Meet today’s Guest Blogger: Kim Ogonosky. She’s a reader, a writer, has the most *amazing* singing voice, and loves to travel…
I firmly believe that people who love to read are natural born travelers.
There is no scientific data to back this up; it is my [completely biased] personal opinion based on firsthand experience. Simply put, I love to read, and I love to travel.
Of course the word “travel” does not necessarily need to be understood strictly as the physical act of traveling. For avid readers who get metaphorically lost in literature, are they not, in a sense, traveling as well?
You bet they are, and I can attest to this. I traveled to Pemberley with Elizabeth Bennet where I fell hopelessly in love with Mr. Darcy. I partied with the wild, over-indulgent upper crust of society at Jay Gatsby’s mansion on Long Island’s West Egg. I’ve been to post-apocalyptic worlds and dystopian societies. I’ve traveled halfway around the world and broken the barrier of time. I’ve laughed, I’ve cried, and I’ve thrown things across the room in outrage.
And if anyone dares tell me this is not a form of travel, I assure you they have never gotten lost in a book!
Aside from traveling through books, I also love to physically travel. Never one to sit still, I am always looking for the next adventure. I once said my life’s goal is to visit every single country before I die. I have 13 under my belt, which means I have approximately 183 to go. Hey, a girl can dream!
My favorite place in the world is Florence. My favorite family vacation has been to Disney World. And I definitely recommend taking your significant other to the Caribbean for a vacation that looks like it came straight from your computer’s screensaver. But the most influential trip I have ever taken was to Tanzania.
In graduate school I was given the opportunity to travel to Dodoma, Tanzania to help film a documentary about a nongovernmental organization called BRAC. Another student and I were sent there to highlight their Empowerment and Livelihood for Adolescent girls program. I had never picked up a video camera before in my life, and I only knew a few choice phrases in Swahili, but off I went with just one other person, malaria pills in tow!
When I got back from Africa, I remember people asking me if I had “fun.” Yes, it was the most influential experience of my life thus far, but I would choose other adjectives to describe it: Eye-opening, humbling, transformative, educational, challenging, and emotional all come to mind.
The pinnacle moment of the trip came when the Internet at our hotel went out, and I almost had a nervous breakdown.
Now, in my defense, the reason I had the nervous breakdown was because I wanted to contact my loved ones, not because I wanted to update my Facebook profile, so it was coming from a well-intentioned place.
However, we had just spent the day in the nearby villages interviewing these incredible young girls who had faced more hardships in their lives than the majority of us could ever imagine. Many didn’t have shoes. Most didn’t have clean water. And a startling number were in danger of not finishing their educations. Yet they came together to sing, dance, play, learn about how to start their own businesses, and support one another through strong female friendships.
And here I was at my hotel, with a pool, a nice restaurant, and plenty of clean water, crying about the Internet going out.
Needless to say, I was dealt with a healthy dose of perspective in that moment.
So yes, my trip to Africa was the most eye-opening, humbling, transformative, educational, challenging, and emotional experience of my life. And I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I learned so much from these brave young women, and I was inspired to immerse myself in similar travel situations again. Not because it was “fun,” but because I learned so much about the world, about humanity, and about myself.
Sounds a little like reading a really good book, doesn’t it? And here we are, coming full circle!
I recently stumbled upon what I consider to be the opportunity of a lifetime. An up-and-coming travel website called Jauntaroo is hiring a “Chief World Explorer” who will travel the world for a year, while blogging and filming webisodes about their experiences. Moreover, this person is encouraged to participate in “Voluntourism” activities while traveling. Sign me up!
Yes, the competition is stiff, but if I’ve learned anything from my books it’s that you must go after your dreams. Or simply put, if you don’t shoot, you don’t score!
I went for it and submitted a video application for this position, which can be found at www.bestjobaroundtheworld.com/submissions/view/12992. It is only a minute long, so should you decide to watch, it will not take up a lot of time. After having read this and watched the video you feel I would be well suited for the job, I would be incredibly grateful if you “liked” my video. You don’t have to fill out any forms, and you can do it once every 24 hours if it tickles your fancy! This would be an incredible experience, and I would love to be given the chance to travel the world and take others with me on the journey- through the fun, the relaxing, the challenging, the emotional, and the meaningful times.
Thank you for taking the time to hear my story. I wish all of you safe, exciting, and meaningful travels, be it in the metaphorical or the physical sense. Life would be so less interesting without them.