photo: istock/andresr

One of the things that makes being a second generation Latina special is learning about your culture through family. I’ve learned so much from my grandmother about what life was like growing up in Colombia, their traditions, the BEST Colombian dishes, and even the funny catchphrases they use. From my dad’s side, I’ve heard many stories about Peru and about the various uncles and aunts I have out there – so many that I can’t even keep track of them all.

Despite the fact that I still have family in South America, the only time I’ve visited Colombia was when I was in kindergarten—and the memories that remain are vague. I haven’t had the chance to make a trip to Peru yet, and my dad hasn’t gone back to visit in over 30 years. Crazy, right?

Now that South America is popular tourist spot for Americans to visit, I’ve grown a little envious that even some of my friends have visited my family’s native countries. From all the amazing pictures I’ve seen on Facebook of Machu Picchu to all the exotic beaches in Colombia, I realized it’s time for me to get in touch with my heritage firsthand.

But this type of trip might help me learn more about myself, too, giving me the chance to try and adapt to new settings. I’m also imagining all the delicious food, and catching up with lots of family and friends – some of whom I have yet to meet!

If visiting your parent’s native country is something you’ve always dreamed of, then you have to enter the “My Next Trip Back” contest from Delta Air Lines. Three lucky finalists will win a trip to their families’ native countries to reconnect with their native roots. Click here to enter and for full contest rules. Good luck!

Giselle Castro is a NYC-based freelance writer with a passion for health and fitness.