My Journey to America

My journey to America is one unforgettable experience. I say this not because I was able to travel to the land of my dreams but mainly because the journey had improved my outlook in life through the many lessons and insights it had taught.

My country of origin is Kenya, located in Eastern Africa. Separating these two countries is the Pacific Ocean,   a large body of water that seemed to signify the impossibility of my coming here (Crofton, 1994, p. 434). But fortunately, this huge obstacle was overcome, and now I am enjoying the fun and opportunities offered by a country that had only once been a dream. You just cannot imagine the excitement I had felt when I learned that I will travel to America.

For the majority of Africans, America is a land of golden opportunity, a place that one can better himself. It offers a rare experience in advancement in technology, an essential factor to a person’s twentieth century learning. And above all, America had many fun, exciting and historical places to visit. Armed with such lofty thoughts in mind, going through the hassle of filing for travel papers at the US Embassy meant nothing to me.

I   bade goodbye to Kenya last __________. My itinerary was from Nairobi, Kenya to ______, USA. It would take approximately ______ hours to reach the US.  On the plane I tried to contain my excitement although flying above the wide Pacific Ocean was both thrilling and nerve-wracking. Looking down below from the window of the plane, I can see a wide expanse of blue water, stretching miles and miles beyond as if it would never end. Although the sight was beautiful to behold, I cannot wait to see land for by then I suddenly felt an awesome fear of being in a place totally unknown, as if I was lost in the middle of nowhere. I realized then that uprooting oneself from familiar places is not that easy, after all.

As the plane made its way across the earth,  my mind was filled with thoughts of what I will going to do in America, the friends that I will meet, the places I will visit and the things that I will have. The thoughts all came to me at once, both thrilling and enchanting me at the same time. Amidst  these thoughts, my mind  raced back to the place I just left behind, the loved ones that I will not see  for sometime and  the places that surprisingly I will miss, and then out of nowhere I felt nostalgic and if I was not strong  enough tears would have fallen from my eyes. It was painful to realize that for me to experience something new, I had to let go of something that I hold dear. But I am glad to think that someday I will be back.

Finally, after some time I approached the place that for more than a century had drawn all kinds of races and nationalities to its shores like a magnet. I expected the view from above to be so much different from the aerial view of the country and continent I just left behind. True enough it was way, way different. Whereas the place I had just left was dominated by forest and desert that was spotted with human dwellings and buildings, the view of America from the air was just breathtaking to me.

A vast array of buildings endlessly crowded themselves below, tall skyscrapers and the Statue of Liberty seemed to reach out to me in welcome. I could not believe that the famous   America was right in front of me!   I felt an awesome sense of self-fulfillment then, perhaps because America had this magical way of making a person think that finally he had seen the real world.

Naturally I could not wait to set my feet in the America soil.  For the first time in my life I was surrounded with people who look different from me. In the airport were white people, brown skinned people and dark ones like me. I was fascinated with the presence of different nationalities that were busy talking to one another in a language I do not understand and hurrying past me to places God knows where. I realized later that I will often come across these different types of people in just any street in America.

I wonder much about them, the places that they came from and the loved ones that they left behind in a country far away. I know that most of them come to America to earn more money, and I wonder if they fulfilled that goal. Settling here for _________ (months or years) now, I can say with authority that foreigners here oftentimes experienced physical, emotional and mental suffering. Many of them are homesick.  There is no place, after all, that man will be untouched by the negative experiences of life. Such realization had developed in  me a deeper respect for people who  left their homeland to find jobs in other shores.

For the many successful people who pass my way daily, I can say that indeed America is a land of golden opportunity, but only for the people who work hard. In life no matter where we are we just cannot expect a golden egg to fall on our lap. Here there are also many poor people. I do not know why they lived that way but one thing America taught me is that if you want something good to happen in your life then you must be willing to sacrifice, to let many sweats fall from your forehead.   A person should not wait for opportunity, he must look for it and when he found that opportunity he must grab it with both hands.

The list of beautiful places to visit and exciting things to do in America is endless. There are many big parks decorated with beautiful flowers and housed different kinds of animals (many of these animals are native to my homeland like tigers and elephants).  When I look a these caged animals I cannot help but compare them to their relatives back home who roamed  freely in the African wild. America is not a place of freedom for them but on the contrary, America is a trap, a prison.

I felt sad but these are the prices that need to be paid if people of America are to see a live African wildlife. Furthermore, America had many large shopping centers filled with all sorts of stuff. They are very inviting to touch, look and if I have the money, to buy. There are just many things to choose from, all of them beautiful. It is true that America has lots of things to offer especially for a Kenyan like me. Being surrounded by all these beautiful things make me look at life more positively.

I do have negative experiences in America but I would cite only one that I know is experienced by most foreign people like me and it is the ugly face of racial discrimination. I know that racial discrimination is present when the people of other races I associate with treat me with distrust without reason. I know some of them did not actually wanted the feeling to come but it involuntarily sprung up somewhere. Racial discrimination is a big problem here.  This just shows that great America, like any other country in the world, had its own issues to solve.

Obviously, there are many differences between America and my home country but there is one difference that I would like to share here. It seemed to me that the people who live in America are always in a hurry. It seemed that they have so many things to do but do not have the time to do it. That is why most Americans (including those who are not but lived here) are always in a perpetual state of stress.

They are busy chasing “something” so that they do not have the time “to smell the flowers”. This is so much unlike Kenya. There it seemed we have plenty of time to rest, to reflect. Perhaps because our lives are less complicated, our dreams are simpler. For most Kenyan families providing daily food on the table is a big accomplishment.

My journey to America is an adventure of a lifetime. I will never forget the many new  experiences that came along   and the lessons it had taught me. Indeed I can say that my journey to America had opened doors in my life that were once closed.


Crofton, Ian (editor). (1994). The Guinness Compact Encyclopedia. London: Guinness Publishing Limited.

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