adventure is out there

Beyond My Borders: Madeleine Dreyfuss

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When I was 21 years old, I left home rather innocently, with no intentions of relocating permanently. The 2010 World Cup buzz and a promising summer internship lured me to Cape Town, a slice of paradise in a country pulsing with a compelling history and a contagious energy.  I spent ten weeks in the art department of a small publishing company, designing layouts and desperately trying to keep up with the local banter. While my interning peers came home with stories about delivering babies and counseling AIDS survivors, my head was spinning to validate my passion of media, art, and design. Eight weeks into my stay, I met my reason for staying in South Africa,  packed up, moved back to Eugene, Oregon to graduate from the University of Oregon school of Journalism and Communication, and a week after graduation was on a plane back to Cape Town.

To feel most of what you know slip out from under you for someone you love is an experience that is as beautiful as it is difficult. I feel that now I have two homes, am so closely connected with the people and places in two different parts of the world that no matter where I am, I will always miss the other.  I’ve been fortunate enough to make steady advances in my career in graphic design as Cape Town is a bustling design capital. I’ve also met some of the most genuine and interesting people I’ve come across, some of which I’ve been able to travel across the country with.  I’ve also been able to evolve and explore the greatest friendship I’ve known with my other half.

I refused to be comfortable, to be stagnant, to rest on what I wasn’t content with and because of that leap, I’m here. 10,231 miles away from family and friends but surrounded by support and love and new friendships. It’s taken time to get settled and every day presents itself with something new, something uncomfortable, or something I’m not familiar with but I can’t get enough of the adventure. I don’t know how long I’ll stay, or what the distant future holds for me, but coming here has been one of the best decisions I’ve made and I’m eager to see where it takes me.

The only advice I have for those thinking about taking a leap is to trust yourself, have faith in your own strength, and remember that it’s okay to feel uncertain or uncomfortable because of what you will undoubtedly learn along the way.

___________

You can catch more of her travels here on her blog!

Beyond My Borders: Hoang Pham

My name is Hoang Pham, I was born and raised in Portland, Oregon. I attended Benson Polytechnic High School and graduated in June of 2007. I then attended the University of Oregon, studied Political Science, Ethnic Studies, and Business Administration. I moved to Los Angeles from Portland after college and started Teach For America. I taught, and continue to teach 1st grade at KIPP: Empower Academy. During my first two years of teaching, I got my masters in Urban Education at Loyola Marymount University. Besides school, I love dancing, and have been breakdancing since I was in 8th grade. In L.A., I breakdance during quarter breaks and halftime with the Los Angeles Clippers Fast Break Crew. I also thoroughly enjoy cars, and run time attack road race events in Southern California.

            As I had mentioned, I moved because I was accepted into a program called Teach For America, where recently graduated college students are placed into a low-income community to teach for two or more years. I plan on teaching for another three to four, possibly five or more years, I honestly do not have a cap on teaching because I believe that there is so much to be learned about the teaching profession every single year that you have a new set of students. I also believe that I am nowhere near my vision for what a classroom should be like for black and brown kids in South Los Angeles, and am striving towards that every single day. However, post teaching, I’ve had many different thoughts of what to do. I might possibly take on a different role in education, whether a school administrator or curriculum specialist, maybe take the law school route and study education law, or possibly even run for an elected office one day. Who knows, but I do believe that whatever I’ll be doing, I will be striving towards creating spaces where people can be amazing, so amazing that they create other spaces that ultimately builds a better world for all people.

            If I could give anyone advice about moving, I would tell them two primary things. 1) When you do move, make sure that wherever you are moving to have a job waiting for you there. The biggest difficulty with moving is uncertainty with how you will be paying for everything, so when you move, move for the purpose of a job, or schooling, or a career promotion. This way, there is a reason that you are moving where you are going to, not just because you got bored one day and decided that you wanted to move there, that would be the thing you should not do. 2) To be honest, regardless of where you move, you’ll get a chance to experience whatever that place is known for plus a whole lot more. But after awhile, it is really the people that keep you happy and wanting to stay somewhere, not the job opportunities, not the night life, not the food, not the weather, the people. More than anything else people keep you where you are at. You can get everything else for the most part, but the one thing you cannot replace are people who deeply care about you, and are there when you need them the most. Thus, if you do plan on moving, keep in mind that either you might want to keep your friends and family nearby, but maybe that you also should establish strong networks of amazing people like yourself sooner than later wherever you choose to move.

            I could probably tell you a million other things about life, but I myself am still trying to figure out so much, and this will be always true, because we are never done learning about ourselves, or the world around us. One of my mentors last Summer asked me a pivotal question that gave me a great understanding of how to view the things in and around my life. He did not ask me what I wanted to be, as that would assume that we seek a position. Positions, in its entirety are temporary. You hold positions for duration of time, but once that duration is over something else shall come along. You must ask yourself, what do you want to change, because the answer to that question will keep you inspired and motivated for the rest of your life.

Beyond My Borders: Tyler & Jordan Dardis

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Jordan and I both grew up in the Portland area. We met in high school and went on to study at Oregon State University together. We both knew we wanted to be together and in 2011 we finally married. In our last year of college we began planning what we would do after graduating. As much as we loved Oregon, we knew we wanted to move somewhere new. We talked about various places we could go, and as soon as we brought up Alaska, we knew that was it. We both love the outdoors, the mountains, the snow… Alaska had everything.

It was important to us to set a date to move by because we knew we could be sitting around the rest of our lives for the perfect time, which may never have come. So on July 22nd, we packed up the car, grabbed our puppy and headed to Anchorage. When we arrived we pitched our tent and started looking for jobs. After about a month, I was offered a job by my top choice organization in Anchorage. We found a great place to live with a big yard for our dog, and soon after, Jordan was able to move into a position where she could apply her degree in design.

This year we’ve spent in Alaska has been incredible. It definitely pushed me far outside of my comfort zone, which was scary but awesome at the same time. We both were given opportunities we wouldn’t have had in Oregon. We have been able to see and do things that we wouldn’t have been able to see or do in Oregon. It was one of the best decisions we’ve ever made. We both truly believe that everybody should travel and experience a new place in their lives. It doesn’t take a lot of money or tons of planning. It just takes willingness to get up and go. In hindsight, the month we spent living in a tent was just a small sacrifice for the amazing experience we have had here. We are not sure how long we will be here or where we will go next, but we will always have this experience for the rest of our lives.

Beyond My Borders: Heather Bush

My name is Heather and I was born and raised in Hillsboro, Oregon. When I was 22 I left my hometown and I moved to Belize to do a discipleship training school through Youth With a Mission (YWAM).

After I graduated high school I went to one year of University. Upon realizing that I didn’t really know what I wanted to do and that college was overly expensive I dropped out and moved back to Hillsboro. For the next few years, I worked at Old Navy and went to community college off and on.

Over those few years I just found it so mundane and I knew that God had put an adventurous spirit inside of me for a reason!! I knew a bunch of people who had done a YWAM DTS before and they had loved it!! I wanted to see the world and experience new things while I was young. I also wanted whatever I was doing to be meaningful and be able to impact the lives of others. I figured that college would always be there.

In the last two years, my main home has been Belize, but I have spent time in Venezuela, Costa Rica and El Salvador as well as I have travelled through Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. I have had SO many experiences that I NEVER would have gotten when I was in Hillsboro. I have also met some of the most amazing and loving people and had some amazing deep friendships. One of those being my future husband.

God has opened my eyes and my heart to the world and to His children in a way that I had never imagined. YWAM has a saying “Ruined For the Ordinary” that is so true. I can no longer have just a normal/ordinary life. I now know that there is so much more out there. I am stoked to see how else God is going to use me and where in the world He is going to lead me.

I would definitely recommend to anyone to leave their hometown for a bit. Step out of their comfort zone. To see the world while you can. Turns out you can learn so much from that, maybe even more than you would sitting in a classroom all day. My advice would be to just do it! Dive in and see where it takes you!

 

Beyond My Border: Sylvia Onyeagusi

Hey bloggers!!! (LOL)

My name is Sylvia Onyeagusi. I was born and raised in Lagos, Nigeria. I moved to the U.S. in 2010 for college, started off in Louisiana, moved to Oregon where I had family for an average of 2yrs and now I’m back in Louisiana pursuing a career in nursing. When people as ask me why I decided to move to Louisiana I just say because I think this is where God wants me to be, which has to be true. To add to that, I’m in a really good nursing program and it’s been good.

Change is constant and we can’t avoid it. I would say that moving isn’t as bad as it may seem. Although it is stressful to settle in a new environment and get acquainted with new people it’s worth it once you get your feet wet. For anybody looking to move for whatever reason, I would advise you never to move out of impulse, don’t make a permanent decision (not so permanent, depends on how you look at it) based on a temporary situation. Did I already say plan ahead of time? Absolutely, you have to. Also, keep in touch with your old friends and family. Lastly, maintain your relationship with God, it gets tough when you are out there without family or people you can confide in. One of the ways I find I coped and still use to cope is getting into a really good bible-believing church, not like I didn’t have that before, but keeping up with it, just having a good relationship with God, we all need him. It’s your experience, it’s your journey, don’t forget to have fun.

P.s. to my Nigerians: go find where all the other Nigerians hang out, do it before summer rolls along. Hint: Jollof rice.

Beyond My Borders: Alyson Raabe

Growing up, I feel I was fortunate to be born and raised in one place: Glastonbury, Connecticut. The majority of my extended family lived within 20 minutes. I had a great group of friends, some of whom I met in kindergarten and still call my best friends to this day. I loved my friends and loved my family, but realized I also loved “traveling” when I was 16.

Homesickness has never been an issue for me. When I was 10, I went to sleepover camp in New Hampshire for the first time. As soon as I was old enough, I started working there. I lived and worked at camp anywhere between 9 and 14 weeks for 5 summers in a row. My camp friends were my second family. Homesickness simply wasn’t a factor.

Just before I turned 16, I participated in a study abroad program through my high school. We had a student from Spain live with us for two weeks that September, and the following February I lived with him and his family in Madrid. Seeing the world “on my own” was eye opening and thus inspired my passion for traveling.

When deciding where I would go to college, I knew I wanted “something different” for 4 years. My friend from camp recommended going to the Midwest, where he had decided to go after growing up in Connecticut (and Summers at camp in New Hampshire.) He said he would do it all over again, and he was about to graduate. My main concern when it came to picking schools was finding a school with a great study abroad program. Spain had my heart at 16 and I was determined to go back. A year after talking to my friend from camp about the Midwest, I moved into my dorm at Valparaiso University in Indiana. I was one of the farthest from home of my group of friends, but sure enough… I would do it all over again, too.

Because Spain was a business-only study abroad and was not compatible with my future elementary education career, I chose to study abroad in Cambridge, England. I loved being able to call another city my “home.” I loved making (and dating) English friends, traveling through Europe, and making lifelong memories. It was then that I knew I was going to be an international elementary teacher. It was the perfect plan for me. I knew since I was a little girl that I would be a teacher, and to incorporate that with travel and making friends from around the world? There was nothing that sounded more perfect. I knew I had to do it upon graduation before I “settled” down (in any sense of the word).

Senior year of college, I traveled to Iowa for the largest annual international education job fair in the USA. There, I signed a contract for an elementary position in Kuwait City, Kuwait. Call me crazy. Moving to Kuwait was the scariest thing I’ve ever done in my life. But, it was also the biggest “personal growth” year of my life. I saw parts of the world that not many people would be willing nor are able to see. I befriended some of the most wonderful people from Egypt, Lebanon, Kuwait, Sri Lanka, and more. Towards the end of the school year, I knew it was time to move on.

It wasn’t an easy decision to leave Kuwait, as I made some of the best friends I’ve ever had while I was there. However, I had faith that something better was out there. A month after deciding to leave at the end of the school year, I accepted a 4th grade teaching position in San Jose, Costa Rica. The move here was a thousand times easier – perhaps because it was the second major international move, or perhaps because Costa Rica is so similar to the States in so many ways. The sight of this country in the rainy season brought tears to my eyes daily, after spending a year in the desert. I have never been happier or more certain that I am exactly where I’m supposed to be right now. I found my pura vida.

Teaching internationally is one of the most rewarding feelings I’ve ever had. I have learned so much from my students, both in Kuwait and now in Costa Rica. The relationships I’ve made with their parents, with school staff, and with my coworkers are amazing and eye opening. I feel like I’m completely fulfilling my life dream: traveling, teaching, and learning about the world.

I am a huge advocate for getting out there in the world while you can. For anyone who is willing to ask the question, “Should I do it?” when it comes to traveling or making the big move, there is only one answer: yes. I haven’t met a single person who has regretted living abroad, no matter what career, what age, or what the reason being the move is. I truly believe there is nothing a person could benefit from more. And I truly believe it is something people could so regret, if they only knew the adventures they would be missing. I live and breathe these quotes, daily:

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." - Mark Twain

"Find something you are passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it." - Julia Child

Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.

This is the time. Adventures are out there.

Our generation needs to get out more - and no I don’t mean Friday night parties  or weekends spent up at the mountains (no hating, I love a good campfire). I mean get out, get out. Break down the invisible walls that were forged after years spent living in the same city, state, coast, and even country. It doesn’t matter whether it’s 100 miles, 500 or a few thousand away, a lot can be learned and gained by being in a new place.  

However, don’t take my word for it. I encourage you to read the stories of people who experienced it for themselves. Starting tomorrow, every day for the next six days I’ll post two stories from an amazing set of individuals who ventured out beyond their borders. They decided to see what more the world had in store. They’ll be a part of a 7-day series called Beyond My Borders. I consider myself grateful for knowing each of them because all have inspired me to live life adventurously and to enjoy every minute - good or bad. I only hope that reading their stories will have the same, if not greater impact on you. 

Tune in tomorrow to meet Alyson Raabe from Costa Rica and Joe Vassel from New York. 

Want to share your personal experience?!  Upload your picture, tell your story and don’t forget to hashtag ”BeyondMyBorders” on Instagram or Facebook. I’d love to hear about it as well as post it on the blog and instagram too. 

Our generation needs to get out more - and no I don’t mean Friday night parties  or weekends spent up at the mountains (no hating, I love a good campfire). I mean get out, get out. Break down the invisible walls that were forged after years spent living in the same city, state, coast, and even country. It doesn’t matter whether it’s 100 miles, 500 or a few thousand away, a lot can be learned and gained by being in a new place.  

However, don’t take my word for it. I encourage you to read the stories of people who experienced it for themselves. Starting tomorrow, every day for the next six days I’ll post two stories from an amazing set of individuals who ventured out beyond their borders. They decided to see what more the world had in store. They’ll be a part of a 7-day series called Beyond My Borders. I consider myself grateful for knowing each of them because all have inspired me to live life adventurously and to enjoy every minute - good or bad. I only hope that reading their stories will have the same, if not greater impact on you. 

Tune in tomorrow to meet Alyson Raabe from Costa Rica and Joe Vassel from New York. 

Want to share your personal experience?!  Upload your picture, tell your story and don’t forget to hashtag ”BeyondMyBorders” on Instagram or Facebook. I’d love to hear about it as well as post it on the blog and instagram too. 

Our generation needs to get out more - and no I don’t mean Friday night parties  or weekends spent up at the mountains (no hating, I love a good campfire). I mean get out, get out. Break down the invisible walls that were forged after years spent living in the same city, state, coast, and even country. It doesn’t matter whether it’s 100 miles, 500 or a few thousand away, a lot can be learned and gained by being in a new place.  

However, don’t take my word for it. I encourage you to read the stories of people who experienced it for themselves. Starting tomorrow, every day for the next six days I’ll post two stories from an amazing set of individuals who ventured out beyond their borders. They decided to see what more the world had in store. They’ll be a part of a 7-day series called Beyond My Borders. I consider myself grateful for knowing each of them because all have inspired me to live life adventurously and to enjoy every minute - good or bad. I only hope that reading their stories will have the same, if not greater impact on you. 

Tune in tomorrow to meet Alyson Raabe from Costa Rica and Joe Vassel from New York. 

Want to share your personal experience?!  Upload your picture, tell your story and don’t forget to hashtag ”BeyondMyBorders” on Instagram or Facebook. I’d love to hear about it as well as post it on the blog and instagram too.