Why do I want to go on this trip? What do I hope to gain from it? Honestly, those are hard questions for me to answer. I want to go on this trip, because “Why would you not??!?! It’s going to be amazing.” And I hope to gain “Everything and anything.” But I have been told I need to be a little more specific and a little more meaningful with my response. So here’s a try:
I grew up in Gainesville, Florida, a small college town, living in a middle class family. We went on a lot of great family vacations around the US, but never abroad. Meanwhile, I grew up listening to my mom tell me stories about her trips to Europe and Africa when she was younger. I learned about other places in school and from well-traveled peers. It all just sounded so romantic and wonderful and I wanted to experience that too! So from relatively young my heart and dreams focused in on wanting to explore the world. When I got to college, three additional experiences brought me a teensy bit closer to this current adventure. I became a Sociology major and for the first time appreciated in a concrete, scientific way how society and life circumstances predictably mold each one of us as individuals and influence our life paths. Next, I sort of stumbled into volunteering for an amazing organization, called Building Tomorrow, that raises funds to build educational infrastructure in Uganda. Building Tomorrow changed my life by teaching me to care deeply about the needs of people I had never met just based on the facts that they exist, have needs, are inherently my equal and can benefit directly from my time (that as a college student I had tons of!). That sounds pretty fluffy, but BT changed service from a resume bullet point to something intensely fulfilling for me. And finally, my opportunity came to study abroad in Costa Rica for 6 months. It pushed me out of my comfort zone. It showed me that you can make a life for yourself anywhere. It was my first experience as other / different / foreigner. I came to feel comfortable in a new culture with a new daily language, new routines, new foods, new everything and it felt good, so so good. (Also, I fell in love so that was nice).
So what does that all amount to? Sociology taught me how much culture and society define us. BT taught me to care about humanity and to want to impact it. Costa Rica taught me to be brave and to adventure whole-heartedly. So here I am with the opportunity to go on a world trip - and I’m going to learn, to experience, to gain wisdom from others, and to take in all the differences and similarities that abound in this amazing wide beautiful world. Someday when I FINALLY become a doctor I want to work in disadvantaged populations locally and abroad and I want to use this trip to inform my patient care and career path. How exactly? I’m not sure - I’ll have to define that further as I go! Look out for my blog posts and I’ll let you know what I discover!
I have been really lucky to live the life that I live right now. I was born into a stable family that sent me to good schools, raised me in a supportive environment, and provided the foundation for me to have a comfortable and happy life. Then, by an absolutely massive stroke of luck, I stumbled into digital design and development early in my life, and in it found a passion that transitioned smoothly into not just a career, but a career in which the demand for the skillset I have developed is incredibly high. On top of that, the first company I worked for out of college was (and still is) amazing. Carrot Creative provided a base for me to learn and grow my skills and coworkers that are like friends and family to me. Life doesn't go this way for everyone, and I am incredibly thankful for what I have.
Everyone thinks about the meaning of life sometimes. You know -- like what am I doing with my life? I think about this a lot. I have been so fortunate in my life, and often times I feel like it's much more than I deserve, while others have had much less. At the same time, my work is about solivng problems with technology, but since I live in the first world, the problems I see and experience are inherently first world problems. Just think about the big technology companies that have come out of our generation: facebook, twitter, pinterest, uber... these are all wonderful but they are just sugar and convenience for people's lives that are already very sugary and convenient already.
I want more out of life than this. Call it a gift or a curse, but I could never be satisfied putting the results of my good fortune and knowledge towards making people who have great lives have better lives, while I know that there are people whose lives aren't so great elsewhere in the world, and so much talent is busy working on first-world issues that they just don't have the perspective to identify and work on. But alas, I still live in the first world, so first world problems are all that I see, and all I have the perspective to work on.
I thought about all of this a long time ago, and realized that in order to chase problems that are more significant, I would have to broaden my perspective of the world. And what other way is there to do that than to go see more of it, and experience it directly.
For the past three years I have been saving money to be able to travel and learning voraciously to get better at what I do. Starting this March, I'll be taking a full year off to travel around the world with my amazing girlfriend Christina, in the hopes that perhaps I can gain a better perspetive on how things work outside my little privileged bubble. This website will serve as the home base for our trip. I don't want to be a recluse and drop off the grid for a year, I want to share the trip with all my friends and family, and all of their friends and families too. This experience is not just for me -- it's also for everyone I know. We will be extensively writing about and photographing everything we experience and do during this trip in the hopes that it will not only give me more perspective, but also anyone else who's interested in the same thing.
So thank you for reading, for visiting, and I hope to see you back here again!