Tommy Anderson learns about the world through traveling


While most kids were learning to walk and talk, junior Tommy Anderson was breaking boundaries, country boundaries in specific.

For as long as he can remember, Tommy has been traveling the world, experiencing what life is like in all different circumstances.

“I’ve traveled my entire life,” Tommy said. “I’ve been gifted the ability to see so much of the world at such a young age and see things that most people just see in movies.”

So far, Tommy has traveled to Ireland, Costa Rica, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Canada, and various places in the United States. Whether he is somewhere for a mission trip or just for vacation, his eyes have been opened to so many unexpected different aspects of life around the world.

“[Other countries] are very different; they aren’t exactly what I expected,” Tommy said. “Videos, movies, and documentaries don’t do them justice. Actually being there shows so much more. It’s all just very different.”

Traveling allows Tommy an outlet that most people don’t have that opens him up to this huge world he’s living in. Every new place he travels to is a new chance for him to naturally learn about different people and their ways.

“I’ve seen more of the world than most people will ever see in their entire lives,” Tommy said. “Traveling just makes me understand more about what’s going on in the world and introduces me to new cultures.”

Not only has Tommy been able to learn from other countries through his travels, but he has also been able to compare it to how people live in Massachusetts, where he used to live, and Forest Hills.

He has always been aware of these global differences, but he had never been able to really understand the extent to which that applied.

“I already knew that we lived differently than other places,” Tommy said, “but just seeing it in person really fortified that feeling. Each place showed a different world, a different culture, and a bunch of different people compared to what everything is like here [in Forest Hills].”

Through comparing and simply experiencing life and conditions in other countries, Tommy has felt a difference in himself. He’s found new values and a new look on his life. 

“I value my life so much more than I used to,” Tommy said. “Through traveling to numerous very different places and seeing all the different ways people live, I realized how lucky I am. I have become a lot more grateful for what I have.”

With all Tommy has learned and experienced through his travels so far, he has big plans for traveling throughout the rest of his life. He has plans to keep making positive changes in countries that need it through missions trips, and also just traveling to see the world. 

I’ve seen more of the world than most people will ever see in their entire lives…”

— Tommy Anderson

Tommy hopes to soon travel to Asia, where he can visit places like China or Thailand.

“Asia has always been somewhere I would want to and plan on traveling to,” Tommy said. “I just feel like the experience there would be a much different experience than anywhere else in the world.”

Tommy wants to continue seeing the world through his own personal lens. He doesn’t want to ever stay in a place for too long, but just long enough to experience the country. He’s seen the best and worst of countries, the beauty and the ugly, and he wants to keep seeing it all.

“You see traumatic things everywhere [in Haiti],” Tommy said. “One time, I saw a baby that was just left in the trash on the side of the road. There was no one around; the baby was just left to die. Yet, the very same day, just minutes later, I would be with all of these kids that had barely enough to survive but were the happiest kids I had ever been around.”

What Tommy has taken from all of his travels is that the world is a magnificent place. There is so much to see and learn, and Tommy wants to continue on his journey around the world to see it all.

Each place Tommy traveled to left a mark on him, and these marks are part of what makes him, him.

“You never know how much you really know, or could know, until you’ve traveled the world and seen all these different places and opened your mind to so many new things,” Tommy said.