Come October

Physical map of Africa

Image via Wikipedia


Everybody goes home in October‘, wrote John Kerouac  in ‘On the Road‘.

Everybody but me.

This October for the first time in my life, I am headed south of the Equator to volunteer teach. This upcoming trip has been by far the boldest step in my comfortably sheltered life.

When people hear of my trip there is a look about them and ‘yes’ I answer them , ‘yes, there are a million other things one can do in Africa than spend the entire time teaching kids’. But how can I make them understand that this is  something I feel  destined to do; something I have always wanted to do.

With every day that brings the journey closer, a storm is brewing within me. I am petrified. What if I get lost? What if I fall dangerously ill? What if out of the million things that could go wrong a hundred do go wrong?

I even have voices in my head letting me know that it is not too late to pull out of this.

Through all the turmoil E. E Cummings reminds me that it takes courage to grow up and become who I truly am. I may not change the world while I am there. But I may touch a little soul, mend a broken toy, wipe a tear from sad eyes, be the reason for another’s smile.

I may never change the world while I am on it, but that does not mean I am not going to try.



Ticket to your dreams

World Passport Cover

Image via Wikipedia

The United States celebrates ‘National Passport Day’ on September 17th. In lieu of this, Phil Keoghan wrote an article for the Lonely Planet on the importance of owning and using a passport. Here he calls the passport the ticket to your dreams.

I got my passport pretty late in life, only when I was out of college, just in time for Grad school.In my ignorance I mistook my passport as my ticket to Grad school , to advanced engineering studies ,to a good job; I could not have been more wrong.

My passport was a ticket to an education that did not deal with currency as we know it, where the classroom was the world and the teachers just about anybody and everybody I met along the way.

All the learning I have done in my entire life multiplied by a hundred does not match up to the learning I have done outside the classroom. Inside the classroom  I learnt to calculate distance, time and optimal route; but outside in the world, I learnt that the shortest distance between two  people is a “Hello”, that it is not the time taken to reach the destination that matters so much as the journey itself,I have also learnt that the same route offers a different lesson every time you take it.

My passport  has indeed opened up a world of possibilities to me , ones I had never even dreamed of. My life has never been the same again.

So if you do not have a passport or have not used yours in a while, what are you waiting for? Inspiration? Reason? Do not wait any longer go, get out there and let the journey inspire you, the road give you reason.

In Phil Keoghan’s words,”Travel is about immersing yourself in something new, allowing yourself to be a fish out of water and just trusting that things will work out. It may not be like home, but so what? It doesn’t have to be. It’s time to get lost. The world is waiting for you!”

So now what are you waiting for ?