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Introduction

I can’t believe in one week we travel to the Dominican Republic for our adventure! Since no one else is introducing themselves even though we asked everyone to do so before we leave (*COUGH* *COUGH* STUDENTS), I’ll introduce myself and then hopefully we start to see some more appear here before the end of the week. Feel free to make your intros shorter than this… I got carried away.

I was privileged to travel frequently as a kid with my parents. We visited Japan, Australia, Germany, England, Switzerland, France, Italy, and a few other developed countries around the world. Exploring these cultures was a wonderful and comfortable experience and I plan on continuing this type of travel throughout my life. I’ll call this type I travel.

In college, I encountered a new type of travel when I signed up for 3 weeks in Jamaica spent learning from, and living with, locals. I ate unfamiliar foods, took cold showers, slept on the floor, cried from loneliness, and wondered how I would make it through the weeks. I also picked fresh star fruit, learned Patois, observed rural poverty up close, and felt supported by three generation of strong Jamaican women in my home stay. This travel, type II, was uncomfortable but extremely rewarding. (I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that this type of travel takes privilege, too).

As it turns out, it’s hard to encounter type II travel so when I was asked to co-lead the Nueva|Dragons Thailand trip last summer, I jumped at the opportunity. You can bet that I was uncomfortable at times, but also pushed and challenged to widen my world view. The pictures here are from the trip: drinking fresh coconut water and planting rice with locals.

Here we are, one week before departure for another type II trip, and I am feeling a mix of emotions. I am nervous for the challenging moments. I am confident that I can handle a cold bucket shower and hole-in-the-ground toilet (and that I can help students get through this, too). I am excited to try local foods, swim in the ocean, and learn. My #1 goal for the trip is to remain present, even when it gets tough and I want to mentally escape to my comfy bed and cat Sushi.

See you at the airport next week!

Katie