Whenever I travel, as I’m sure is the case with most travelers, I use the time away from the routine of “normal” life to do a bit of reflection. This time around in the Sacred Valley of Peru was even more so a time of reflection. You see, for me this time in Peru was the realization of a dream that not so long ago, I was ready to give up on.
For as long as I can remember, my professional goal was to do “something international”, which I gradually narrowed down to “helping people” internationally, which I eventually specified as “international development”. (Which, I know, is still not super specific. But bear with me.) I carried this dream with me probably from the end of high school/beginning of college on, but by the time I reached college graduation last year, I was ready to give up on it. Among other reasons, I didn’t think my dream was realistic. I didn’t see how I could do what I wanted to do and still have it be, to throw out our favorite buzz word at MIIS, sustainable for myself in the long run. So, pursuing a graduate degree in the field of international development was me taking one last chance on this dream—in a way that I felt was more realistic and sustainable, both for myself and the individuals I would be working alongside should the goal pan out.
I came to Peru after one semester at MIIS, and while I definitely felt that I had made the right decision in pursuing my goal of working in international development, this time in Peru reaffirmed my initial sentiments. There is a smart approach to development, both for oneself and for the people affected by one’s career in development. I suppose what I’m getting at is that, even though I said at the beginning of this post that travel can be a time to get away from “normal” life, this trip only reminded me that my new idea of “normal”—my reality—is pretty awesome. ~Nadine Custis