Sunday, October 21, 2012

A Visit from the Travel Bug

About a month ago, a Peace Corps Volunteer who lives near me sent me a text message asking me if I'd be willing to give a man a place to stay for the night when he passed through Kang. He was also a guest staying at her place, as they had arranged his accommodation in Motokwe through Couch Surfing. If you're unfamiliar with Couch Surfing, check out the website here. It's a great idea & of course, I'm a registered Couch Surfer too.

I agreed to allow him to stay at my house as he went about his journey in Botswana and upon his arrival, I could tell he had seen a lot in life. His name is Scott and he came to Botswana with the idea of biking across the entire country. When I asked him why he decided to bike across Botswana, his response was, "Because all of the guidebooks say you shouldn't do it."

Talk about adventurous! Scott was a very pleasant guest and I was happy to have him stay in Kang. I took him around to see the local clinic where I work, the few shops we have to purchase food and other items, and discussed a few cultural beliefs. It's amazing to see how much I actually know about Botswana and the culture when I'm talking to someone new to the area…

We made a delicious meal, watched "Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory" with my sisters, and stayed up the whole evening looking at pictures from his adventures and swapping stories about life.

I was amazed at all the things he has done and seen throughout his life. Each picture was more beautiful than the next and of course, each was accompanied by a delightful story. My heart was so content listening to this man - hearing how much of the world he had experienced with of his own five senses. What an amazing joy!

He asked plenty of questions about what I'm doing in the Peace Corps as well - and part of me began itching to travel around the world without any restrictions. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't jealous of all the countries he had traveled to…

Scott and I enjoyed breakfast together in the morning, packed his bags with food, and said our final goodbyes. He was off to his next destination and enjoying the journey along the way.  I truly love how a stranger can become a friend in such a short time!

After I watched him bike away from Kang, my head started spinning with different thoughts about traveling the world and making an impact. As he biked away toward the unknown, I found myself walking into the clinic where I will be every day for the next year and a half. My life seemed a little mundane from that perspective. However, after some time, I realized how fortunate I am to have the best of both worlds.

I am still young. I can still travel, explore, and play in other countries. I'm able bodied, fortunate to come from a good background, and full of energy and enthusiasm. The world will continue to be my playground for many years to come and there's no reason to be jealous of Scott's adventures. It's his time to play and explore… my time is yet to come.

Now is my time to really participate in something incredibly unique. The Peace Corps allows me to become integrated into a community, love a host family like they are my own, and learn about all the cultural norms. There are events I am welcome to attend that a tourist would never have the chance to see. People confide in me with their issues on a level I could never establish as an outsider. My time now is to fully appreciate the opportunity I have been given because not many people are given this kind of chance. 

Upon my original application to the Peace Corps, I always knew that was what I was looking for. A chance to really get to know people, to become a part of their lives, and to help them with whatever they need. I knew that then and I know that now.

Scott & I before his departure from Kang

It's just that sometimes, when your mind begins to wander, it's easy to become jealous of all the play and travel that others get to do. I couldn't be happier for Scott - and wow, does he have great stories to tell. I'd really like to encourage you to check out his blog. Some of his entries are very long, but this one is particularly about biking across Botswana. Check it out!

Adventures come in many shapes and sizes. My adventure for today is to fully absorb all the Peace Corps is offering me - and whenever possible, I plan to fill more of my life finding adventure across the globe.

Love & Light,

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