Living My Dream

Hannah Phalen


July 30, 2014

“The biggest adventure you can ever take is to live the life of your dreams.” – Oprah Winfrey

It has always been a top priority of mine to see the world. I grew up being taught that you need to make sacrifices, but anything you want to do is somehow possible. I didn’t grow up wealthy, but I grew up knowing to never let that stop me.

I can thank the Bay Area for inspiring my desires to travel and experience cultures different from my own. I’ve gone to school my whole life with people of all colors, socioeconomic backgrounds, and histories. There is also countless opportunities that are so easily accessible for anyone around here. I am extremely lucky to have been invited or nominated to go on trips all over the place. I went to France with a cooking group, Japan with Girl Scouts, and Nicaragua with Global Glimpse, a similar organization to Global Citizen Year. Less than 1% of high school students study abroad. I also was able to study Social Justice for a summer at the University of Pennsylvania and tour colleges around the East Coast through the Ivy League Connection. I have never felt unable to live my dreams.

There is such a narrow, expected path of “success” for young people of our generation. Thirteen years of primary education, then college, then your career. I don’t see that as successful. I see success as happiness and ability for you and whatever family you have as an adult to do what they need to do to be happy. Going to college and having a career are definitely things I want to do, but first I want to see the world. It’s going to be hard, to leave the life I have here and love. But I know Ecuador is going to be the biggest adventure I have ever gone on, and it’s just the beginning of my dream.

Hannah Phalen