People ask me all the time about what made me want to travel. It was hard to come up with a response, because this trip was one of the rare circumstances in which I felt the strong need to do something and then came up with logical reasons after the fact. But one of those logical reasons is because I want to expand my inner boundaries and grow as a person. In a way, it’s a self-constructed, soft-skills-focused MBA (at much less cost and, correspondingly, much less recognition).
What kind of makeshift MBA program would it be without identified objectives and goals? Though I don’t have many specific details planned, I at least know broader ways in which I want to grow:
1. Fall in love
I don’t mean romantic love, which is usually associated with this phrase. There are different ways to fall in love and different things to fall in love with, and I want to invite as much of it into my life as possible. What I was missing in NYC was love for my community, love for my work, and love for small details and encounters.
But generally it’s easier to fall in love abroad, where everything is new and somehow all converged just so for the precise moment that you happen to be there. I want to fall in love with the energy of a place, with problem(s) to solve, and with the random strangers whose paths cross mine, in whichever way. Love is the first step towards purpose, the ultimate goal.
2. Be socially Open
I’ve always been characterized as shy, cautious, and sometimes hesitant, but I’m no longer going to let it stand in the way of opportunities. While abroad by myself with no comfort zone in sight, I’ll have no choice but to mispronounce new languages and engage with strangers. Of course, I’ll use common sense to avoid things that are unsafe, but personal safety is hardly at risk when attempting to thank someone in their native language or asking for recommendations from other travelers.
3. Get comfortable with discomfort
To expand ones comfort zone, one must necessarily seek discomfort, which I’m sure will not be in short supply. To me, the greatest discomfort is uncertainty, so I’ve deliberately (okay, and partially lazily) kept my itinerary as open as possible to force myself to be flexible. I hope to learn how to deal with any situation that arises with a clear head, and to loosen up in places where I’m normally tightly wound.
4. Stay in touch with loved ones
Send a quick message/picture once a day, twice a day, or at minimum whenever I have internet.
5. Write or draw for at least 30min/day
Even though I don’t have a job, I still want to create. In fact, this is precisely the time for me to work on personal projects and acquire new skills that I didn’t have time to work on on the job. And to keep up with my blog, this is probably the bare minimum that I’ll have to dedicate to writing.
6. Post at least twice a week
Post something, anything, no matter how short. I can already feel how easy it will be to fall behind, so this is to make sure the blog stays somewhat current!