Travel Manifesto

Against my mum’s better judgement, I’ve purchased a one way ticket to Cartegenia, Columbia on April 15th. This trip could be a ramble jamble through South America; the kind of traveling I’ve gotten a taste for hiking through the redwoods, surfing Puerto Escondido, or couch surfing New Zealand. Those trips were lots of fun, but, something in me wants more for this journey. Maybe it’s the time frame, I’m planning to go for about a year, which makes it my longest trip so far. Or maybe the hyper-focused culture of Americorps rubbed off on me while I was in NCCC. But probably I’m just now being able to coalesce the lessons I’ve learned in my few, short years of adult hood. Whatever it is, a few thoughts have come into focus for me. I’ve loosely arranged them into my travel manifesto.

cascade range from timberline lodge

The ramble, getting lost, destination unknown: I believe the aimless wander is a good tool for reflection, building confidence and spontaneity. At times I’ll be going the vagabond backpacker route, but it won’t be my focus.

The fishing trips, mountain adventures, zip lines and volcano tours: There’s a lot of fun things to do in between Cartegenia and Tierra Del Fuego, and I would be missing out if I didn’t experience a few of them. But this will also not be my focus.

At it’s heart, this trip is a continuation of my education. Specifically there’s three things I want to learn.

1. Language: A simple goal, I want to turn my 6 years of classroom education into a usable skill. Through home stays and volunteering, I hope to be able to say most anything I can think of.

2. Community Development: From the urban planning in Curtiba to community activism in Cochabamba, South America has a rich history of social participation and activism. I want to collect people’s stories, personal histories, ideas, and techniques for this kind of work.

3. Service: I’m looking for a 6-8 month position with a service organization starting around June. I have ideas buzzing around my head in volunteer management, youth, art and social practice, or outdoor education but have intentionally not solicited anyone yet. From what I know, these positions are usually easier to figure out in county, through personal networks.

My ultimate goal is to invest my youth, money, and energy into worthwhile stories, people, adventure and education. Despite a little apprehension, I know mom and dad support this goal. I invite you to send me your advice, tips, contacts, criticisms, well wishes, addresses (I send postcards!), prayers, good vibes, or anything else to move this journey forward.

-The Bear

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