| Ledger correspondent
Once Priyanka Surio stepped away from Mulberry, she began an adventure touring not only 44 of the 50 U.S. states but also 40 countries.
Now, Surio, 29, has gathered those experiences into her first book, ”Third Culture Kids of the World.”
Speaking from Washington, D.C., where she is director of data and informatics for the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, Surio said, “It’s a big effort, but I’m excited to share with people in Lakeland because it’s a book about traveling, it’s a book about what I’ve learned around the world as I’ve traveled,” she said. “It’s not just for people in Lakeland, but it’s really special for me to share with people from Lakeland because there’s so much we don’t get to see and experience in the world and I’d like to bring that back home.”
The 12-chapter, just over 200-page book has been written over the past four years while she was traveling.
Surio said her work in health information technology and data-related projects for all the U.S. state and territorial health departments gave her the opportunities to travel.
She has been intrigued by other cultures partly from her family dynamics — her father, Girish, is Indian and her mother, Susanna is Hungarian — and wants to experience firsthand as many of them as possible.
Surio said she became shrewd on how to travel on a budget and how to find valid, trustworthy tour companies to maximize how she spent her trip time. She said she has financed her expeditions either out-of-pocket, study-abroad opportunities, fellowships in addition to work-related trips.
In addition to popular travel destinations such as London, Paris, Russia and others, she’s visited far less traveled tourist destinations such as Inner Mongolia and the Demilitarized Zone between South Korea and North Korea.
“People need to learn to be more mindful when they’re traveling. I want to show people how you can do it,” said Surio. “I want to show people it’s not too expensive or too scary or whatever, there’s those barriers. I kind of want to eliminate those barriers. I want to bring this back home and encourage people to travel more.”
“Third Culture Kids of the World” is thought provoking and an enjoyable read for prospective travelers said Brian Bies, head of publishing of New Degree Press in in Potomac, Maryland.
“It is at the intersection of travel, activism and global citizenship. ‘Third Culture Kids of the World’ will help you realize that the most important ingredient to navigating our world is infinite love,” he said. “You will hear stories of becoming more open-minded, resilient, discovering human connection and much more.”
The book is divided into four sections. The first deals with how the world has become more globalized; climate and how it changes as we become more globalized; and how we’ve change and adapted after 9/11 and COVID.
The second part, and what she considers most important, is about the “travel mindset” and how to make travel more enriching through interaction with and awareness of the idiosyncrasies of other cultures.
The third section describes how to physically navigate travel and the last section is the “Global Citizen Pledge” — how to put into use what a reader has learned from the book.
“My book is really biased toward action. What do know now that you’ve read the chapters — what are you doing to do? How do you accept other cultures in other countries and be open to what they have to offer? What are you going to do now that you know all this information?” she said.
Surio said in most places she visited she found someone who spoke English or she used Google to translate. In other cases, she used hand gestures to get around.
“I would plan way in advance…and try to navigate the best I could knowing I don’t know the language,” she added.
Overall, Surio said, she hoped “Third Culture Kids of the World” would be a way for those who may be a bit intimidated about travel to cut loose. “If a woman from Mulberry can do it, anyone can.
“You need to go and not be too rigid with plans. The beauty of travel is experiencing the world for what it is,” she said.
For information on “Third Culture Kids of the World,” see Surio Priyanka on Facebook or Instagram. The book has not yet been priced and will be available on Amazon.