About my nap year.

Jasen Lo - Senegal


August 28, 2016

Hi. I'm Jasen. This is my blog. It is a blog of a perpetually confused, endlessly blabbering teenage adult. A Singaporean who never served, a Hong Konger who escaped home and politics to distant lands. Senegal. I write this in honorable memory of the coming adventure and under the obligation of my scholarship (Cheers Katie). I still hold many reservations of writing a blog, I see my thought processes as private and I, in secret, self depreciate and flatter myself to extreme degrees. Regardless, i begin:

i had an aspiration once. Like other lofty goals of mine such as playing the guitar and growing to be 6 feet tall, this particular aspiration never came to be. My aspiration was to record my dreams on paper. Nightmare, sweet dream, any dream; i would write down every excruciatingly embarrassing detail into breathing, living text. But i never did. Perhaps due to fear, that my words would never do justice to all of my other worldly experiences. A lack of discipline in a artistic sense, that i never contented hard enough with the demons of procrastination and literary stagnation. The truth is however, that i simply thought that words and text are sacred and my experiences were no where in the same realm of quality or depth in terms of the human experience. Debatable point i suppose.

i have this feeling that i kinda dream my way through my life. The theory partially explains the hazy, sometimes detached sensation of reviewing memories. Sometimes i would awake from my slumber and be hyper aware of the illusions that make me. Most times i dream on, blissfully content with the shroud of inevitable, but entirely random circumstances that surround me. In most comparative basses, life is good for me, there isn't a practical motivation to critically record my existence metaphysically. But i feel as if my personal growth has been stunted by my indecision and petty anxieties for some time. So here i take a leap of faith into the unknown galaxy of writing thought and recording dreams. I'm tired of sleeping sound and unconcerned. Perhaps a nap would suffice, then i shall open my eyes to the sand and wind and fears and pain and wonderful, energetic wanderlust that seek to enter. My hope is that i wake sooner than latter. I prefer slightly the narrative that individuals have control over their destiny.
I have decided that this year will be my nap year. Nope, not a gap or bridge year. The former conjures images of a permanent fall into the peripheries of lost soul searching (which honestly doesn't sound too bad) while the latter suggests that I am aware of where I come from and where i'll be going. I don't. i like sleep, i also like lousy puns and humorless jokes. So nap year. Yay.
I write this first post in the airports of San Francisco and New York. I depart for Senegal after spending a week in Redwood Alliance Conference Grounds (Occidental) and Stanford University undergoing pre-departure training (PDT). These training sessions included big name speakers from Minerva, Change.org, Kiva and big heart speakers like Alumni and staff members. Present was a atmosphere of energetic curiosity and youthful optimism. People were generally friendly and intellectually stimulating. My numb mind felt particularly fatigued from discussing these larger than self concepts after months of academic burnout and workplace exhaustion, but it was a much needed shot of faith-in-humanity adrenaline. In truth, while i was moved by the concepts and ideals that confronted my beliefs, ultimately i did not feel entirely committed to the lofty ideals that Global Citizen Year was built on. Not on a basis of disagreement, but more so that this nap year is exclusively for my personal development. That may sound selfish, but I haven't yet found out if those two motives are mutually exclusive, so perhaps i will change my mind. However, I did meet many interesting, interested humane humans. Apologies for the tardy selection of description but this was the aptest lexical choice. i established many connections that i am not eager to forfeit. Noemi from UWC Pearson was one such individual. She coined the term "nap year". Credits to you Noemi and take care of my hoodie. Cheers to the splashes of individuals that colour my nap year.
My next post will be written in Dakar, Senegal. I look forward to that. I have no more words, try the pictures. I'm pretty proud of my work so far as a camera noob. Now i nap, thanks to comfy airport lounges. 
TLDR – Jasen can't decide if he wants to write a blog but decides he should. PDT was pleasant and Jasen made good friends. Now he goes to Senegal.

Jasen Lo