Second - Conor Grennan's book LittlePrinces, another thing to check out, love and never forget.
I have always wanted to visit Nepal. My dad lived there for two years while he was in the peace corps. It was the most inspiring time of his life. He still talks about it all the time, he takes advantage of any opportunity to pull out his slides (and now he is digitizing them - but I love the slide show on a blank white wall). He is so incredibly passionate about anything to do with Nepal.
Since I graduated high school I wanted to follow in his footsteps. I wanted to volunteer in a third world country, I wanted to make a difference in the world. That is what brought me to the Dominican Republic when I was nineteen. Since then I have wanted to do something else. I have dreamed of going to Africa and Nepal. But "Real Life" has gotten in the way. I had to go to college. I had to make money. I had to be here for my family. And I got in the way of myself. I had to experience Europe. I had to drink my way through the UK and Denmark.
Most of all my problem is I want to do too many things. I want to volunteer for Next Generation Nepal. I want to go to volunteer in a women's home in Kenya. I want to couch surf through Europe. I want to be near my family. I want to move to Texas. I want to be in the same place long enough to make friends, maybe meet a boy, to be able to change my permanent address to something other than my parents'.
All of my wants conflict. And none of them involve a steady job, something I need in order to make the money to fund all of these dreams.
I told my mother last night, "I want to go to Nepal to volunteer at Conor's children's home."
"Annie, you are moving to Texas in two months."
"I know, but this is really important to me. I want to do this too!"
To that I just mumbled. I don't know how. I can barely afford my move to Texas, let alone a plane ticket to Nepal. And not working, not getting an income, for those three months I would be volunteering.
Yes, I know I can do a lot of volunteering here and in Texas. And I do volunteer here. And I plan to in Texas. But my draw to Nepal has always been so deep. I want to connect with my father, to have a similar experience. To know what he went through. And I am so inspired by Conor Grennan's experiences that I just cannot stop thinking about him and the lost children of Nepal.
So I am adding it to my Before 30 list. Because I am absolutely going to do it. And maybe someday I'll get to Kenya. And maybe someday I will settle down. But be aware - "settling down" absolutely does not mean never traveling/volunteering abroad again. It just means I will pause long enough to establish a relationship - something I have been unable to do for the last five years.
Maybe Texas is my first step to settling down?