Sometimes, you have to take chances. To follow your heart and let it lead you to your destination. That is why I am here, in Asia, at this moment, letting life lead.

It wasn’t a decision that I made lightly, not was it one made in a vaccuum. It was one that was built on the foundation of years of experiences, challenges, and growth that has been my life since I left Kansas City 10 years ago and moved to California. At the time, I knew absolutely nobody in California, had never lived alone before. I was incredibly shy, awkward, and often prone to trying too hard. I embraced alcohol as a path towards being social, and was willing to make friends with anyone.

I challenged myself, studying abroad, traveling alone around the world, and going to grad school in New York. Along the way, I learned an incredible amount about life and the world. I learned life’s greatest lesson – the value of true friendship, and love. I also learned to believe in myself, and my own ability to good, and that you can never gain more from life than you are willing to give in return.

I arrived in Asia with this persistant confidence that things would figure themselves out as long as I was true to my heart, with the goal of trying to make the most of each day and to not overplan, or over-expect. Accept things for what they are, meet people and be yourself, and, as my best friend William often tells me to do, see the good that exists in every person.

It has been, without a doubt, an incredible month. I’ve met so many amazing people, experienced so much warmth, learned so much about the places I am, that I often go to bed in pure shock, wondering, why am I so lucky? But the answer is simple, staring me right in my face. I’m being myself, honest and open, for the first time ever as a traveler. I have real desires and dreams and am working to make they come true – again, for the first time ever. Instead of arriving with huge expectations, I’m arriving with an open mind and, an open heart.

My only desire now, to give back to the world that has given me so much. That is the goal of this trip, one where the destination, even after a month, remains uncertain.

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