I think that’s what I’m asked most frequently when I tell someone I’m moving to Ecuador.
Or occasionally, with a little more sass, “On purpose?” It’s also something I ask myself.
It’s a difficult question to answer beyond kind of generic, superficial goals. For instance,
I want to learn Spanish, and interact with a new culture, and make new
relationships. But none of those things are particularly personal.
There’s some underlying feeling, I think, that draws me and it’s difficult to articulate
accurately or sincerely. It’s the same feeling that drew me to spend my past
two summers in Istanbul and the Netherlands doing youth exchange camps with a
bunch of strangers from all over the world. Strangers that ended up becoming my huge,
international family that I love and miss pretty dearly.
It’s a feeling of being at home in the world and wanting to discover what my home has
to offer. It’s an inescapable need to learn, from and about people and cultures
and places that are so vastly different from what is familiar to me.
Additionally, by going and learning as much as I can and maybe making someone smile along the
way, I want to contribute. Not “change the world” or even “fix” anything, but
develop values that mold me into a true global citizen. In doing so, in
becoming an individual that understands and respects the world, I hope I can
contribute to a positive change in global culture that I believe is absolutely