Besides being a passionate youth travel advocate, change maker and believer in the power of the passport, National Geographic Travel Editor-in-Chief George Stone gave me the title of Travel Educator back in 2013 when he introduced me on stage at NatGeo Live! in Washington D.C. where I was invited to talk about The Passport Party Project, my global awareness initiative that gifted underrepresented girls nationwide with their very first passports.
Ends up he was right.
The thing is, I didn't start showing girls the world in 2010 thinking about what title I should give myself. In fact, I wasn't thinking about myself at all.
All I wanted was to help give girls a world view through the gift of a brand spanking new passport.
I knew about the power of the passport.
I knew about the transformative power of travel.
And I knew I wanted to be of service in this way.
And now...after almost 10 years of service and some empowering experiences...I want to continue to be of service in this way.
But now I want to do it through others.
I want to share my journey and show passionate youth travel advocates how they can become Travel Educators too.
How they can help give youth a world view.
How they can be of service in this way and transform their own lives as much as they transform the lives of teens.
How they can successfully & profitably own and operate their own travel initiative.
How they can avoid the pitfalls.
No matter what title or awards I've been given, being of service to youth in the travel space is who I am and what I want to do at my core.
This is what I'm about.
This is my About page.
Tracey Friley, MBA
My story is pretty much like everyone else's: simple and complex; joyful and traumatic; solid and cracked.
And while it spans decades, it is most notably rooted in discovery.
From my early days until this precise moment.
In a nutshell, I'm a naturally inquisitive California girl with Bajan roots that grew up enjoying the outdoors and the sea.
I went to summer camp on Catalina Island, day camps in Los Angeles and camping trips with the fam.
I loved boating, rolling with my dad on his motorcycle throughout Cali, trips to Mexico and Barbados and Massachusetts in my youth, and solo trips to Europe, North Africa and the Caribbean as a young adult.
I was down for any activity that spelled F-U-N.
And I still am.
As I got older, I found myself taking note of the lack of diversity in some of the spaces I was having fun in -- the places where I had discovered the best of myself.
So I wrote that essay on Oprah's Angel Network called "The Idea for CampCaribe" in 2009 -- and they published it.
On a plane. Outdoors. At the sea.
And it was epic.
And only one girl had a passport.
This is where the seed was planted for The Passport Party Project.
This is when I discovered my purpose.
Outdoors at the sea during my first travel camp.