Meet the Woman Inspiring Girls Everywhere to Travel the Globe
A passport can be a one-way ticket to a new destination and an experience of a lifetime.
However, for some, acquiring a passport is a daunting first step.
Less than 38 percent of Americans have passports. This percentage is even lower for individuals of underrepresented communities.
Traveler and entrepreneur Tracey Friley is hoping to change this drastically with her initiative, The Passport Party Project — a "grassroots global awareness initiative for underserved American girls 11-16."
An avid traveler herself, Friley whose Twitter bio reads, "I gift underrepresented American girls with passports, taken them on an international journey and teach them to travel with heart," identifies herself as a 'culturalista' and Francophile.
With years of organizing planned trips to France for women and teens, and blogging on her site One Brown Girl in Paris, travel has become the epicenter of many of Friley's personal and career-oriented endeavors.
"I got my start early, as I come from a family that traveled (even before you needed a passport to get to the Caribbean) and then when I got the travel bug as a young adult, I started going places my family had not even been to," she told The National Geographic.
Now, Friley is sharing her travel bug with those who have yet to venture into uncharted territories.
The inception of "The Passport Party Project" stemmed from Friley's own community outreach.
In 2011, she reached out to family and friends in her Oakland, Calif., community who were interested in sending their children on international excursions, but didn't necessarily have access to the knowledge or resources to make the trip a reality.
Friely bought the passports for the girls ($105 for a minor) with her own money and then spent the day talking travel dreams and more at what she dubbed a "passport party."
From then on, Friley has dedicated her time and effort to building The Passport Party into a global movement. With her social media prowess and an MBA in Global Management, Friley has launched the initiative with much success, collecting awards and gaining recognition from publications and companies like National Geographic, American Express, U.S. Bureau of Consular Affair, and Expedia — to name a few.
The first official "passport party" acquired passports for more than 150 girls. With passports in hand, Friley plans trips for the girls to places near and far, with the most recent destinations including Belize, Paris, and Toronto.
When asked how travel changes kids, Friley answered, "I believe that kids will find their place in this world once they see more of it, that another country's problems are the world's problems, and that they can be a part of world change if they want to be.”
Read Yahoo's full profile on Tracey Friley here.
Photo Credit: PassportParty.org, Twitter