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When in Roam I will go back in time to write about the adventures I have had over the past few years and as I have new ones, I will share those as well!

My Travel Writing Scholarship 2011 entry - My Big Adventure

USA | Wednesday, 23 March 2011 | Views [270] | Scholarship Entry

I haven’t been many places in this world although I hope one day to go everywhere. However, last summer I was given the chance to be a volunteer photographer for Project Hawaii, a non-profit organization headed by one woman who provides food and hope to the hundreds of homeless children living on the Big Island of Hawaii. My original duty was to merely document a sleepover camp the organization was sponsoring but it turned into something much more. The kind of big adventure most young travelers experience while abroad (or in my case in another state) involves staying up late, jumping off of cliffs or hiking in a mysterious land. Those are all activities I wish to do one day, but my adventure in Hawaii became a personal, internal transformation.
I have always been involved in volunteer organizations and community service, so my mission in Hawaii was nothing new. However, when I stepped onto the campground and was greeted by a swarm of smiling and laughing children jumping all over me, I sensed something was different. After five days of spending time with the children, who despite their circumstances were like any other children in the world, I realized my calling was to help them and others like them.
I have never felt more at peace than I did at the Kalopa State Park. Waking up early and spending long days playing with the children and seeing their endless smiles gave me more energy that I’ve ever had before. All the stresses from home that I felt getting on the plane all faded away by holding the hands of the children, giving them piggy-back rides, and helping them with art projects. With every day that passed, I felt something inside of me change. I felt myself growing and realizing how superficial life was prior to meeting those children.
When it came time for the graduation luau at the end of the trip, I had a hard time realizing it was all over. I forgot that my life in Hawaii was not my real life and that I had to return back to my home in Pennsylvania. While sitting in my airplane seat watching Hawaii fade away, I realized that perhaps my home had changed. Those kids were now my home and I know, one day, I will go back and dedicate as much of my time and myself as I possibly can to helping them. They deserve better lives and if I can play a part in them achieving that, then my life here on this earth is worthwhile.
So, I had a huge adventure, yes…a typical one? Not quite, but what constitutes a real adventure? Who says that a spiritual, transformative experience doesn’t qualify? Traveling, for me, is an opportunity to change and learn and I truly hope that in my future lies more of these opportunities.

Tags: #2011writing, travel writing scholarship 2011

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