I am reading Opium Nation by Fariba Nawa – I picked it up off the shelf at the library because of the name and the cover. I know you are not supposed to judge a book by its cover but that method has worked out for me quite a few times. As I read this wonderfully informative and interesting book about Afghanistan I can’t help but be amazed how much power words have over my life. I love books. I want everyone to love books like I do. I know this is an unrealistic goal; however, I truly believe that words and books have the power to change the world. if they don’t change the world, books definitely have the power to change individual lives. If it wasn’t for books I doubt that I would be the person I am today. Fictional characters have inspired me throughout my life; they have instilled a value of adventure and curiosity into my soul that cannot be quelched. As I prepare to move to Thailand (the reason I started this blog) to teach English I think it is important to reflect on why I have ended up here. What is my goal in going to Thailand to teach and, theorectically, other amazing places across the globe?
There is most assuredly a self-fulfillment aspect. Living abroad and traveling is one aspiration that has stayed with me throughout my young adult years; at this point it has turned into a fundamental need. I need to do this, to travel and explore, to learn and grow through interaction with others and exposure to different cultures. I can’t imagine not doing this and being able to be satisfied with my life; it has been difficult to get through these past ten years (15ish-25) without taking off. As much as I am ready to do this, and I am, a huge part of me is terrified. I don’t speak the language and I don’t know a soul on that side of the world. However, I know that doing this is only going to give me the confidence to go more places. Or, it will give me the experience that I need and I can move back to the US and get married (hopefully NOT!). I do not anticipate disliking my experience in Thailand and I know that by the time my three months of volunteering is up, I will at least know whether or not I enjoy living abroad (I thank my wonderful mama for this enlightened perspective).
There is another side of my want/need to travel and see the world. I genuinely want to help people. I think that the only way (or possibly the most successful way) to change the world is to create literate people; to give individuals skills that can be used in the modern day, Capitalist hell of a world. Reading and writing are two skills that can truly help people rise through the ranks and make an impact. There are such amazing people all over the world who want to help their local communities but do not have the skills. This is especially true in the case of women. I do not know the exact numbers, but women are significantly more likely to take new skills back to their home community and invest in the people there. Being involved in the education of women across the globe is where my true passion lies; I want every girl to be happy, healthy, confident and knowledgable about their world. And to loop it back around: Books do this. Books make people want to go out and see where they live with new eyes. Everyone has a story and everyone deserves to be listened to. I want to listen to all the stories I can while I am traveling and help to make the world a better place while I’m at it.
And read books!