"Live to Travel. Travel to Live." lamsterz's Profile
**WHAT'S UP: I'm currently living and working in Goma, DRC right now - across from the Rwandan border. My job takes me to rural villages to work on food security issues for internally displaced persons (IDPs). Will hopefully get to update this soon but if you're in the area let me know. Cheers!**
“All the pathos and irony of leaving one’s youth behind is thus implicit in every joyous moment of travel: one knows that the first joy can never be recovered, and the wise traveler learns not to repeat successes but tries new places all the time.” -Paul Fussell
“Our battered suitcases were piled on the sidewalk again; we had longer ways to go. But no matter, the road is life.” -Jack Kerouac
“All travel has its advantages. If the passenger visits better countries, he may learn to improve his own. And if fortune carries him to worse, he may learn to enjoy it.” -Samuel Johnson
"May all your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view, where something strange and more beautiful and more full of wonder than your deepest dreams waits for you." -Edward Abbey
"He who chooses his own path needs no map." -Queen Kristina of Sweden
Fortunately, I have been able to choose my map and map my choices to the lovely state I'm in now. Ironically, it's not a state, rather a piece of land wedged between two states, AKA the capital of the United States of America: Washington, DC.
At the tender age of 12, I climbed aboard a plane, without expectations and unsure of what was to transpire back to the motherland: Vietnam. In essence, it was to be a tour of the country where my family was ingrained with the values of humility, hard work, and determination.
[Saigon, Da Lat, Da Nang, Nha Trang, etc.]
Two years later, we hopped aboard to Toronto, Canada, where I met more of my wonderful family and experience Canada like it's never been before.
After a couple more years of experience, Europe called out, whispered and roped us in. Beginning in the Netherlands [Amsterdam], we ventured through Germany [Berlin] to Denmark[Aarhus] and met my father's sister and Danish roots for the very 1st time, filled with tears, hugs, and great hospitality. From there, we cruised on over to Norway [Oslo], before heading to the UK [London] and of course, France [Paris], where my parents fell for the "Chinatown," which actually moreso resembles "Little Saigon."
You see, travelling has always been a part of my family's habits, especially within the US. With family in Tennessee, Kentucky, San Jose, Los Angeles, etc., how could one resist?
And then college started. Away from home, in Austin, the best place for university setting, barnone. It's laidback attitude, openness and multitude of interests will invariably capture one's imagination without giving up the ability to sit back and enjoy life's pleasures will charm you like no other.
Engulfed in organizations and activities on campus, my sense of community and giving back would lead me to become an AmeriCorps member, where I was able to provide crucial services to kids of extreme need. The satisfaction of enriching lives of students that are grasping at a chance for the American Dream culminates at the end of every day upon realization that your encouragement and presence can impact the future leaders of the world. Two years later, I would return and embark on another year of AmeriCorps with a completely different outlook.
4 years would eclipse from the Vietnam trip before the itch to go abroad would undeniably be unleashed...
ARGENTINA! Y todos los mejores aspectos. Living in Buenos Aires, truly the embodiment of passion, I ventured to new adventures in Uruguay [Colonia], the amazing waterfalls of Brazil [Foz de Iguacu], nature fascinations of Salta y Jujuy, the historical plains of Cordoba, the past innovations and singsong language of Chile [San Pedro de Atacama, Antofagosta], and the always grateful people of Peru [Arequipa, Tacna, Lima]. Half a year of this and one simply can't resist the temptations of travel.
..and then came, well New Year's Eve in Mexico City. and then..
FRANCE! Où on peut apprécier les plus belles choses dans la vie. Living in Lille, le carrefour de la France, we were so close to the Belgian border, we took the metro to the end of the line then hopped it to sounds of party shots and yells of congratulations. The 1st month, in learning French, was spent in Paris, which gave me an immense opportunity to gather in the culture and its amazing people. From there, a trip to Strasbourg and Germany [Cologne, Frankfurt, Koblenz, Neuwied] ensued before jumping into the French semester at Lille III. Our newfound friends and I travelled to Belgium [Bruges, Brussels], other French cities [Chartres, Compienge], Portugal [Lisbon, my favorite European city], Spain [Madrid], and of course, to Denmark [Copehagen, Aarhus] for Christmas. All simply amazing adventures.
Through all the travels, I have gained a better appreciation of the available resources to me as well as how fortunate my life has been. In Argentina and France, I was able to volunteer and gather a sense of how poverty impacts everyone. While in France, I was accepted to graduate school programs, among those listed was one in Mexico City. This was an easy decision because of my affinity for all things Mexican (it's the Texan heritage) and the possibility of improving my Spanish. Then came an incredible option to study at the prestigious American University in Washington, DC.
Upon arriving, I discovered that I would be in the selective field of International Development, which matched my personality, aspirations, and state of thought very well. Since arriving I have learned so much about global affairs and have found myself more and more interested in what I can do to save the world, or at least improve it as much as possible. In doing this, I currently work for AED (Academy for Educational Development) on a sanitation infrastructure and good hygiene promotion project in Pakistan, family planning advocacy project in West Africa, public-private partnership project within Africa, and one more TBD project in Ethiopia.
The opportunities in DC are simply astounding, with its collection of museums, lectures, conferences, talks, and overall hub for discussion. In short, adventure surrounds and I am not one to let it fly by!
Aside from those, we took a trip to Vancouver, Canada and Nicaragua is to come August '08!
I suppose you could say I stand aside these countries' flags. And they wave beside me.
I wonder what percentage of the world I can communicate with, armed with English, French, Spanish, and Vietnamese. *curiosity* hmm..
1. Lisbon, Portugal
2. Buenos Aires, Argentina
3. Austin, Texas
4. Kampala, Uganda
5. Goa, India
2. New York
3. Washington, DC
5. North Carolina
1. Arequipa, Peru
2. Aarhus, Denmark
3. San Pedro de Atacama, Chile
4. Mexico City, Mexico
5. Kitchanga, DRC
*Honorables: Da Nang, Vietnam
1. Buenos Aires, Argentina
2. Austin, Texas
3. Mexico City, Mexico
4. Paris, France
5. Washington, DC
*Honorables: Salta, Argentina; Barcelona, Spain; Madrid, Spain; Goa, India
1. Washington, DC
2. Strasbourg, France
3. Atacama, Chile
4. Delhi, India
5. Lima, Peru
*Honorables: Kitchanga, DRC
Places to be a Vegetarian
1. Austin, Texas
2. London, England
3. Taipei, Taiwan
4. Vancouver, Canada
5. New York City, NY
5b. Delhi/Mumbai/Goa, India
1. Buenos Aires, Argentina
2. Agra, India
3. Mexico City, Mexico
4. Bruges, Belgium
5. Granada, Nicaragua
Honorables: Colonia, Uruguay
Locations for The LAM CODE (a la Da Vinci)
1. Sydney, Australia
2. Barcelona, Spain
3. Bucharest, Romania
4. Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
5. Tirana, Albania
2. Morocco - to come in Sept 2012!
8. Equatorial Guinea
Other interests include: SOCCER! A fanatic really. Messi, Donovan, Henry, Tigres, LOSC, Boca Jrs.. bike riding, diagnosing problems towards realistic solutions, conferences, Scrubs, bringing people together.. come together..
As one good friend once said, "I will charm you with my humor and humor you with my charm."
Which will be your poison of choice?
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