Archives for category: About me

This week, as I prepare myself to go back home, I’ve had a lot of time to think about this trip and what it has meant to me.

There are two people whose words before this trip have stayed with me, and who I am especially reminded of as I reflect upon these past months. The first is an old friend who, upon hearing that I was going to be traveling for 5 months abroad, told me to read about the philosopher Seneca, one of whose dialogues reflects on the shortness of life, but how any amount of time is sufficient if you live it wisely. My friend told me that he wished he had traveled before he had started his professional career, before he felt that it was no longer an easy option, and that he was happy that I was taking advantage of the time.

The other words I remember well were those that came in the form of a letter from a client of mine before I left. He had told me that he felt that I had a great deal of good to do in the world, and that it was a relief to know that there were people out there who had a good grasp of the world, who knew right and wrong, and who don’t settle for what the world thinks they should do.

I’m not pretending that I’m an example of what these people were saying, and I’m about the last person who wants to sound preachy. But they are certainly good things to work towards to in my mind. I’ve tended to steer myself on the course that I believed the people around me thought was the “right” one. Get good grades in high school, participate in extracurriculars, go to college, start a career. But I’ve always found myself deviating from the path – transferring schools, taking a year off after high school to travel and work, finding myself bored with college and not always fitting into it’s social life, delaying a move into a career-oriented life… But what I’ve found is that all this stuff – the “right” and socially acceptable stuff – usually does not make me happy, and therefore it doesn’t matter much in the greater scheme of things.

For me it’s moving. Traveling. Seeing new things and people and places. Maybe I have a short attention span. But in all honesty I think it has just become a part of who I am over the years. (Thanks to my Mom for dragging me around the world since I was a babe) But a piece of advice – and this is for myself just as much as anyone reading. Don’t wait for the things you want to do until it is too late. Don’t think too much about what will or will not happen with your job, your friends, your family. I’m a firm believer that things have a way of working themselves out (as cliché as it sounds). But above all – Explore. Do the things you’ve always wanted, or maybe didn’t think you wanted. Watch a picture perfect sunset in a place you’ve never been. Rest your head on the pulsating stomach of a tiger. Touch the trunk of an Asian elephant, who’s most likely experienced and learned more about life than you have. Go diving with the chance to see anything from a sea turtle to a white-tipped reef shark to a giant Mola mola. Learn a new language.

So I guess what I’m saying is – life is short but it does not have to be restricting, as Seneca said, and I’m trying to do as much as I can in the little time I have. In some small way, I hope in the past 5 months I’ve lived up to my client’s words, and continue to do so throughout my life. And I hope to impart a little bit of my knowledge along the way.

beach paradise, southern Lombok.

Fair winds and following seas.

 

little tazi at a moving plantation. borneo, 1992.

I can’t remember the first time I decided that I wanted to live abroad. It was a long time ago, but it stuck. This summer I started talking about plans for an around-the-world trip with a couple of friends. Then, when little Davie and I were talking one day on one of our summer escapades, everything seemed to fall into place. I told him about Indonesia – why it’s the favorite place I’ve been to, how much there is to do and see and explore, and the fact that I knew a bit (actually a puny amount) of the language, and how relatively close it is to other sweet countries. We became more and more excited, sending late night texts or talking over drinks about new ideas and plans we had thought up. We even got our friends and families excited about our prospective adventures. And now here we are, almost on our way.

Both Dav and I are seasoned travelers. My first trip to Indonesia was when I was 5, when my mother and I took a “rustic” boat trip to Camp Leakey on Borneo to visit the Orangutans. At this time, Borneo was pretty much untouched by the West, and I spent most of my time being an angry toddler towards all the attention I was receiving as one of the first blond-haired Caucasian girls most of the indigenous had ever seen. Since then I’ve returned four times, and the country now holds a very special place in my heart. There have definitely been other trips to remember (Morocco, Portugal, Spain, Tanzania, the Netherlands, Turkey, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Switzerland, Ecuador, Mexico, Argentina, Burma, Thailand, Australia) and I have participated in volunteer programs in New Zealand, Fiji, and St. Lucia. But still, Indonesia has been one of those places I’ve always known I would want to spend more time, and perhaps call home one day.

little tazi with an orphaned sun bear cub. borneo, 1992.

Which brings me to the present. I am 23 years old and a recent graduate from Boston University with a degree in Anthropology. Like a lot of people in my situation, and I think I can safely say Dav is in the same boat, I’m not sure where I want to go from here. I’ve already had a plethora of jobs in the seven years that I’ve been working, but I’ve always known that being able to travel, share my experiences, and guide others in their own experiences abroad would have to fit somewhere in my so-called “career path”. Traveling is how I was brought up. It’s in my blood. So while I am in what anthropologists call the “liminal phase”, I thought what better time in my life to check out and do some self-exploration in a completely foreign place where I am bound to be tested and tried at every turn. Not only that, but maybe join a program or two, using my smarts to work at a rehab center for elephants in Thailand, or doing primatology research at an Orangutan reserve on Sumatra. Wouldn’t that be dandy. Adventures galore.

To be continued…