“You’ve moved 12 times and you’re how old!?”
That’s pretty much the general reaction I get when I try to explain why I still have moving boxes in my closet after living in my house for a year.
I am from almost every little town just north of San Francisco. Although the population is under a million people, San Francisco is incredibly rich in diversity and culture. It’s a city where being different and bizarre are traits to be celebrated. Every day in this beautiful city is an adventure. Coming from this unique environment, I feel blessed to have an excitement for even wilder journeys, ones that can take me beyond my comfort zone and drop me into situations where the answer isn’t always clear. I want to be that one who takes the road less traveled, despite its exterior appearance.
Living in a world where you constantly have to create a home in a new environment has created within me a love of traveling and an ability to adapt. With these strengths, the decision to spend a year in a third world country where I could make a true difference was an opportunity I could not pass up.
A gap year in Ecuador means leaving my friends and family for many months — something I have never had to do for such a long time — but it also means an incredible opportunity and adventure. While I wish to help the Ecuadorians in whatever ways I can, whether it be women’s empowerment or working with youth, I know I will come back with far more knowledge about the world and about myself than I could ever hope to teach. All I can say now is that I am excited and nervous to embark on this new stage of my life but I wouldn’t trade this opportunity for a second. I’ve always wanted to live in another country and I can’t even wrap my head around the reality that I will be Ecuador-bound in less than two months. I think Robert Frost got it right; taking the road less traveled does make all the difference.