I'm on a Humanitarian Quest
My passport is expired, I don't speak any foreign languages, and I've never traveled to Eastern Europe ... I've totally got this!
Often Fat Papa and the rest of my family interpret my excitement and eagerness to jump into a new project as foolhardy. I have lost track of the number of times someone has asked me, “But have you thought about…” only for me to discuss in length every question, objection, or roadblock they can come up with. Just because I do not show my anxiety or worry outwardly doesn’t mean that I haven’t put a huge amount of thought and planning into my big projects.
So when I announced that I wanted to go to Poland and join or start an aid project, everyone from Gigi and Pappy to my fairy-mother-in-law to Fat Papa thought I was getting in way over my head. But in reality, I was born for this!
My family will joke that I am a shit maker. That is, I make shit happen. Whenever something big needs planning or an event needs organizing, I’m the one they call. Why? Because I have been continuously involved in logistics, project management, event planning, and aid work since the age of eleven.
Now, I know what you are thinking, but I swear … I really have been involved in this kind of work since I was in middle school. Growing up I was highly involved in Youth Leadership programs at our United Methodist Church. From sixth grade to twelfth grade, I represented youth in our program locally, at the district level, regionally, and even at a few national conferences.
My Youth leadership skills had become honed to the point that in ninth grade I was even invited to be part of an organization that planned, organized, and executed aid trips into Mexico. That was a fun experience that I loved being involved with for three years. Experiences like that and the 2,000+ attendee conferences I helped plan and manage along with countless committee positions prepared me for Student Housing Government in college.
By the time I graduated with my BA, I already had 10 years of event planning, project management, and aid work under my belt. Combine that with my entrepreneurial business, digital media, resource management, logistics, and communications skills from my work experience as an adult and you will start to understand why I am so good at (and love) being in charge of stuff.
Yet, despite all this knowledge and my rather unique skill set, everyone still takes my confidence as naiveté rather than good old fashioned, tried and true, sweat, blood, and tears experience. Regardless, I’ve been working to overcome every objection, worry, and stressor my family has thrown at me about going abroad to help with the Ukrainian humanitarian crisis. As well as every joke Fabby makes about me being a travel writer with an expired passport.
But what does this mean?
It means that in two weeks I have gone from “I want to help people fleeing Ukraine” to having a solid plan in place with sponsorship and support. My documents might be expired, but I already have an appointment to expedite my passport, round-trip airfare from San Francisco to Krakow has been booked, and contacts in Poland to meet with and start helping have been made.
As the saying goes “may you live in interesting times.” Which, I know is supposed to be a curse, but as long as I am alive and able, I’m going to tackle these interesting times with all the skills and experience in my vast toolbelt. And oh, ducky friends, is it vast. I’m going to travel for a cause and put as much good as I can into the world … be it from Poland or right here at home typing away on my computer.
Follow me as I embark on this humanitarian quest to travel for a cause. Don't worry, I've totally got this!