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Hi from Minneapolis!

Hi!! I’m Ellen, 18, book-reader, music-listener, and cat-petter, and I’m from Minneapolis, Minnesota. I graduated from high school last June and will be going to college in New York in the fall. In the meantime, I get to go to India with all of you! I am very excited.

In her TED Talk, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie expresses that to engage properly with a place one must engage also with all of the stories of that place. Entering into an experience with a single story of a new place and its people may feel more comfortable, but this both simplifies that place and those people and limits the capacity for learning and growth. I believe that the power of travel lies in its ability to rewrite or build on an incomplete single story. Within each person you meet when traveling to a new place lives a story, unique and complex, which combats the one you brought along with you from home.

Of course, in preparing for this adventure, I’ve spent the past few months imagining what India will be like. All I know is what I’ve heard from others and seen in pictures, and I will soon have the privilege of seeing it with my own eyes. I, as a traveler, am choosing to commit to leaving behind my assumption and preconceptions – and doing plenty of reflecting, too – so that I can watch, listen, and be filled with lots of new stories.

See you in just a few days!