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My Travel Journals

In high school Spanish, I listened vaguely to a presentation about some volunteer program in Mexico, automatically dismissing it. Of course I wouldn't do something like that. Then I stood outside myself and asked, "But what if you did?"

What if, indeed.

Fast forward to the end of the school year. I'm 17 and on a plane to Mexico City to be a health volunteer for the Amigos program. Seven weeks later, after living in a tiny, rural house and teaching kids how to brush their teeth, I returned.

I wasn't quite the same person who left.

And so it began. Seeking experience for the purpose of change became an invisible force in the back of my mind. Without understanding, without consciously deciding, I was driven.

Balancing personal growth against the chances of danger, I chose opportunities not too far out of my comfort zone. Like a delicate plant in a plant box, carefully weeded and tended against the weather, but still with room to grow.

I'm an introvert, naive and easily overwhelmed. Paranoid, uptight, not particularly athletic, picky about public toilets, I was once described as "wimpy". So I wonder why people think I'm brave. I'm only willing and lucky. You can be, too.


Living Abroad