Many people have told me I have lived a wild and full life. I can’t deny that my morning after stories at Sunday brunch have left the person on the other end of the table eyes wide and mouth open on some occasions. To be honest at times I’m turned on by the unusual and downright crazy. I don’t have a taste for the safe and familiar, I’m curious and pursue all that intrigues me with consequences to be processed much later. I must warn you or entice you (whatever your fancy) by saying that what I will be sharing the next few weeks isn’t for the conservative or prude, my life is filled with bad choices with beautiful outcomes and in need of sharing. It’s that the last twelve months have led me to the ultimate decisions to really just come clean, let go, seek enlightenment and share.
At 21 years old I have known various countries and cultures. I’ve fallen in and out of love with the idea of love. I benefited from summers in the Netherlands Antilles during my final High School years which made me feel beautiful during a time when I was constantly told I was not. I’ve experienced Inter-racial relationships, scary intimate encounters with my peers, along with romances I never wish to forget and a few I cringe to remember. I’ve survived the death of my father, High School obesity, and the cruelty of gossip and young adulthood. What makes me strong is that I never lost the sense of self that allowed me to succumb to my desires. Thanks to a very outgoing Lebanese gay friend I tried my hand at theater direction, photography, and a cultivated love for foreign cinema. I’ve aspired to change the world through activism, loving, living, and above all relating.
Three years ago when It came time to decide where the next chapter of my life would take place (college), I was fed up with the world around me. At the end of High school I was sure of one thing: The contentment I was seeking would not be found in a Virginia University and I wasn’t getting any happier with just a change in self (I lost ten pounds my senior year of high school) .
Against all odds and that which is logical, I somehow acquired acceptance into a underclassmen program at Suffolk University in Madrid, Spain. While trying to decide between a year of freedom and a degree from a state school or four years in Connecticut, I had come upon my fathers old passport from the 1970’s. I was astonished to find the only two stamps inside it were from the customs counter in Madrid and the Balearic Islands. I took it as a sign to take one incredible year instead of four filled with possible mediocrity.
This blog isn’t about Spain, and what I did there, those memories are a prequel, and in a better sense the map which led me to my decision to embark again on another Journey taking me out of my comfort zone. If anything, many voyages are a promise to have at least one night under the covers crying to be safe in my Oakton Home due to things gone wrong: anti-Americanism or just plain culture shock. (my first bedroom in Spain could barely fit my suitcase in it and my senora was oozing with xenophobia, being brown-skinned in Spain had its perks and its annoyances)
This Blog and this summer are a testament to my decision to grow up and stop limiting myself to the real barriers between me and the world. Not just society, but my barriers to let love in and out unconditionally with friends, strangers, and former/current lovers. These barriers which constrain me from true fluency in every language I have knowledge of, and the ability to marvel at life’s moments; ugly and good so I may appreciate them for what they are as they occur rather than dwell on them in sadness. These barriers I have built out of fear of pain, failure, and the unknown.
Before this point, I had always traveled with all intent and purposes to throw myself deep into the places far away from fellow Americans, resorts, and tour guides. Admittedly, while the culture was the initial draw, every expedition was about the sweet anticipation of connecting with people I’ll never forget and times littered with getting drunk in strange bars, deep house music, and hot men who I barely understand. This time around things are different. I’m older, wiser, and a few years deep into the freedom of living without supervision. I’m not lonely, sexually repressed, and desperately in need of a good time. At 21 the grass isn’t always greener anymore, it’s that my yard just needs some weeding out and new seeds planted.
I want to be moved down to my very core, above all this is a spiritual mission. I don’t want to come back and tell you the stories, and exude my change, I will share it every step of the way by Photoblogging and relating my experiences in Guatemala and Turkey.
The next coming weeks I’m going to relate some moments that have occurred which brought me to this moment. The past year I’ve played my part in moments which defy logic, ive been lost for a while and what you and I will uncover together is my way back. ..If anything I hope that my story and the path ahead of me, will inspire or educate all who come upon it. This blog is my gift to anyone who wishes to receive it, and wishes to be moved by it. This isn’t another travel blog, this is a memoir. My story…..Eat. Pray. Love. For the Twenty something soul.