I want to defined by not what I like, or where I went, but by what I did. My actions, actions, which, I hope, do their part in building a better world, based on the experiences of my past and the lessons I’ve learned in life.
I grew up happy, with loving parents, plenty to eat, and access to excellent education. I didn’t have to worry about paying for college, and never imagined not having enough. But I also knew where it came from, because of the hard work of my parents to give my brother and I more opportunities than they had.
Unlike most children, I was acutely aware that my life was in stark contrast to those in most of the world. I was the first person in my mother’s family born in America, and our regular trips to India left me with vivid images of how my life could have been different. I saw firsthand mass poverty, dirty roads, crowded cities and unequal education.
Those days, I was especially close to my Grandma. Her life was tough. She only finished six years of school, and struggled to raise my mom alone, as my grandpa worked for the railroads often far from home. She sacrificed her life in India to come to America, where she didn’t speak the language. Because of her, I can speak Telugu, and have a strong personal connection to Indian culture.
Somewhere back then, a spark was lit that burns to this day. I decided early on that I want to do something with my life to help the world. But first, I had to understand the world. I went to College at USC in Los Angeles, getting my first taste of urban inequalities and making friends from vastly different background than I. I studied abroad in Paris, France, arriving in Europe not knowing a single person on the entire continent. After graduating with a degree in Communication, I did a yearlong trip around the world, exploring Europe, volunteering in Nepal and Thailand, and putting a face to the problems I’d read about for years. Understanding poverty, climate change, and human rights, and, most importantly, connecting myself, and my life, to those
In 2008, I began my foray into politics. I jumped on the Barack Obama bandwagon, moving to Iowa and working for his campaign, before taking a job with the Sierra Club in San Francisco. For two years, I worked as a Grassroots Media Coordinator on campaigns all across the country to build a movement to protect and safeguard our environmental heritage.
I returned to graduate school in 2010, enrolling in Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, building my economics and policy skills. For my required summer internship I went to Indonesia, where I worked for a local biodiversity foundation’s communications department. Other international projects included attending the US Future Leaders Program in Japan, conducting field research on natural resource development in Uganda, and presenting research on public interest and compensation at a conference near Cape Town, South Africa. I graduated in 2012.
Today, I’m a Freelance Writer, fulfilling a dream from my youth, using the power of the written word to educate, inspire, and enact change. As a globalist, I focus on all types of issues, but in my heart are the challenges I feel will define my time on Earth – the environment, human rights, culture, and equity. I’m fiercely anti-consumerist, love nature, and deeply respect cultural knowledge. I believe that the key to change lies in the masses, not in the hands of a few in power. No system, no matter how entrenched, can survive millions calling for change. I hope to play a small role in inspiring that change.
I’m a globalist, and, as mentioned above, have taken several extended trips to diverse parts of the world. For posts on each trip, see below!
2006-07 – Trip Around the World – 13 months traveling around the world. Currently working on a book about this!
2010 – European Trip - Six weeks in France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Italy to meet friends.
2010 – American Roadtrip – Two months exploring and learning about my country, the USA.
2011 – Asian Summer – As part of my graduate program, went to Indonesia for an Internship and then Japan for the US Future Leaders Travel Program.
2012 – South Africa and Botswana – Received a scholarship to travel for the IACM conference in Cape Town, turned it into a six week trip across two countries.
2012-2013 – SE Asia Soul-Searching – Using a friend’s wedding as an excuse, went to Taiwan, Thailand, Singapore, and Indonesia to build my writing career. Published several articles during this trip.
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