Among people who know me well, my decision to apply to the Peace Corps, and to accept the invitation to serve in Mongolia, came as no surprise. And everyone else has asked some version of Why? What made you want to do that?

Articulating the answer on command—often in a nonchalant encounter where a clock, somewhere, is ticking—leaves me grasping for the perfect way to summarize not just my motivations, but my identity, inasmuch as this decision was a natural expression of how I see myself. That said, the below paragraph (an excerpt from my “why I want to join the Peace Corps” essay) does a decent job getting across the magnitude of what I’m seeking.

“I have stood in the shadow of the Taj Mahal, but had a stronger reaction to the sight of five people riding on a two-person scooter. I have eaten tapas in Spain, but cannot cook an authentic “ethnic” dish. I am acutely aware that my experiences as a tourist leave me with only a superficial understanding of what living in those cultures is like, and that the photographs I am left with could never capture the sweet smell of Mumbai on a warm evening. My travel stories inevitably are reduced to a comparison between here and there. I am not dissatisfied, but I long for the everyday experiences more so than the tourist check-list variety.”

8 Responses to Why?

  1. Priscilla A. Arsenault says:

    Your paragraph from your Peace Corps essay is perfect, tells me exactly how you feel, deep down inside, feels like I’m in your head, reading your thoughts. Though not the world traveler myself that you are, I can totally relate to what you mean and hope to continue to “travel” and experience things vicariously through you with your “To Mongolia with Love” blog!

  2. Kathy P. Willis says:

    Oh Love, I am bursting at the seams with pride for my little niece. I wish you all the best with the various new experiences you have in store for you. I thank you in advance for allowing all of us the opportunity to share it with you. Via con Dios. Much love, Auntie Kathy

  3. Tricia says:

    Like Aunt Kathy, I, too, am bursting with pride! You are such an inspiration to many and I applaud you. Looking forward to your posts.

  4. theimaginant says:

    Perfect, Love. Perfect.

  5. maryse says:

    yay! i look forward to reading about your adventures over the next two years.

  6. Suzanne says:

    Just linked you up in my Google reader, Love!

  7. Jonathan says:

    Love, you are going to have such a tremendous experience–because you’re going with a great frame of mind. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Crystal says:

    I can’t wait to hear about your adventures, Love.

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