ABOUT PASSPORTS MATTER
From PM Founder, LaShonda Unseld-Hopkins
At 18, I left Kentucky and moved to Florida. As a small town girl, I was excited to meet new people from different backgrounds, sample unfamiliar cuisines, and attempt to learn different languages. Ultimately, I loved the experience of discovering a new place.
Living in South Florida triggered my travel bug and I was able to find plane tickets to the Caribbean within the confines of my college student budget. I soon realized I could travel to different countries for less than a ticket to New York, LA, or Las Vegas. Who would've thought that?
In 2008, I enlisted in the Air Force Reserves and in 2010, was deployed to Iraq. I learned the customs and courtesies of the Middle East. After returning from deployment, I immediately traveled back for a leisure visit to Kuwait.
This led to travels to Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Doha. What an experience! My social media was flooded with questions as I posted photos and videos from my trips and I recognized my impact. People wanted to see the world but were apprehensive and I was a normal girl with a limited budget who could inspire.
As I traveled more, I started to bring my friends along. Good news travels fast and small friend group trips grew into larger group trips with extended friends. It was clear that this was more than a hobby. I had a blast going to different clubs and restaurants to party and sightsee, but I was compelled to do more.
As a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., an organization that promotes international awareness and involvement, it was only right to serve a purpose greater than myself as I traveled the world. I started to coordinate and volunteer for community service projects during my trips. Making an impact and giving hope was as simple as visiting a local school for a few hours to read books or donating toiletries to the community. It felt good to give something back to the people living in the countries that enriched my life. My mission was clear and the Passports Matter movement was born.
“Surround yourself with people who are different than you. Go somewhere you've never been before. Watch the Travel Channel! Be diverse,open-minded, and selfless.” -LaShonda Unseld-Hopkins
I hope that you decide to 'Join the Movement' and really make your passport matter!