Ever since I was little girl growing up in the rolling and rather dull plains of the mid-west, I have dreamed of being a world travelling adventurer. It’s why I initially chose my major in anthropology. The first time I decided to travel abroad was in 2009. I walked into my folk’s living room, shortly after graduating high school, and abruptly announced, “I’m going to live in Spain for the summer.” I had been accepted into a program doing volunteer archaeology work at a Celtic Iron Age necropolis and Roman settlement located in a little remote village in central Spain. Somewhere between laughing hysterically and feeling concerned, my folks asked, “Oh really? When are you leaving?” Without hesitation, I answered, “May 29th. I just bought my plane tickets. Do you think you guys could give me a ride to the airport?”
They say that when you travel you always learn something new about yourself and rarely come back the same person. For me, I had taken that journey to see if I had what it takes to live up to the worldly explorer I desired to be, but I had returned with a feeling that I couldn’t comprehend. For the first time, in a long time, I felt homesick, but not for my home in the U.S. It didn’t seem normal to take comfort in the strange and uncertain. My friends have argued that it was because I was the foreigner being subject to “otherness”. In a certain sense they were right, but for the most part, it was quite opposite of that. I felt uprooted from the relationships I made, the food I ate, the environment I lived in, and the daily routines I had become accustomed too. I still eat dinner at 8:00 pm and often long for siestas.
A few years since then, I saw a flyer at my university advertizing a study abroad course in Nepal. Looking at some of the photographs of the villages that were sustaining themselves between these enormous, god-like mountains, I looked with fascination at a place that seemed far away from the norms of home, not just materialistically, but also environmentally, politically, socially, and economically. This presented itself as an opportunity to apply what I’ve learned in anthropology in the field. The very thought of the kinds of adventurous experiences and research skills I could develop were too exciting for words.