While working on a project last month, I had the great pleasure of meeting Arden Haselmann. A young woman in her last year of college, Arden is majoring in peace and conflict resolution. When I said I didn’t realize it was a major, she told me it wasn’t, that it was something she created through her own dogged pursuit. Participating in a Thinking Beyond Borders gap year program really sealed the deal for her. This organization teaches students to have a meaningful social impact. Later this year, she’ll travel to Rwanda where she’ll have ample opportunity to put her studies into action. I shared an article I’d recently read about Rwanda’s lively art scene and how its artists are expressing themselves about the country’s horrific past or with optimism about its future. It offered another view into how Rwanda is dealing with the aftermath of its genocide. I hope to interview her when she returns.
Aside from her confidence and desire to make a positive impact globally, Arden is another great example that through curiosity and a desire to tap into something that’s knocking at your inner chamber door, you can stretch the boundaries of an organization’s structure. That just because something doesn’t exist, doesn’t mean you can’t create it. Everyday I meet more and more people living life on their terms and outside the margins of cultural expectations when it comes to work and what brings them fulfillment.
While PortsAreCalling is about travel, anyone who’s been following it (and I thank you whoever you are) knows that it’s not always about travel on the traditional plane. It’s an opportunity to take a creative journey to destinations that range from north, south, east, and west, to food, literature, photography, and death. For the times when I can’t physically travel somewhere, it’s an opportunity to stretch my own mental boundaries. To meet and write about people who inspire me…like Arden.
She mentioned she’d gone to Turks & Caicos on a family vacation. When I asked how she liked it, she said it was lovely and that while she’d a great time but it felt odd to do nothing. Having lived in other countries because of her studies, she’s more comfortable diving into life on a local level. I told her she’d discovered the difference between being a tourist and a traveler.
How about you? How do you stretch your mental boundaries and where will you go?
Not everyone can afford to travel, how will you spend your summer?
If you do travel, what’s your preference—tourist or traveler?
Share your story, let’s inspire each other.