The Story that Started it All
My eyes fluttered closed as I felt the soft ocean mist washing over my face. I had left my cabin on the eleventh floor to venture out to the bow of the massive ship, alone. Completely void of my fellow passengers, it was a welcome change from the crowded decks above. In that moment, I could feel the unprecedented mystery surrounding great bodies of water. Instead of being afraid of something so vast and mystifying, I was incredibly content just staring out at the dark water, watching the ship create graceful ribbons of foam through the great unknown.
That moment remains vivid in my mind, though it occurred three years ago now. It was there, in the heart of the Cayman Islands, that I registered an irrevocable shift in the very core of my being. As that original moment drifts into the distance of my life, I only continue to develop a passion for exploration that grows greater and more restless with each passing measure of time. Like disappearing fog from a mountaintop as morning comes to a close, the need to fill my life with the trivialities that seem to plague society has faded away. To walk away from the divine majority is to open your mind to the path that you create for your own self. Life, a continuous unfolding, is waiting to be shaped by your constantly evolving hands. It is travel, over and over again, that has revealed to me these barrier-breaking lessons.
At this point, I have stood in the heart of New York City, staring up at the infinite possibility that is suggested just by breathing in the air in such a place. I have wrapped my arms around “free hug” sign wielding strangers on the streets of Salem, Massachusetts. I have swum in the crystalline waters of the Dominican Republic, ordered meals in Spanish, and shared subway seats with more nationalities than I could count. In each instance, I am warmed by a feeling of anonymity, of home, in every one of these contrasting spaces. Freedom of expression is ever-changing, reverberating off of all of us with invisible energy. Every passing being has a history, a story dotted with chapters spoke aloud and those that remain hidden. And what a beautiful thought that is. We’re all just lurking in and out of the existences of one another, articulating our shared words as a celebration of our inner monologues. Coming home to the feeling of anonymity is to come home to your true self. You cannot count yourself among the included until you broaden your spectrum of acceptance to include those often overlooked and those who prefer to blend in.
Adaptation is a great challenge of the human condition. This challenge is one that I have noticed I not only welcome, but one that I chase down. I exist in a constant pursuit of adventure riddled with solitude and self-discovery. As I laughed with the locals on top of paradise point in St. Thomas and clinked mango smoothie glasses with a nomadic DJ, I had never felt more myself. I shy away from those who know me best, while I blossom with authenticity when surrounded by strangers celebrating their culture. We are all unique beings, but we’re surviving the same way. There is a universal comfort in that ideal. Our lives do not play out in absolutes. This idea has armed me with the will to make a life for myself out of my love for and my need to travel the world.
Travel has shaped me in a way that conventional standards of education never will. It is my dearest hope that all people, at some point in their lives, grant themselves the ability to look beyond their mask of perception to contemplate the existence of others, both near and far. I am infinitely impassioned by the urge to move, the need to break through the safety net I am entangled in. The want to leave will always be enough. Education, to me, is a collaboration of enlightening experiences, a constant unraveling of moments that serve to awaken the adventure that courses through every fiber of my being. I am an adventuress and I will never let conventionality define me, as sure as I will never stop chasing after opportunity.