Thursday, July 21, 2011

on not that kind of adventure

At one point during my senior year of college I decided that I wanted to join the Peace Corps after graduation.  I was pretty set on it.  Spoke to the recruiter, received the application, read through the materials.  In the pamphlet they sent me was a piece written by a young woman who had just returned from Africa.  She wrote about driving her jeep home from a neighboring village several miles away and getting a flat tire.  About how she had to get out of the jeep in the middle of that wild landscape just as a storm broke out above her.  Of kneeling in the rain and mud and fighting with the tire as the sounds of nighttime animals moved about her.  The piece was meant to be inspiring, to show the new recruit what power being in the Peace Corps could bring to them.  Instead, I closed the booklet and three months later moved to Boston.  To an apartment three blocks away from my brother, far from carnivorous animals and nighttime feats of heroism.  I was fairly certain that I did not have what it took to live that life.

Our good friend Nick just accepted a position teaching at his veterinary alma mater in St. Kitts.  He owns a home, is partner in a great animal hospital, lives just a few miles away from most every person he loves, but is packing up next month and moving to St. Kitts for four years because he said he needed an adventure.  Mike and I told my Dad this when we saw him last week and my Dad quickly replied, "you have to do something like this".  I laughed it off but he pressed on, "no, this is the time, this is when you can do this.  Don't worry I'd visit you."  And so for a few hours in the car on the drive to wedding number two on Sunday Mike and I talked about where we could go, what we would do.  Maybe not bringing running water to a village in Africa as was my original adventure goal all those years ago, but maybe living in another country and teaching.  Or, as Nick has suggested, farming pineapples on St. Kitts and being his neighbor.

A part of me wishes I could turn into the person that could pick up and go.  That I was not this homebound person who was just a little fearful of all those what if's.  But it's been tempting, and I'm wondering if I have been selling myself short in thinking that I couldn't.

Nick's new island home...
UPDATE: just saw this commercial for the Peace Corps and thought it was pretty timely, and inspiring...especially because the actor says, "I really didn't think I had it in me."  As if he new that I had just written this little blog post. 

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