From West Africa To The East Village

Growing up in suburban Canada, I often dreamed about the places I wanted to see, the streets I wanted to walk, the experiences I wanted to live. I would see photos of the red dirt in Sub-Saharan Africa and yearn to muddy my shoes with it. I would read about a little independent coffee shop in New York City and wish the generic Tim Hortons I was sitting in would transform into it. I would hear about the colorful African festivals and dream I could partake. I would notice the incredible concerts and events going on in NYC and fantasize about attending.

Thankfully and finally, I’ve had to opportunity to see those dreams through, to turn yearning and wishing and hoping into doing and seeing and experiencing. I’ve danced in African dirt, spent days writing in cute little Lower East Side cafés, been overwhelmed by the excited crowds at Ghanaian festivals, and attended countless happenings in this Empire city I now call home.

I’ve had an incredible time through it all, but now I’m finding myself having to create new dreams. It’s a lucky but taxing situation, trying to revert to the wishing and hoping stage. How did 6-year-old me have such an easy time shaping the dreams that have dictated the past 18 years of my life? The innocence of youth, I guess.

Did I mention I just turned 24? Terrifying.

I’ve been in New York for a month now, and the exploring and learning that’s filling my time here has made the fact that I have no friends or family here infinitely more bearable. However, it’s also given me a lot of time to wonder where I want to go from here.

The consensus? I have no freaking clue. I’m 24, remember?

The most important thing I’ve come to realize is that’s okay, normal, beautiful, and lucky.

My time in Ghana put me into contact with people whose realities don’t permit dreaming, which has reminded me that my current predicament is an awesome one to have.

Since graduating, uncertainty in my life has become the norm. During my trip around the world, I had no idea what would happen next…but I ended up at an awesome internship.  Near the end of that internship, if you asked me where I would be in 6 months, I would have no idea…until I accepted the position in Ghana. Now I have no idea where I’ll be or what I’ll be doing in 2014…but with an unplaced hope in my belly, I’ll live like today could change my life because it could.

For now I’ll be hustling and growing and living and experiencing, each and every day. I promise to appreciate being young and healthy in a place I love. I’ll learn to enjoy the unknown, and make the present my priority. I’ll make sure to remember that I’m not lost, just free.

From West Africa to the East Village, I’ve lived the life I imagined, with some surprising and welcome additions every step of the way. Now I’m looking up to the endless sky and letting the stars guide my way, making sure I’m open and ready for the people and places the great world will bring into my life next.

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