion for travel I developed at a young age. I’ve spent 14 years of my life living in Provo, Utah. As many of you know, Provo isn’t exactly the most diverse place on earth. Luckily for me, my mom raised my sister and I sharing her passion for travel, history, culture and art with us. I was raised believing any dream can become a reality.

For the longest time my dream was to go on crazy explorations around the world saving the day. I later realized saving the day by talking with animals fit in the same category as Santa Claus and the tooth fairy, But instead of vanishing, that dream became more of a passion. It was, of course, altered a bit.

At 11 years old I had my heart set on traveling and living in Africa. The culture was SO exotic and appealing to me. Throughout highschool I became more aware of the multiple ongoing problems in Africa. I got involved with programs like Invisible Children that were made to assist people living in unbelievably rough circumstances. I discovered my passion and my drive. Becoming involved in humanitarian work has elevated me to a level of happiness so phenomenal it’s hard to explain.

I’ve had the chance to travel all over the United States,to Sweden, France, Italy, Mexico and India. In all of the places I’ve been, It’s so amazing to me how different, yet common we all are.  Each person I meet,and each place I go helps me grow and learn so  much. There’s a quote I’d like to share:  “Nothing of me is original, I am the combined effort of everybody I’ve ever know” – Chuck Palaniuk.  I love this quote, It inspires me to go and broaden my horizons as much as I possibly can and IMMERSE myself in every amazing opportunity the world offers.

Global Citizen Year is such a perfect fit for me, I could write so much more about how thrilled I am to be a part of this program, but this is already long enough as it is.  I know I’m going to learn and grow so much from this experience and I hope that you can follow me on my journey!

Kaya Hartley