I officially leave in less than two weeks. That seems equally like an eternity as it does the blink of an eye. I'm experiencing a range of emotions, mostly consisting of excitement and anxiety to get going. But I think I am still in denial that I am actually leaving the country and my parents and family and dog and friends and Starbucks breakfast sandwiches for 7 months. However, I have no doubt that this adventure will be completely worth the challenge of reinventing normalcy and Starbucks will have an even better breakfast sandwich when I return.
I should probably introduce myself and provide some context around this inaugural blogging attempt. My name is Katy Axel and I live in Davenport, IA. I graduated from Central High School last spring. In high school I was over-exerted by some standards (my mom), participating in cross country, soccer, studio dance, show choir, 3 clubs, and as many A.P. classes as I could fit into my schedule. I tried to volunteer my time back to the community as much as possible, but my free time was limited and mostly consumed with activities that I preferred. After all my high school extracurriculars ended, I realized the last 4 years had been all about myself. I carefully sculpted my time and involvement to make my college applications look stunning. However, a heartbreaking March and April proved that no matter how hard I thought I was working to improve myself, I wasn't doing enough of what big name colleges expect. I had looked into gap year programs as a junior, mostly because they had cool websites and cool videos and I enjoyed picturing myself in an exotic location "saving the world." But I wasn't positive that I wanted to spend a year away from school until the college news arrived back. I was overcome with a desire to not focus on myself and my personal ambitions for life. I realized I really do want to save the world, or at least significantly help it, and the only way to attempt that daring feat is to see the world. Thinking Beyond Borders fell into place and I guess the rest of the story is yet to come.
I named this blog The Core for two reasons, and I'm going to have two different types of blog posts. The first one is going to be more personal, my daily trials and tribulations in the field. It represents my core, and how I will find strength when I am weak and the power to stand tall and express my ideas. The second type of post is going to be focused on the core of the issues we will be tackling (Public health, education, and sustainability.) The program name, Thinking Beyond Borders, is a very accurate description of what we will be doing for 7 months, but I want to take the knowledge and experience I gain and examine it to the core. I want to understand the basis of these problems and then develop solutions that tackle the core of the issues. That is a very broad and multi year process, but hopefully this blog will be a starting ground to gather my ideas.
I'm not entirely sure about the internet consistency and reliability in all of the places I will be traveling, so I will update my blog as often as I can. This will be an adventure of a lifetime and I'm so excited to share it with everyone following along!
I will conclude with a quote from my favorite author, Cheryl Strayed:
"The thing about rising is we have to continue upward; the thing about going beyond is we have to keep going."
It seemed very fitting.
Here's the link to TBB's website:
An attempt to document my journey through 5 countries, 3 global issues and billions of people