Monday, October 31, 2011


I've always hated the word "goals." It sounds like someone is discussing soccer. What's after the goal? Then what... one things done, but did you really want to do it? Is this what's expected of you, or what you're heart wants? You know what a better word for goal is? A dream.

It's funny how in the beginning of our lives they start out big, and then usually get smaller as we grow up. I've always wondered why that is with people. When they're young, everything is new and exciting, every day is an adventure filled with endless possibilities. But then as we get older, more capable of accomplishing these feats, our hearts start to shrink. We worry about pimples, car payments, catty friends, boys, all these electronic things....honestly in my opinion, boring. All these worries boil down to going to the school your parents went to, and then becoming a house wife or a secretary. People yell at their daughters for doing stuff they themselves did. Highlights. Brunch on Sundays with the red hat club. And then you die. 

Maybe I'm a little dramatic, but I've always been that way. 
When I was in third grade, I had a plan. When I grew up I was going to be an indian chief in the mountains of North Dakota, canoeing down the great ocean coast line and sending messages to other tribes via smoke signal. 

That dream changed when Norma kindly told me that I was white, and with minimal indian heritage becoming a chief would be nearly impossible. 

Fourth grade was a low point in my life, as I had a horrid teacher who basically told my parents that I was intellectually insufficient. I was dreaming up novels and stories and theatre plays while he was talking about Math (or something). Gross. Really to pass the time I would look around the room and point out routes that elves could take to climb in and out of the walls, up the television, throughout bookshelves. ect. I still do that sometimes when I'm bored. 

Middle school was undeniably, irrevocably in my own words complete hell. I have blocked most of those three years out of my memory. I failed seventh grade math and think I broke a record for most times getting yelled at in Tech Ed. 

In freshman year I knew I just wanted to get out. Out of school. Out of Michigan. I was fourteen and already seriously ambitious on becoming a world traveler. I just wanted to see and experience everything. So I began to look look and look for opportunities. They are limited, as you can probably imagine, for a kid to say "see you" to their parents w/ permission and jet off to have adventures alone across an ocean. 

One day after school I was feeling particularly fed up with all the bull at grand haven, all the teachers I knew I was smarter than and all the kids who acted like coked up five year olds (I wasn't happy). I saw a poster to become a rotary exchange student in a foreign country for 11 months. 


When I went to the meeting, I was told afterwards that it was too late to sign up and fill out an application, as they were due in a week and they usually took three to do. 

I was going next year. 
My application was going to be filled out in record time.
And I was going to get out in the world and see what I could see. 

The men running the meeting kind of blinked at me slowly and handed me an application carefully, as if my extreme eagerness was a sign that I may bite. 

So here I am almost exactly a year later, sixteen, sitting on a couch in a french restaurant, learning a foreign language and living big. It hasn't been easy. But it's been an incredible ride so far and I plan to continue until they force me into a plane and make me go in July ! I love driving through other countries and taking pictures. I love meeting new people and trying strange foods. I live for this. And today, my dreams rest somewhere between writing adventure novels and then buying a 90 foot cutter sailboat and going around the world or becoming a zoologist in central africa and working to diminish illegal trafficking of elephant tusk ivory ! And also befriend some lions I hope. Hey, if I can get out to travel the world at sixteen, I can do anything. The difference between me and others is that I really believe that I can do it. And look, I am ! 

Today I'm driving through the Netherlands with my host family and stopping in the capital of Europe (brussels) for dinner, taking lots of pictures. 
Have a great day !
Live bold and live large ! 



  1. megan - so glad your experience remains positive...i have a sister in law who grew up international, born in hawaii, schooled in india, joined the peace corps and went to thailand..married my brother who has also committed to knowing the world as intimately as possible. after working for an organization that did send him literally to every continent i think, he is now in his retirement job..a 3 year commitment to an american school in bangaldesh...their life continues..

    all this to say that your dream is very very possible and thank you for reframing goals to dreams...bon voyage...pat

  2. oh wait...was unsure of what format to use to publish this but would like my google account pic to show so will try that now...

  3. k sorry guess i was thinking of facebook. nevermind..p

  4. Megan: You are such a writer/photographer! That might be your ticket to continuing world travel....This piece is so beautifully constructed. My response: I want to gather a few things and toss them in my ailing car and camp and drive as far as it will go, then take the bus home! I'm loving your journey, both outside (through the world) and the inner one.

  5. Thank you for commenting and following my blog ! I'd like to hear more about what you guys are up to too. Gail why not ?!? Go for it, then you can write a book about it, put all kinds of metaphors about life and travel, and be a philosopher. Pat-your brother and sister in law sound incredible ! And actually there is an exchange student from Thailand staying at my house later this year, I'm hoping my family can learn more about eastern culture and me too. I love you guys, peace go with you. : )

  6. Megan, Comme d'habitude, ca me fais un grand plaisir de lire de tes nouvelles. Ton ecriture est vraiment genial!
    Mais je crois je Geneve est la Capital d'Europe, c'est la la HQ d'Union Europeen.. ;)
    Bref, bon continuations!