I usually try to keep my blog free of big blocks of texts, because honestly, I don’t know who would read it. But, my dsrl recently, was stolen in an Amsterdam bus station, so I’ll have no new pictures for quite some time.
A little over a year ago, I was sitting on the couch in my apartment. Probably, watching some travel themed documentary or movie on Netflix. I was completely uninspired by life, my daily grind consisted of classes from 8-2 and work from 2:30-12a.m. M-F. You see, that was my grind for the past 4 years, not exciting, but progress towards at least a degree, right?
For me, a degree isn’t enough, it’s not a golden ticket to happiness or success, it will be another long-term goal that I can scratch off, but it will not define me. As a two-time college drop out, I knew that education could open so many doors, but I could never find that balance between having to support myself and getting the best value out of an education and even more so my college experience.
I use to dust off my passport and flip through it, only to see a Jamaican customs stamp for entry/departure from 2009. I always knew I wanted to travel MORE, but with my schedule, and the FEARS; traveling alone, not knowing whether it would be all it’s cracked up to be, etc.. It wasn’t hard to throw my fears by the wayside, spring break was closing in and for my general sanity’s sake, I knew I had to get away.
So, with 2 weeks notice, I booked it. A flight to London, not knowing where I was going to stay, or what exactly I wanted to do and see. I didn’t care, that was the biggest step I’ve taken towards my own happiness since I up and moved to Kentucky in 2007. I like to label London as the “starter kit” for international traveling. It’s kind of the get your feet wet, before you dive in thing. On the flight there, I had butterfly’s, the pessimist in me filled my head with visions of it being completely shit. And everything that could go wrong would.
Well, the first 4 days in London was the most amazing experience I had in my life up until that point, I met some great people, made life-long friends from around the globe, and partied ‘till the wee-hours of every morning. On the 5th day, I had the option to go to Dublin for St. Patty’s day or a train to Paris for the weekend, I chose Paris. I have been fascinated by Paris since I was a little tyke, I never would’ve thought my dreams of sitting at the foot of the Eiffle Tower would be attainable, but with a 2 hour train ride from London, I couldn’t pass it up.
One of the most humbling experiences, was riding the metro in Paris and not ever hearing any English. None. I was overwhelmed by the “I made it..” feeling.
I share this little story, because word to Notorious B.I.G. “It was all a dream..”, and that’s all it ever was. The stresses and fears of life, that forced me to throw my dreams on the back burner, were the same one’s that forced me to chase them with more determination and motivation than I’ve ever had in my life.
I’ am high off life, I’ am inspired by everything that I’ve seen and accomplished in just over a year. The AMAZING people, I have come across whether I studied, lived, partied, or traveled with them. I have postponed graduating from college for at least a year now, because no matter how long it took me to execute, I knew there was something MORE to it. If it wasn’t for chasing my dreams, I would’ve never made it to London the first time. I’ve lived and studied in Morocco, traveled throughout southern Spain and Italy. Paris, which was always a once in a lifetime feat, I’ve been 7 times now, and now it’s just a weekend trip. I took the opportunity to study in France, simply, because the language will significantly aide my Pan-African Studies degree when I finally hit the job market or work for myself.
As beautiful as life is here, I’m so eager to get back and capitalize on these experiences. I went from living below poverty in the Land of the Free, to being in the 1% even as a foreign student, in Morocco. I’ve seen poverty. I’ve seen adult illiteracy; the benefits of socialism and capitalism, first hand. I’ve seen the ills of Democracy and Patriarchy; I’ve witnessed the Arab Spring, women oppression, Islamic gender roles. I’ve studied with future leaders of the world, I sacrificed love, I fell in love. I’ am a citizen of the world and it won’t stop here.