I believe I’ve mentioned before how I’m in no way done with traveling. If not, I’ll tell you now, I’m in no way done with traveling.
This blog started out as a way to record and share my experiences during my amazing, unique, once-in-a-lifetime experience abroad in Morocco, Turkey, and Sri Lanka. I’m not going to dive into the details because that could take days and I only have about twenty minutes before I have to go to class. What started out as a public, online way for me to share my thoughts and stories is going to continue to be just that.
The change is that it is no longer about “17 students, 3 countries, 1 month,” as what was originally posted on the front page. Instead it’s “1 human being, 1 world, 1 lifetime.”
I want to clarify that I’m not planning on traveling all by myself. While I know it happens and has the potential to happen for me, when I say one human being, what I mean is that I am the only one who has been on all of the journeys I’ve taken. No one else has had the exact same experiences, gone to the same places, and done the same things as me. My lifetime travel experiences are never going to be replicated in the exact same manner and that is what makes it my own. As cliche and sappy as this sounds, each and every one of my experiences have contributed to who I am, how I think, and how I act now and no one else shares every one with me.
Now to announce my next adventure! Most people who know me know that I in March of this year (2014), I traveled to Mandeville, Jamaica with the YMCA at Virginia Tech to participate in a week of service with multiple YMCA campuses and students. Surprise! I’m going again, for Spring Break 2015! Even if you do know that I went last year, you might not know that I was a student leader for the group, helping to recruit trip participants, plan pre-trip meetings with the team, organize fundraisers, and then lead a group of students abroad with absolutely no adult-supervision, making me by default, the adult supervision. Terrifying.
Know I know what some of you may be thinking. Spring Break. College Students. Jamaica. “Service.” Sounds suspicious. Not to be blunt, but I don’t care. I know what my intentions are, what my goals are, my motivations, my reasons, my driving force. And no one is going to tell me they’re something different.
If you haven’t heard of the term “voluntourism,” the definition I got from Google is as follows:
“A form of tourism in which travelers participate in voluntary work, typically for a charity.”
Voluntourism has become a very popular form of travel, as it allows for participants to travel abroad, typically to new places they want to visit, and do some good along the way. I’m not saying it’s a bad practice. I would rather people be a voluntourist than just a tourist. But that’s not what we’re doing here. That’s not what I’m doing here. I’ve been to Jamaica. I can cross that tiny island off my list and never look back but instead set my sights on to the next place. But I’m not going to do that. When I left Jamaica last year, I left a part of my heart and I want to find it again.
I won’t deny the possibility of fun. How can you not have fun in Jamaica over Spring Break?
It has been my belief for a very long time that service is a selfish act. Take a survey of why people do service and I will guarantee that the most popular answer you get is somewhere along the lines of “It makes me feel good,” or “I want to give back to those less fortunate.” I have a lot of feelings about this subject as even though it is not what my degree is going to say when I graduate, I like to think that I’ve been majoring in social justice, leadership, and service because those are the things I think about and have been involved in throughout college when I haven’t been doing actual schoolwork. Someday I hope to share all of my feelings about the reasons we do service, international travel, etc. etc. but today is not that day cause now I’m down to ten minutes.
Please continue reading if you want to hear about my time in Jamaica. I’m very passionate about it because I’ve dedicated almost all of my free time to trying to go back and when it comes down to it, it’s exhausting, stressful, frustrating, and one of the most important things I’ve done with my time at Tech and therefore means it’s well worth it.
One more thing before I go. Even though I don’t have time to delve into the depths of the root causes of service, volunteering, what drives us, etc., I will share one of my main reasons for doing what I’m doing, and it comes from 1 Peter 4:10
“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.”
That’s why I’m doing this. And also because of Camille:
Until next time, thanks for reading!