Ellie Van Gorden

Ellie is passionate about health and well-being through movement, education and nutrition. She is involved in Crossfit, activism and leadership roles in her community. Her goals for this year include developing as an international citizen, learning first-hand the importance of cross-cultural immersion, becoming fluent in two more languages and establishing a lifelong connection with her host family and cohort. Favorite Quotes: "Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" - Mary Oliver. "It is better, I think, to grab at the stars than to sit flustered because you know you cannot reach them." - R.A. Salvatore


slipping seeking surrendering

i remember when i first arrived here. how an hour seemed like an eternity, and how patience was a foreign word. but now, now the minutes slip through my sand-encrusted fingers and i can’t seem to hold on tight enough. the days flow in and out. light and dark. they open and close nearly the…

22 February, 2019

what ever do i do now?

i asked myself a version of this question right around the time i got rejected from college last year and was in need of a serious pep-talk. at that time, my answer was “go change the world”. now, my answer is the same, but my perspective is *quite* different. although my physical world has expanded,…

19 December, 2018

Observations a Month and Three Quarters In

Sometimes, you start writing, but then the pen explodes and the mosquitoes find you. It is at this point where you recognize that the world is telling you to stop and start again. So here’s attempt number two at this blog! ~ There’s been a man in my entryway seated in one of our creaky,…

24 October, 2018

Running Relatively Blind

Running relatively blind has its pros and cons. On one hand, the colors at dusk blend together and create a beautiful orange glow all around you; but on the other hand, you can’t quite distinguish where the puddles of water turn into mud. I had yet to consider how I was going to go running…

11 October, 2018

Beautiful People and Happenings

I slowly wake to the sound of Taps bellowing out of the ancient speakers lining the walls of the military base about 100 yards out from my bedroom window. The sun creeps in through my draping white curtain, and I hear the rooster crow. I feel the footsteps approaching; the troops chant and sing in…

11 October, 2018

Removed…Once Again

As I sit at this squeaky, uneven table with the remains of a strawberry milkshake at the only restaurant I’ve been to in Thies thus far, I watch the world go by and wonder why mine was so suddenly stopped. I was thriving in the everyday hustle of my neighborhood. I had become accustomed to…

23 September, 2018

I Miss You, I Miss You Not

Things I Miss: ·         Toilet paper ·         Tissues ·         La Croix/ water that doesn’t taste faintly soapy ·         The luxury of speaking my first language ·         A warm shower ·         Clean air ·         Things to look at on the walls ·         Air conditioning. Air conditioning. Air conditioning. ·         The sound of cicadas at dusk ·        …

11 September, 2018

Drop-Off Day

I’m here. I’m finally here. After 5 months of anticipation, uncertainty and a touch of fear I am in my new home. I am in my new room. My things may be somewhat organized in my cabinet and my desk, but the space remains foreign. I keep reading through notes, going through pictures and even…

11 September, 2018

Human Connections and Personal Reflections

I lay here in my Senegalese hotel bed and feel the humidity of the air. I notice the flowy mosquito net that encapsulates me. My gaze turns to the skies as I make my way up the winding staircase to the rooftop. A slight fog covers the tallest hill in the city, and I take…

04 September, 2018

A Bit of a Walkabout Is All

18. That’s how many hours I have left until I leave. Leaving for what? Oh, just a bit of a walkabout is all. *In Australia, a walkabout is a rite of passage into manhood for Aboriginal boys. Now obviously I am neither a boy, nor Aboriginal…but I use this term as a way to describe…

26 August, 2018

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Ellie Van Gorden