When you move to a new city it becomes routine to have generic, “get to know you” conversations with strangers, old friends, and new roommates as you attempt to create a new home for yourself. Some exchanges become more meaningful than others, but all allow you to navigate through the unfamiliarity of a new environment. You learn about others while also sharing bits of yourself.
As I reflect on the past year of my time in New York City and reminisce about all the interactions I have had, I realize that more often than not, people react to my life story in awe as if I have accomplished something extraordinary. But in actuality, I think I have just been living my life with one particular characteristic governing my decisions – bravery.
You see, I have ridden camels in Egypt, attended a soccer game in Brazil, skydived in Colorado, ran with the bulls in Spain, paraglided in Colombia, snorkeled in the Galapagos, taught English on Isla Baru, parasailed in Mexico, zip lined in Panama, played backgammon in Turkey, volunteered in Costa Rica, held a monkey in Morocco, and lived in New York City. Of course, I have been privileged with these opportunities, but I have also worked hard to make them happen. Every experience has been part of an academic endeavor, service trip, or career development. More importantly, I have made a promise to myself to never say no to an adventure; and to live my life as a brave young woman willing to explore the world, with no fears while also making lasting connections, doing meaningful work, and making everlasting memories.
People say to me, “I wish I could do something like that.”
The thing is, you can. Everyone can. You just have to take risks, have faith in yourself, and embrace change.
All of which stem from being brave. I encourage every girl and every woman to be brave whether that means pursuing your dream job, visiting a new country, advocating for what you believe in, or simply taking up a new hobby.