Part 3: What I want in the future

When I asked myself this question two years ago, my answer was: to travel, to see the world, to learn about different cultures, different technologies and development work.

But over the course of this journey, I found my limit. I lost all my motivation to be on the road, to continue to introduce myself to new people, and to pack up my backpack again. And again. And again. It’s good to know I have a limit. And it’s good to know I can bounce back after reaching it.

Now, when I ask myself this question, I’ve done a 180 degree turn. I spent the past couple years seeing more places and projects than most people will see in their lifetime (which is invaluable knowledge). But my trip lacked one key element: being part of a community.

That’s what I want in the future. I want to move somewhere and not leave for a little while (2 to 3 years seems like a good period of time). I want to have a home and a stable group of friends and a somewhat regular schedule. I want to build a life somewhere without the hesitations that come with knowing I’m leaving in 2 months, or 6 months, or even 1 year. And I want to invest myself in a group of people and a project, and stick with it for a little while.

Ideally, this community will be more rural, preferably a village. I’ve spent time in many villages before, but never have I been in one long enough to say I’ve lived there.  Living in a village provides invaluable insight into daily life in the communities in which I work, and I feel that my knowledge from my short-term visits is insufficient and lacking.

In terms of other details, I’d like to work for a company (not an NGO) and I’d like to focus on dissemination models. Kenya and Zambia are currently my top spots.

I’m ready to start now, but unfortunately my plan will have to wait a year. I will be enrolling in a one-year masters program starting in October, and I’d rather do that now than postpone for 3 years. Plus, the masters degree will give me the chance to further analyze everything I’ve seen, figure out who I want to work for, and return with a detailed plan-of-action.

I wouldn’t trade the past two years of my life for anything in the world. But I also don’t plan on doing it again any time soon.

(Also check out part 1 and part 2.)

(Photo: The last community I was really a part of for the longer-term.)