Since tenth grade, I’ve been committed to living abroad. That’s also the year I decided I wanted to join the Peace Corps. I have never abandoned that idea, even as I’ve entered a PhD program and realized how atypical that path is. (True academics may use the stronger descriptor of “stupid.” STEM PhDs get high-paying careers; they don’t abscond to Africa. But I will.)
The irony of my short-term life dream is, I had never been abroad. Until two weeks ago when I went to Denmark. But until then, I have had to cringe and admit I have been a caged bird my entire life, but one day I’ll fly outside the bars aka cross the Big Pond. It’s hard to defend a life dream when you haven’t even tasted it. Or at least you feel deluded.
As I’ve written before, though, I have clung to my decision to live abroad/join the Peace Corps, and I’ve grown even more resolute that I will be applying within the next two years as grad school wraps up. But even as that day has gotten closer, I have felt more and more claustrophobic – like being on a plane with no leg room and you don’t know when the flight ends because you’re phone’s on airplane mode and your wristwatch has stopped working and how many time zones have we crossed, is my phone changing to match it, WHEN WILL I GET THE HELL OFF THIS PLANE, etc. (This scenario did not happen. At all. I promise. Never happened.)Read More