travel

Beyond My Borders:Matthew & Crystal Espie

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In high school, Matthew and Crystal Espie both dreamed of heading east for college. When the high school sweethearts met in their AP Environmental Science class at Aloha High School in Beaverton, OR, they found that their college and career plans were similar. Both were interested in governance in one form or another. While Crystal was more interested in public administration, Matthew wanted to pursue a career in environmental work. During their senior years of high school, they were each admitted to American University, located in Washington, DC.

American University (AU) was appealing because of the programs it offered and its location in the US capital. AU offers strong programs in political science, international relations, environmental policy, public administration, economics, and women’s, gender, and sexuality studies. These are all topics that are of interest to Crystal and/or Matthew. By the end of 2014, Matthew and Crystal will have each earned a Bachelor’s degrees and a Master’s degree from AU. The decision to attend a university so far from home was not easy. Both knew that they would be leaving the friends and family that had supported them their entire lives, and would be moving to a city where they knew no one.

While Matthew and Crystal each had reservations about moving across the country, they knew that this choice would give them phenomenal opportunities. Crystal was able to pursue a double major in her undergraduate studies, intern for Senators Ron Wyden and Patty Murray, complete a fellowship with the Women’s Campaign Fund, and serve on the District of Columbia Commission for Women. Matthew had the opportunity to intern with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the UN Environment Program, and the District Department of the Environment. Matthew and Crystal also enjoy other aspects of living in the District of Columbia, including being able to participate in protests, attend President Obama’s second inauguration, and visit museums and national landmarks.

Crystal and Matthew still visit Oregon often to spend time with family and friends. One day, they plan to move back. For now, though, they enjoy the educational and professional opportunities they have in the District of Columbia. After finishing his graduate studies at American University, Matthew secured a job at the District Department of the Environment. Crystal is completing a Master’s of Public Administration while simultaneously working at AARP and serving in her third year on the DC Commission for Women.

Matthew and Crystal would encourage others who want to move away from home for college or work to go for it. They both found opportunities in the District of Columbia that they would not have had if they had chosen to attend universities closer to home. For the fields of work they wanted to pursue, DC offered the best educational and career opportunities, and they are glad that they chose to move to Washington, DC, after high school.

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 Borders: Thomas Kyle-Milward

My name is Thomas, and I’m an aspiring copy editor/sports writer. A first-generation American born in New York and raised on both coasts, I’m a dual national who’s lived in Oregon for 16 years now and shares citizenship with the United States and England. I spent four years getting my degree in journalism at the University of Oregon, and now I’m finding my way as a young professional in a struggling job field I love.

University is about finding education, but more importantly it’s about finding a sense of self. Despite my travel-heavy background, I’m a homebody who loves having my family around me. Like many college students, my time studying in Eugene, Ore., was my first real stint away from my parents and sisters. I quickly adapted, thriving in the independence of my own apartment and the responsibilities that come with newfound freedom. I grew comfortable in my new city, surrounded by deepening relationships with friends and faculty. But life is about change, and soon enough the time came for another move into the unknown.

After an internship at the Oregonian, I weighed two different job offers: one at a small paper in my adopted state of Oregon, the other at a larger paper in Washington. After some soul-searching, I decided to leave everything behind for a second time and make a career move to Tacoma, Wash. The smaller paper had an obvious appeal: I’d stay firmly between my family in the Portland area and my college home in Eugene. But sacrificing that security for another rung up the ladder toward my ambitions was, in the end, the clear choice. Family and friends will always be there; career opportunities are far more fleeting.

I’m still settling into my new home here in Tacoma. I feel homesick some days, and this city isn’t a perfect fit for me. Sometimes I catch myself missing the trees and fields of Oregon, or reminiscing over old memories. But ultimately, I know I made the right choice. Moving away from everything you know can be unsettling, but life’s stepping stones to better places are chances to make new friends, experience different things and chase bigger dreams. And once you reach that better place, you’ll look back and treasure the adventure of slipping over those stepping stones. Enjoy that journey.

 

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. 

There Are More Than 7 World Wonders

image I cannot believe it’s been a little over two years since my visit to England (and a few days in Wales that were incredibly too short). In a post some months ago I talked about my immense love for travel. Looking back, I don’t think if it were for my trip to England (which also happened to be my first solo trip) I would not have such a heart for this activity. It started out as a simple trip to study abroad at the University of Cambridge and then to visit my cousins but it turned out to be so much more. I met people from all over the world, experienced a new culture, ate some of the best food I’ve ever had, and was able to witness breath-taking views.

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All that aside, the one common string through all that was God. He was there with me on the plane over when I was nervous as ever; He was there to help me break out of my shell so I could meet new (now old) friends; there to open my mind to see things in a new light so I could better experience them all. Yes, I had the money for all the expenses like school supplies, trips to London, etcetera, etcetera, but what good would they all have been if I didn’t have the heart and courage for it? image

Ever since I got back I told myself that I wouldn’t wait until the next big trip to appreciate my surroundings.

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I really do think God talks to us through more ways than bible verses because not long after I found that quote by Marcel Proust. Going back to Oregon for my senior year at uni was difficult - I never wanted to leave England. Nonetheless, with my new heart and new eyes I came back and learned to love what was once boring. The same thing can be said now that the “honey moon” phase of my move to Australia is slowing down.  I don’t want to take this time in my life for granted just because of my inability to see the diamond(s) in the rough.

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I urge you all to do the same thing.  You might have been born in the same place you live now or even if you find yourself moving more than me, don’t let that stop you from exploring. Never stop making an adventure of everything you do and every place you go.

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With that said, Happy Travelings!

see the world.

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I don’t think I’ll ever tire of traveling. I may take a break from it every once in a while just to get re-rooted again but I’ll never get tired of it. My love for traveling was instilled in me ever since I was a kid. I can remember my mom packing my siblings and me up just to get out of town. So whether it was a trip to the next state for a weekend or a week, I always enjoyed the adventure. Not to mention, I’ve lived in 3 different countries ( Nigeria, Australia, and America) over the span of my 21 years.

However, now that I have grown up a bit I’ve recently come to fall in love with traveling alone. It’s an extremely peaceful experience. While there are many opportunities for me to meet new and interesting people, I also love the chance I get to sit back and observe all the various things that take place around me.

On most my recent flight (from Oregon to Sydney) I was blessed to have a day layover in Honolulu, Hawaii - I wasn’t able to make it to any beaches but I still had a great time. I walked about the town, did a little shopping, ate at a place called Fatboy’s, and then retired to my room.

Although all hotels basically look the same, just knowing I was in a new environment made me awe at the realization that there are things out there we have yet to see, hear, and feel - we have so much to discover.

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These are some pictures inside the The Pagoda hotel.

I have a few friends but don't feel bad for me.

It’s a process. My last two months in this semi-new place have been a process. During my time here I have been asked quite a number of times in many different ways, “How is Australia treating you?” Well, to put it simply, it’s a process. I remember on the plane ride over here I had so many thoughts, expectations, and plans for my “new” life that I forgot to leave room for reality. So 60 some-odd days later I am now being hit with the stark realization that I don’t have as many  friends as I thought I would; I’m not living in the city nor do I even have a place of my own; my photography business is not thriving the way it was before; and school is a bit much to handle even along side my part-time job. As cool as it would be to say that I moved back to Sydney and landed a nice job that allows me to live a rich life in the city, I cannot. However,  I don’t want anyone to feel bad for me. There is nothing to feel bad for. Yes, I don’t have many friends but the few that I do are worth more than their weight in gold . My photography business is not doing so well but maybe this is the time God set aside for me to focus less on money and more on morals. School and work may be overwhelming but when is ever not? I need to suck it up and remember that this is what I wanted. This is what I prayed countless days for. You see, to anyone - myself included - who tries to rush a process you will find yourself nowhere but at the end of your line with nothing to show for it. You will have sped so far ahead that you forgot to pick up the precious gems along the way. Things take time.

I just got "home" from two months at home.

It’s safe to say that I one of the worst feelings in the world for me is missing a noun. I get attached to certain persons, places, or things quite easily. It’s been a day short of a week since I left Nigeria and man do I miss it something fierce. While my stay only last two -what seemed like extremely short- months, the experiences I gained through this trip will last me a lifetime.

Stupidly enough, I only brought one more-than-half-full journal with me even though I just bought a new one right before the trip. To conserve the little writing space I had left I tried to limit my entries but I found myself writing at least once a day. Mostly letters to God on how fortunate I felt to be on this journey of a lifetime but also my recordings on everything I went through.

I won’t bore you with all the daily written sentiments but I still want you all to experience a little of what I did. Here a few more photos I took during the remainder of my stay in Nigeria.