“If we were meant to stay in one place, we’d have roots instead of feet.” — Rachel Wolchin
Maritza Chavez is a traveler at heart. She has a passion for exploring and learning about the world; this includes the people, cultures, foods, societies, and even the transformative effects of travel on one’s self.
Maritza was born in San Jose, California, and grew up as a first generation Mexican-American. She constantly bounced back and forth between two cultural identities that defined and influenced her upbringing – Mexico and the United States. Her formative years were defined first by Mexican culture. She was brought up in a Spanish-speaking household where there was always fresh Mexican food, traditional bolero, and Latin pop/rock music on the weekends. Then there was the American influence of learning English at school, adapting to American school systems, and explaining it to her parents along the way. This led to Maritza making friends of all backgrounds, and learning how to balance these two worlds she found herself caught between. Maritza’s interest in different cultures, upbringings, languages, and international foods began here.
She later went on to study Culinary Arts and graduated from The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago, and then went on to Lake Forest College to study Sociology and Anthropology. While there, Maritza received the amazing opportunity to study abroad in Greece for three months. This is a country and experience that, to this day, she feels has greatly influenced her direction in life.
After graduating college, Maritza made the move to Madrid, Spain as an English teacher for one year. There she was able to immerse herself in the local culture, make friends, travel around Europe, and learn to feel like a local herself in this foreign country. Maritza was enamored with the idea of making travel a permanent part of her life, and determined to find a way to encourage others to do the same.
Upon returning back home, she finally decided to start her travel blog, Travel Notes and Things. This is a site dedicated to the transformative effects of travel on the self, as well as a creative outlet. Here she can craft her travel writing skills, and share advice based on her own travel experiences. This platform she has created for herself has allowed her to put her knowledge of studying and teaching abroad to good use for the benefit of others.
Today, Maritza writes to her growing audience about these topics and about what it’s like to travel as a Mexican-American woman. She does this in the hope that it will encourage others who identify with similar struggles and experiences to get out there and see the world. Maritza strongly believes that our travels are more than just an escape from the daily routines of life. They are an exercise in increasing one’s level of self-awareness. Maritza believes that our adventures are never really over after the moment we come home – they are simply just beginning.