When I was a little girl, I remember very specifically asking my mother why we lived in the United States. My parents had friends who lived overseas. These people enchanted me with gifts from afar and stories of things I couldn't imagine existed. But, I guess I didn't know much existed outside of my home city. I was obsessed with the prospect of adventures abroad. I would make elaborate plans for my future and all of the places I would travel, always receiving an endearing eyeroll and words of encouragement from my parents. Travel became a goal of mine. And I knew that if I was going to do it, it would have to be on my own. So, when I was 17, I found a way.
When I was 17, I made the declaration to my parents that the following summer, I would be going abroad. They sighed in a sort of "yeah, right" way, but told me that if I could find a way to do it, I should. And so, as a motivated person does, I did. I found a volunteer group that would take me to Hong Kong. At age 18, I went half way across the world with a group of strangers, and I fell in love.