My name is Sam Reeve, and I am ready. I’m ready to embark on the journey of a lifetime; ready to live in and explore the culture of a completely different community; ready to leave my small Southern community with memories, friends, and supporters behind me; ready to see the Amazon; ready to try some cuy (or guinea pig for those of you not traveling with me); and ready to help meet complete strangers for the sake of helping.
I was born and raised in one of, if not the, greatest cities in the US of A, and certainly in the South. In Carrollton, Georgia, I know most of my neighbors and fellow inhabitants. I know when not to travel on the square or Maple Street because of work or university traffic. And, of course, I share some of the finest and freshest foods with the most hospitable people this side of the Mississippi. As I write this, I consume my last bit of fried okra until my return stateside!
In my community, we have many chances to express ourselves in school including, but not limited to, outdoors clubs, service organizations, sports teams, debate programs, art classes, performing arts shows, and Friday night football games. Diversity is a thing welcomed and created at my high school through the many options of involvement, but there are (unofficially) only two pathways after school: college or work. It’s not that gap years don’t exist down here in the land of the pine, but we typically just head straight into some sort of work to sustain ourselves or into an institution in which we can gain the skills to sustain ourselves.
Without forcing you to endure much more of my wordy and scatter-brained dialogue, I’ll get to the point. When I first heard of this idea of a year off before school, I wasn’t enthused. Why “waste” my time with a year off? Why not get the ball rolling and continue on with my education? I mean, it’s been nearly twelve years I’ve endured in school, and it could only be four more before I begin to fill the bank myself! Cue the buzzers…wrong. As I spent more time researching this time off and realizing what it entailed curiosity got the better of me. Leave home for a year…travel into the unknowns of the Amazonian rainforests and Andes…put my three years of Spanish I didn’t think I would use to the test…immerse myself within a new culture for an entire school year…give my time and effort to those who could truly benefit from it…try new foods…BE DIFFERENT.
Be different. Live life so that when I make it to my God’s judgment, I can proudly tell of an experience to enjoy His natural world, to shape and transform my perspectives of youth, and to give myself completely to whomever will embrace my time. As I blog tonight, August 18th, the night before I face my fear, anxiety, nervousness, and excitement surrounding my journey, I know that I have chosen the road less traveled, and, as you may have guessed, I am sure that it will make all the difference. Selah…