Up, Up and Away.

More than 12 hours ago (for me, at least; it is 1100 in London, England), I waved goodbye to my amazing boyfriend as I stepped passed the invisible line that is airport security and into the fate of the next 48 hours: travel, travel and – yup, you guessed it – more travel. Within 48 hours from 6pm, I will have seen the inside of 4 different airports; and 3 countries that is not my own. As I sit here in London Heathrow Airport sipping a latte and fighting the urge to close my eyes for just 2 minutes, I feel strangely at ease. Except for the fact that when I went to the coffee shop and asked for a regular coffee, they asked if I meant a latte. We are not at Tim Horton’s anymore, Toto.

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It’s a cloudy day in London, England.

In the weeks leading up to this departure, I was facing a mix of excitement and nerves; I very often thought to myself “what the heck am I doing??”. I second guessed my ability to do this, and especially for 90 days. My thoughts ranged from “what if something happened?” to “what if something went wrong?” to “what if I don’t accomplish what I am supposed too?” and “what if I love it so much I don’t want to come home?” And then I realized – it’s okay if something goes wrong, or if something happens, or if I suck at my job, because I am strong and I can get through it. I’ll be safer, I’ll work harder, and I’ll get stronger. It is so surreal to be doing this. But, I think the weight of what I am setting off to do is finally sinking in, and it’s a heaviness that I now embrace with open arms. I am setting off, more than half way across the world, to make a difference. There is something very calming about that. Even though I am not 100% sure how this mandate will play out, or if it will be anything like I have imagined thus far, I do know it will be great.

My boyfriend has been more supportive that I ever could have hoped, and I find myself thanking the universe for bringing me to him. He has never failed to tell me how proud he is of me for setting off on this adventure. 90 days is a long time, but I know he will be right there at the airport the second my flight touches ground, welcoming me home with open arms and the smile I have come to love.

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This goodbye was only a “see you later” – thanks for being an amazing man.

My stay in London will be short lived; in less than 12 hours I will be on my next flight to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and then onto my final destination in Tanzania.

Bring it on, Africa.

J xo

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Living among the lions in AFRICA

When I was preparing for my exchange to Sweden last year, I heard about the Queen Elizabeth II (QEII) Diamond Jubilee Scholarship. I remember being in awe of it’s’ recipients, thinking I would never have what it takes to be awarded with that opportunity. I didn’t think much else of it, finding satisfaction that I was going out on exchange and that I didn’t need the QEII experience – until one day, I decided I did.

In November of 2016, the applications for the QEII came out. I applied, thinking that the worst thing that could happen was that I wasn’t selected. Fast forward to December, where I found out I was chosen as one of the recipients for the summer of 2017. The next part was trying to choose a place to complete my 90 day internship.

Africa has been on my bucket list for as long as I can remember. In fact, Facebook recently notified of a post that I made in 2015 about trying to find an experience in which I could travel to Africa and volunteer. Fast forward 2 years later, and that dream is finally coming true.

With my QEII experience, I chose to complete with the World University Service of Canada, CECI and Uniterra. I completed a Skype interview with the team from Ottawa and Montreal, and was told I would know in 10-15 days if and where I would be going. Let me tell you – those were the longest 13 days of my life. This morning, I had an email in my inbox offering me a position in Moshi, Tanzania, working as a Communication and Documentation officer for Mtando was Vikundi vya Wakulima Tanzania-Kilimanjaro.

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Moshi, Tanzania – with a view of Mt. Kilimanjaro.

This is the first step on my journey. My first step as a QEII recipient. My first step as a humanitarian. My first step in my dream to Africa.

Africa, I’m ready for you. See you in 6 weeks.