As I’ve been soaking up my last couple of days in America the anxiety and doubts start to sink in as well.
My Dad lends me some words of advice…
You are at the beginning of a great journey. It is what some people call a hero’s journey. We can all choose to go on the hero’s journey, but many people play it safe. We all can be the hero if we decide to take that journey. In the hero’s journey a person is called to the journey. At first, we resist, we hesitate. Fear holds use back and many never start the journey. If you take the hero’s journey, you go into the unknown. It is scary! We face our fears. The road is hard and challenging – it takes work! You may want to turn off this road. Along the way, you will find help, often from a stranger or where you least expected it. Overtime, you will discover the rewards of your journey. You will have a new awareness of life. You will be changed. You will be transformed! And in the end, you return home a transformed person. You will be different from other people. Your life will be richer, more full and those around you will learn from you.
On this journey, I have four pieces of advice for you:
Use your artist’s eye. Observe, discover. Find wonder. Look for the little things. Meditate. Take it all in!
Be in Community
You are joining a new culture, new customs, new religions – a new community! Embrace your new community. You will find that this community is very generous, very welcoming. They will embrace you. Feast, dance and celebrate with your new community! Let it happen!
Form New Relationships
You are not alone! Strangers will help you on your way. Be open to generosity, take a chance. You will have a new family. A Moroccan Amma and Bua (Nepali for mother and father), Moroccan sisters and brothers. You will have a new community of friends, your fellow Peace Corps volunteers – a phone call away! You will add to your treasured list of best friends, you will find a Bob and a Ram.
Your Peace Corps time will be hard, it will sometimes be scary. But it will change your life! Stay through the hard time because the reward is great. Your second year will probably be much better than your first year. There is a famous poem by Robert Frost called “The Road Not Taken.” It describes the journey you are taking with this famous line: “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” Your experience will live with you for the rest of your life – it will make all the difference!
And with that I take the road less traveled to start my hero’s journey.