"The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page."
When I was 12, if you asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would say a TV Reporter. If you asked me why, I would say, "Because I want to tell people about the world. Maybe they don't know about it."
That was my 12 year-old answer.
If you asked me when I graduated from high school, I would respond with, "A Television Foreign War Correspondent." If you asked why, "Because I want to explain what's going on all over the world."
That was my 18 year-old answer.
If you asked me when I graduated from college, I would respond with, "A Television Producer. But if that doesn't work out, I want to travel to remote villages and do documentaries on other cultures. And if THAT doesn't work out, I could always teach English in another country."
But there was one answer I did not share with you. I have ALWAYS said, "One day, I want to join the Peace Corps. Even if it is for one term."
That's my "always" answer.
People... I think ... in approximately 2-3 years, I'm going to do it. Seriously.
Peace Corps service is a life-defining leadership experience. Since 1961, the Peace Corps has shared with the world America's most precious resource – its people. Volunteers serve in 77 countries in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Central and South America, Europe, and the Middle East. Peace Corps Volunteers live, learn, and work with a community overseas for 27 months, providing technical assistance in six program areas: education, youth and community development, health, business and information and communications technology, agriculture, and environment.
Folks - it only makes sense for me. I have been thinking about it.. and thinking about it.. and it just is EVERYTHING I have prepared for in my life. From taking course in high school in french and foreign relations; to Minoring in International Studies in college; to spending entire summers out in the middle of the woods, roughing it at Girl Scout camp; to hosting over 14 exchange students; to MARRYING a permanent exchange! I volunteer when I can (through letter writing campaigns) with Amnesty International. I am passionate about this type of work. Yes.. it is my passion.
So here is what I think I might do. Go to school at night (or in my spare time, however that works) and possibly go for another degree - this time in Sociology. While that is happening, work on helping the egyptian with his final teaching certification here (as well as his citizenship process. Which will be one year from this coming January.) I have been trying to spike his interest about this. He is a teacher, he does speak numerous languages, and they DO take married couples. The process to get accepted and a placement takes well over 1 year. Why not go for it??
Some of you may be asking - what are the benefits? Well.. here is what they are:
What Are the Benefits?
Peace Corps is a life-defining leadership experience you will draw upon throughout your life. The most significant accomplishment will be the contribution you make to improve the lives of others. There are also tangible benefits for you personally and professionally.
Dollars and Sense
Student Loans: some are eligible for deferment and some for partial cancellation
Transition Funds: receive $7,425 (pre-tax after you complete your 27 months of service)
Free Travel: expenses for travel to and from your country of service are paid for
Living Allowance: a monthly stipend to cover living and housing expenses
Vacation: earn two vacation days per month of service
Medical and Dental: receive complete medical and dental care while serving
Health Insurance: an affordable plan is available for up to 18 months following service
No Fee: unlike other international volunteer programs, there is no fee to participate in the Peace Corps
Whether you are just out of college, mid-career, or retired, the skills you learn as a Volunteer can help you achieve your goals and enhance your marketability with prospective employers. Peace Corps provides training in a foreign language, technical skills, and cross-cultural understanding. This, combined
with the experience of living, learning, and working with a community overseas for 27 months, augments any career path.
Volunteers can earn academic credit for their Peace Corps service and are eligible for scholarships, reduced tuition, internships, and stipends through participating schools. The Peace Corps offers two unique programs through partnerships with over 130 colleges and universities across the United States.
At the end of the day - it is another excellent reason I need to get my health in order. I must be within the medically recommended weight for my blood pressure. It's okay if I am taking meds, I just need to get it completely under control.
That's really all I needed. A goal of sorts. I am ready to do it - regardless. Maybe it's 3 years. Maybe it's 4. But I think it makes complete sense. I want to get into a more of a community activist role. I want more to ignite this passion of mine - and I think it will make for an excellent addition to my writing and blogging.
It's a goal. Not this year.. but coming soon. ;-)