Hi, my name is Chisana Monson (pronounced Shoo-shana) but everyone calls me Choochy.
I am from Fairbanks, Alaska and like many of you I am also on my gap year. I graduated high school a year early because to be honest I was done with school. Not the learning aspect, but the negative and unmotivated attitudes of the other students. I am a very optimistic person and I decided it would be more worth my time to spend my “senior” year in a positive and encouraging atmosphere of my choice. I traveled to Australia for a few weeks after graduation where I went sky diving and bungee jumping during a small road trip around a few parts of the country. This was my time to unwind from the grilling energy of high school and to just live a little in a way that is very out of the cycle of daily life. After that my travel life was more subdued, due to my decision to dedicate myself to competitive rock climbing which I’ve been active in for about 5 years.
My family history is based in dog mushing (where a team of dogs pulls a sled) which is a very stereotypical Alaskan activity, yet here it is. My mother remains to this day the only woman to have won the historically significant, 1,100 mile long Iditarod Dog Sled race 4 times. Though this is mostly only famous throughout Alaska, she was an icon for women empowerment in a time when men dominated the physical world. I mention this part of my family history because she has been a huge impact on my world view and enthusiasm for life. She died when I was 6 but her legacy has lived on and encourages me every day to live my dream and to not let anyone dim my future. This being said I have decided I want travel to be a big part of my life. At first I thought of it selfishly, of countries and cities just being checkmarks on a map to prove to your friends that you were well traveled. Quickly I came to realize that it’s so much more. To truly say you’ve been to a place you need to interact with the people, learn the culture, and not be afraid to put yourself out there. I spent 3 months in the Bahamas going to school for sustainability and marine ecology with a program much like Dragons. There as well we had no cell phones and were completely immersed focused on Place and Awareness. Therefore I feel very prepared mentally and physically for our next adventure in Nepal, but can’t wait for the new and exciting emotions and experiences we will share. I’ve always been drawn to Nepal, never having visited it, so I’m excited to finally discover why its been pulling at my heart.
Can’t wait to me you all!