Monthly Archives: September 2012
This week, after much hot yoga, much meditation, and quite a few gigantic meals to neutralize all calories burned in said hot yoga, I have been thinking about how much I really need. While gearing up for this trip, almost every girl I encounter has something along the lines of “you’re going to live out of a backpack!? For a year?!” The answer, of course, is yes. Hence the term, “backpacking”. Will it be freeing? Of course. Is it terrifying right now? Hell yes.
I have a pile of clothes of my floor that I wash, throw back on the floor, and wear in rotation. These items of clothing would not even come close to fitting into any backpack. I simply have too much. I sleep too much, eat too much, work too little, and save nothing. It is the blessing and the curse of my American generation that we have a world of opportunity and a gigantic sense of entitlement for that opportunity. We research nothing in depth- if we read it on the internet- it must be true. Everyone with a blog (myself included) or a Facebook page feels they have all the answers to the political, economical, and social problems of the world. The truth is- we know nothing (Jon Snow) <–I hope someone just got that reference.
We know nothing. And yet we do nothing to change ourselves. Adventure and experience truly are the best way to learn. Through a lot of yoga and a lot of open mindedness, I have started to look into healing my chakras, balancing energy, etc. I get laughed at. And I think it’s sad. Because my friends- my generation- is so stressed and constantly on highs and lows- whether it’s with their diets, their workload, their relationships. It seems everyone I know is constantly complaining about being tired, being miserable, being depressed. But they choose not to open their minds. After I stopped eating like crap, I felt a million times better physically. Add yoga on to that and I am amazed at what my body can do. I choose to be happy- and in my relationships I live by these three words: don’t. engage. crazy. When my family, my friends, the random person in the same aisle as me at CVS start acting a bit off kilter- making irrational decisions, getting angry at me when I try to help, making excuses, I just ignore it. I go off on my own, collect my thoughts- read for an hour, hit up a yoga class, just don’t engage them in their craziness- and it seriously works. I am so much calmer. I have found all I really need is a good hug once in a while, the love of my family and a handful of good friends, a creative outlet, and an open mind to really enjoy my life. Truly enjoy it. Not eat a whole pizza then hate myself for it while I watch the Kardashians. That is not how we were meant to live.
I think we can all agree that part of traveling is experiencing other cultures. Whether you are diving head first into regional cuisines and living with the locals or just donning a sundress and an umbrella drink on a cruise ship, in some way, we all try to get a little more native in the places we visit.
But the most important part of the cultural experience, the part I think is most overlooked and forgotten is actually seeing how people live- economically, socially- and being aware of the fact that it’s not always perfect. Which brings me to my next point:
Before I leave for my travels, a good chunk of which will take places in Africa, I am running the Tallahassee half marathon for One Girl, an Australian organization that aims to fight for women and girls in Sierra Leone, West Africa to be educated, and therefore, better their lives. The fact is- girls in Sierra Leone are more likely to be raped than to go to school. That alone should inspire those of us who take our education and our relative safety for granted to help One Girl with their mission. Through community outreach and education, One Girl hopes to change the lives and better the situations of the women and girls in Sierra Leone, and one of the ways they reach out for the help of others is through Do It In A Dress, a project in which individuals raise money doing, well, just about anything, in a school girl’s dress.
It’s really amazing. People have played rock shows, skateboarded, gone to work for a week or more, sailed around Turkey for two weeks, thrown dinner parties- all in a school girl’s dress. Men and women, kids and adults, from all over the world, joining together to help educate and invest in the futures of young women. And now, I’m doing it too!
The half marathon isn’t until February, but obviously I want to raise all the awareness I can-
you can donate to my cause here and help me send six girls back to school with money leftover for community outreach for women in Sierra Leone who need healthcare in its most basic form- just a simple sanitary pad, which most women in the western world take for granted everyday- is a lifesaving, life changing element in the betterment of the lives of the women of West Africa.
So check out my page, check out the cause and DONATE.
Real adventure- self-determined, self-motivated, often risky- forces you to have firsthand encounters with the world. The world the way it is, not the way you imagine it. Your body will collide with the earth and you will bear witness. In this way you will be compelled to grapple with the limitless kindness and bottomless cruelty of humankind- and perhaps realize that you yourself are capable of both. This will change you. Nothing will ever again be black and white.