My Story in hyphens

I’m Chicago-Raised, Quito- Born, and Brazil-Livin´Petite Cumbiera with a Samba Soul.  Una Viajera who writes in Spanglish cuz my mind is split into two hemispheres and between cultures.



On a personal journey with a backpack on-hand to find my identity and  vocation within all my hyphens.

Searching for the bridge in the Hyphens and Purpose 

Knack for words is my thing while my purpose is to connect those words (with accents and all)  to tell stories. Hyphenated Stories is the story of our generation, the collective stories of identities mixtures with stories left and right of the hyphen that accompanies Latinas today,  and which accompanies a generation of a border-less world of people in transit looking for new opportunities.

To the left of my hyphen. I am Ecuadorian. To the right I’m America. And in between is my true self. Not American. Not Ecuadorian. A bit of both and at the same time neither. I am Michelle. This is who I am and this doesn’t need a hyphen. What I am is a storyteller. A wanderer. And I am connected to women and people not by the hyphens or simply because of accents in their name like mine, but by stories and ambitions to countless stories that fail to be told.
I want to tell stories by passing the mic. There is no such thing as voiceless.

These are chronicles of a backpack and a journey beyond the road

The worst part of travel is actually traveling. Confession:  I don’t actually like traveling. I enjoy staying.  Staying in a place to be greeted across the street from the “vizinhos” or “vecinos.” My “destino” is South America. More than a GPS destination this is my personal journey of a U.S -raised and educated latina trying to figure out all these hyphenated identities society attaches and find this space to figure out myself as a human, a mujer, a latina, an immigrant to the U.S and an “expat” in South America.

I have backpacked. I have lived.  I have worked. I have volunteered throughout South America.  Quito and Salvador are my great chapters for my book called life. So far I have the chapter ” My so-Called Ecuadorian Life” about my three years living back to the place of my birth. “ My so-called Brazilian Life” is about my time in Brazil with almost a year living in Salvador da Bahia, and temporary hopping in Rio de Janeiro.

What was a two-month backpacking vacation has now turned into more than three years since I left my Chicago life. In a  journey of finding myself within all these hyphens, I left to be (re)rooted in South America to find those answers of identity and my personal mission in life.

I travel beyond wanderlust. I want to know, interact, connect, share stories, and tell you about these stories.  Human connection more than “likes.”

And as it turns out, I love to tell stories- the stories of the untold. Among my passion projects being worked on is my lemonade stand Samba Wallet and community and resource gatherer for BeVisible, a community career platform for Latinx utilizing peer-to-peer social capital for empowerment.

Now I’m in the current chapter of my book of trying to weave all my passions: travel, Latin America, storytelling, education, entrepreneurship, and feminism.

The World is my office. Welcome. Güelcom. Bienvenidos. Bem- Vindo. This is my-so-called-life. Güelcom

Join the journey.

contact: cruz.michelle04(at)gmail(punto)com


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My work desk, my hammock





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