Sunday, April 8, 2012

2 Months Before the Journey

So here I am sitting nice and cozy in my apartment in Boulder, Colorado on April 8th, 2012.  In exactly 2 months, I'll be sitting in a hot house eating delicious fresh fish on some island in the Federated States of Micronesia.

I'm starting this blog now (before I even take off for my trip) so that later you and I can see the changes of Nick before, during, and after the journey.  This blog will also be a good way (on top of Facebook, Skype, long distance 3am calls, ...) to keep in touch with my great family and awesome friends.

This past week has been one of pure unadulterated doubt of who I am and what I'm doing.  I've been contemplating on why I'm joining the Peace Corps, what else could I be doing, and all the 'what-ifs' that make sleeping nearly impossible, but I've come up with some good answers for these questions.

Question: Why am I joining the Peace Corps?
First, I was born a Mormon boy, and I'm proud of the morals and character that that religion has provided me.  As a Mormon, you're expected to go on a 'Mission' for 2 years to teach the word of God and of the Book of Mormon.
Now if you know me, you'll know that I've left the church.  I don't believe in the Book of Mormon, but I do believe in service to others without expecting anything but a smile in return.  I'm one of those people who likes to help others even if I don't get paid.  As long as I have clothes on my back, food in my stomach, and some project for me in which to help others, I feel pretty damn lucky.  I see the Peace Corps as a perfect way of helping others.  In a way, I'm calling this experience my "Non-Mormon Mission" to help others.
Second, I'm doing Peace Corps to learn more about who I am and how far I can go.  Up to this point in life, I've graduated from high school, lived in Madrid, graduated from college in three years, and provided for myself for a year (with some help from family of course).  Hell, I even ran with the bulls in Pamplona!  Although these are all great accomplishments, they haven't really tested me.  I haven't been pushed to my limits.  Peace Corps Micronesia will push me to my limits physically, emotionally, and mentally.  I can't wait for the challenge.
Third, Peace Corps will set me up for future opportunities.  Working in the Federal Government, becoming a teacher/professor, or doing some other cool profession are all possible paths after August 2014.  The brand of Peace Corps and the experience that I'll have gained will allow me to pursue multiple courses after this experience.

These reasons have been fighting against the doubts/missed opportunities of doing Peace Corps such as I could be making a lot of money here, it's such a long time commitment, I could fall in love here, I could go to graduate school, what if I don't like it, blah blah blah.

But a friend of mine this week had a great quote for me: "If you're not scared shitless for a big life changing event, then you're probably not ready for it."  And anyways, who in their right mind would turn down an opportunity to live abroad for 2 years, teach English, and learn a whole new culture?  On top of that, doesn't that description sound exactly like a Nick thing to do?  Too many people have told me that they've wanted to do an opportunity like this, but guess what? I'm actually doing it.  I'm living what other people dream about doing.  I'm not going to be the one 40 years down the road saying what if I had done something else, because I am doing that something else. 

I'm going to be a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Federated States of Micronesia or Palau, and I can't wait to tell you all about it.