Hands down, I love working for National Geographic. I get the opportunity to meet extraordinary people and work on amazing initiatives – The Big Cats Initiative and The Ocean Initiative. My eyes have been opened to issues around the world and problems in my own backyard. However, it’s these dilemmas that keep me thinking long after I should have already fallen asleep at night. It breaks my heart to know that the last Javan Rhino has been poached in Vietnam or that the flooding in Thailand has killed nearly 500 people or that there is yet another sex scandal in our country. The list could go on and on and these are the types of issues that have been weighing on me – I want to do more, help more, be more, see more. The flooding in Thailand is especially near and dear to my heart considering I was just there a few short months ago and I haven’t heard from my host mom since the flooding.
However, while it is easy to worry myself into oblivion (which I tend to do), I’ve been trying to remember all the beautiful things there are in life. Granted there are some horrifying aspects of our planet but it is also truly beautiful. Here’s a short list I came up with and examples from my life…
-The seasons, although not constant everywhere, are a reminder that we have the opportunity to continue to live and to develop ourselves and to do something new each day, each moment, each season, each year. This Fall I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to work for NatGeo, get out of the comfort of my parent’s house, struggle to buy groceries, and to go see awe-inspiring places like Gettysburg, The Baltimore Aquarium, go on a Ghost Tour of Fell’s Point, see The National Mall (which is not actually a mall!), and eat at local mom and pop shops. This list is definitely not an exhaustive and I still have 6 more weeks to conquer other spectales - like Williamsburg and New York City. I’ve also gotten to know some pretty swell gals in our tiny intern cave at NatGeo. It’s nice to have people with which to share food, laughs, and YouTube videos.
-I am surrounded by amazing people. I have a few close friends, my truly wonderful family, and a boyfriend who care about me and I am fortunate to have them to care about and love back. They put up with my crazy plans and bizarre ideas.
-I’ve had the pleasure of traveling the World and next December I will be going to Nicaragua for another astonishing adventure to meet the locals and hopefully see the red-gold economy and how American’s consumption of lobster effects this part of the world. Traveling has been an excellent way to learn about people and cultures face-to-face and not from a textbook (duh!), which I believe is vital as a future geography teacher!
-I have an adorable puppy who makes me beyond happy and I love coming home to her unconditional love and her ridiculous puppy antics. She was a former foster puppy of mine and I just couldn’t give her back. Because of little Miss Roxie Jane I have this need to continue to foster and help other puppies who had been abused and abandoned like her, which should never, ever happen.
-While it’s taken me some time to figure out what I “want to be when I grow up,” I’m able to attend school and get an education. These days in the US that doesn’t seem like a huge feat, but in other parts of the World, like some of the people I’m working with in Tanzania, they can barely afford an elementary education. I also have gotten to meet some amazing geographers and friends through my program at UNC, which has allowed me to have this unforseen life changing lens on the World.