My goals have changed throughout my life. Now in my mid-20s, one goal and one dream has remained the same: to change the world, and to travel the world.
2010 started off rather eventfully. I rushed off to Connecticut to be with family during a medical emergency. One afternoon, I was talking to my uncle, ever the wise man, and he kept emphasizing that life is short and I need to do what makes me happy. He said that while I'm still young, I won't be young for long and I can't waste my life being unhappy.
Less than a week after my return from CT, I was whisked off to sunny Florida to visit friends, then to gorgeous Runaway Bay, Jamaica. This was my first time traveling outside of the country (unless I count Canada in the 2nd grade, back when passports weren't required to visit our northern neighbors) and the experience was exhilarating and eye-opening. Jamaica is a beautiful island, spoiled by heavy tourism, and rich in poverty. I met some amazing local people, such strong and optimistic people. The highlight of the trip was stumbling upon a basic school (pre-K and Kindergarten) in Ocho Rios and being invited in by the principal to play with the children. 200 children attend this school with just 5 teachers and a dirt pit to play in. The principal gave me the school's address and I am in the process of putting together a care package for the school with copies of the pictures we took, books, cleaning supplies, etc.
My whirlwind month and a half inspired me. I loved being on the road and in the air. I am so content on an airplane, even if I'm squashed between two other passengers, even if one of them has a nasty cough, even if a kid is kicking my seat. I'm so at peace when I'm on the go; how can I worry about anything when I'm thousands and thousands of feet up in the air?
Exploring is my favorite thing to do. I stayed in a nice (albeit cheesy) resort in Jamaica, but I loved leaving the resort and exploring Runaway Bay on foot. This is how we made a new friend (Ricardo) and saw life moving: schoolchildren walking home, a busy post office, a tiny library (only open Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 3-6pm), a dimly lit grocery store... I loved every detail, every movement, and every person we encountered along the way.
The poverty in Runaway Bay (and everywhere else in Jamaica, for that matter) opened my eyes and cracked my heart. How could so many people visit this island every day and NOT do something?
So here I am. Mid-20s. Determined to make the most of this life, to make the most of my life, and go above and beyond to make a difference. I'm happiest when I'm moving, and I'm happiest when I'm helping. Life is too short to be unhappy.