Some years are chaotic, others are are spent putting the pieces back together after all the chaos-induced dust has settled. 2015 was the latter kind of a year. I came into 2015 having recently quit my job, having had to move out of my apartment and move back in with my parents, and having just found out I’d be going back to school. I was terrified and I was excited.
I spent most of 2015 trying to figure out how to lose the terrified and maintain the excited.
Sometimes it worked, and sometimes I wasn’t as successful.
I returned to college having completely forgotten that school is basically a full-time job. I had unrealistic expectations of being able to keep up with my writing schedule while overloading on credits and took a little too long to accept that the best thing I could do was to give myself a break.
Scaling back on my online publishing gave me the time and the space that I needed to work on larger projects. I’ve spent the last eight months working on a manuscript that I’m super pumped about, which I don’t think would have been possible if I was running myself ragged trying to push out blog posts.
That said, and in typical form, I still wasn’t so good at keeping myself from overloading. I started working on a totally dope hardware startup called TradLabs. We make shit that helps people, from firefighters to rock climbers, do what they love better, and you should totally check us out. I also helped with the official launch of Onwards, hosting the NYC Launch Party in October, and I feel blessed to be involved with such an important and impactful organization that also helps me travel more conscientiously.
I’m sure that there are a dozen other things I could include but most importantly, perhaps, I learned that I will be able to graduate from Columbia with my Bachelor’s degree this summer!
As far as post-graduation, I’m planning on taking it pretty slow. Around March I’ll be buying a van and, with the help of some friends much more talented than me, will be building it out into a livable mobile spaceship from which to explore the United States. I’m giving myself a year, a graduation gift of sorts, to travel, write, explore, and breathe into life.
As I will already be on the road, I am putting together an East Coast Speaking Tour with Jacob Taddy, the Co-Founder of Onwards, for September/October 2015. We would LOVE to visit any and all colleges, universities, high schools, middle schools, etc. to speak about volunteer travel, giving back, Onwards, and to facilitate the awkward conversations that come with questioning what we do and why we do it. If you are based on the East Coast and are at all interested in having us at your school in fall 2015, please connect with me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via this simple form.
Thank you for reading, sharing, and, as cheesy as it is, giving a shit. The best part of 2015 for me has been the difficult conversations I’ve been able to take part in all around the world, and that wouldn’t be possible without all of you.
Cheers to 2016!
P.S. I recently found out that the CBC DocZone Documentary that I was in this past summer, Volunteers Unleashed, will be available on iTunes and Amazon on January 18, 2016. It is a must watch film for anyone interested in traveling abroad as a volunteer, sending their kid abroad, or who is curious about the voluntourism industry. It caused a bit of a stir in Canada, so I’m very excited that it will finally be available in the USA. Please look out for it’s release and consider sharing it with your friends and family!