Kenya, Africa: A scenic, culturally rich landscape, filled with vibrant people, blue skies, vast jungles, and ferocious animals.
Traveling around the world is amazing! But the best part about it is the people you meet along the way. When I backpacked through Europe 2 years ago, I met so many amazing people, heard tons of unique stories, and became greatly inspired. Traveling through Europe inspired me to begin documenting my journey around the world. It also gave me access to information and resources I may have never discovered on my own.
I’ve encountered many young people during my travels, who before or after university, will often take their graduation monies, savings, and financial donations from family and set out to travel the world for a few months to a few years. I truly admire these young people and wish I could have started my journey around the world earlier in my life. Although I missed the opportunity to travel the world candidly; I still get to see the world in a different way and with a different purpose at hand.
I’ve been to many tropical islands and jumped off loads of boats in the middle of the bluest seas and although I absolutely love this activity, I realized that traveling around the world is so much more than laying out on the beach, swimming with dolphins, and snapping pictures of monuments. In my mind, my Africa trip would be very different, as I planned to bring another vision of mine into fruition. I planned this trip not knowing the access I would have to help fulfill my vision but I still proceeded with the plan anyway.
With that being said, I would like to share my latest inspiration:
A few weeks ago, my boyfriend asked me a question that really provoked a deep thought. Although we frequently challenge each other to think deeply about who we are, our purpose in life, and our future endeavors; this one time in particular really got the wheels in my head turning. As I grappled with ideas of what I wanted to do once I finished my teaching contract and returned home from the UAE, he abruptly interrupted, asking “If you wasn’t a teacher right now, what would you be doing?” I struggled to answer this question because teaching has always been my passion. I also shared my childhood dream of becoming a choreographer or background dancer for a huge pop star and reminded him of my goal in becoming and owning an interior decorating business. After a few jokes and a brief moment of silence, I began to answer the question again. I humbly said, “All I really want to do is help people. I want to inspire people, I want to give to the less fortunate. I need a selfless career. I’ve been blessed beyond blessed so now I need to share my blessings. I love being a classroom teacher but I think my mission is so much bigger than the classroom.” When I chose to visit Kenya, I chose it with a purpose in mind. Kenya was “the beginning of the beginning” to the next chapter in my life.
For years I had been thinking about becoming a philanthropist but could not find an entry point or even something that I was truly passionate about supporting. I never really shared this idea with anyone because I wasn’t ready to fully commit to it and knew that it wouldn’t be a success unless I was 100% ready.
During my stay in Nairobi, I shared a tent with Anna at the Wildebeest campgrounds. Anna, a 28 year old, Vietnamese woman, from the United States, had been traveling the world for a few months. Anna was on a mission to raise money for underprivileged children in remote areas by using their artwork as a graphic on t-shirts, so that they could attend school. Anna’s determination and charismatic personality greatly inspired me, as she discussed the successes and failures of her mission. As a farewell, I thanked Anna for the fun time I got to share with her but most importantly for the lasting impact that she left on me and my own future philanthropic endeavors. So in the words of Anna, I will “keep trucking” until my mission is a success.
Then there’s Pauline. Ms. Pauline is a middle-aged Kenyan woman with a heart of gold. Pauline and I first started communicating via email, when someone referred me to her about taking a tour to Masai Mara. Pauline ran her own safari tour company called “Jungle Green Wild Safaris”. I had a brief opportunity to talk to Pauline at dinner during my first night at the Rhino Tourist camp in Masai Mara. However, it wasn’t until our second night, when Pauline came to check on me, that I would finally reveal my vision. I asked Pauline tons of questions (as I always do when I’m intrigued by someone or something) and she did not hesitate to answer every question in great detail. She even shared personal stories about her life, in which we both shed a few tears. Pauline is a mother, an entrepreneur, a philanthropist, an advocate and so much more. I aspire to be the same. Shortly after we wiped our tears away, I shared with Pauline, my desire to become a philanthropist, which was the first time that this silent idea had been said aloud. I told her that when I got back to Nairobi I wanted to visit a few orphanages and see how I could provide short term and long term support. And that’s when Pauline dropped four powerful words.
“I have an orphanage!” and so now my mission begins…….
Watch my video from my adventures in Kenya:
Love Live Life….Abroad