Kerianne Baylor - Author Interview
Kerianne was born and raised in Central New Jersey. She reps the Red Foxes from her Alma Mater, Marist College, in Poughkeepsie, New York. When she’s not rockin’ English classes, conversation clubs, and cultural workshops as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Maceió, Brazil, Kerianne is chasing empty, Brazilian beaches, tasting tapioca, and picking up Portuguese. She is passionate journaling, storytelling, and ice cream (preferably back-to-back-to-back).
“Human connection defies language barriers.”
Which activity houses your most cherished travel memory? Tell us that memory and why it is so special to you.
While teaching abroad in Barranquilla, Colombia, I met my costeño tribe, traveling teachers who I connected with on a deeper soul level. When I got Dengue (no, this is not my fondest memory), they rallied together to plan a surprise for me. The Barranquilleros hopped on a bus to nearby Cartagena to meet the other costeños at our favorite gelato shop. As I struggled to decide which flavors I wanted, I noticed someone walking up to the shop; it was my mom! And my cousin walked up right after her. I freaked out! The wildest combination of shock, awe, and joy took over. In that moment, I got to see two worlds collide, connecting loved ones from home with newly-formed, lifetime friendships. Those costeños showed me an immense amount of love, and they got to meet my mom (bonus!).
Since this seems to be the great travel dichotomy, would you describe yourself as mountains or beach, and why?
Normally, my go-to answer would be beach, hands down. But since visiting the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta in Colombia, the highest coastal mountain range in the world, and Rio de Janeiro, I feel backed into the proverbial travel dichotomy, beach-versus-mountain corner.
So, final answer: coastal mountains. There is something so life-giving and heart-pumping in sandy shores and crashing waves, but catching a glimpse of this from atop a mountain is unbelievable, so much so that I just had to go with a combination of both.
As an experienced traveler, what is the most important piece of advice you have for first-time travelers? If you were playing a trick on them, what “bad advice” would you give a newbie? #hazing
Nothing will go as planned. Alright, alright, things can go as planned, but it’s better to expect the unexpected when you set off on your first adventure. Managing expectations is huge, and accepting that things will undoubtedly come up or throw you off your initial course will help you ride the unexpected wave with the right attitude.
As for some down-and-dirty advice: take the 36-hour slow boat down the Amazon River (or don’t, you know...up to you), because #MakeGoodStoriesNotGoodChoices.
What is the strangest, most unexpected life lessons you’ve learned while traveling?
Human connection defies language barriers. I went on a cultural trip to Morocco and trekked through the Rif Mountains to share a meal with a family who had electricity for only a few years. Hurricane Sandy had just hit home, and with the help of translators, this gracious Moroccan family empathized with the recent natural disaster they had seen on TV. I remember looking into their eyes, not being able to directly communicate with them, and feeling their concern so deeply within my soul that this moment is forever etched into my memory. They were genuinely concerned my home and my family halfway across the globe. It was then, as a college junior studying abroad in Spain, that I truly came to realize just how incredible the human race is, despite geographic, linguistic, cultural, and any other kinds of perceived barriers that exist.