Sunday, June 10, 2012

40


Before I first studied abroad in 2003, I had only left the country once for a trip to Mexico.  My experience on my study abroad trip changed a lot for me - it opened my eyes and heart to a little fraction of what is out there in the world, and since then, I have been so fortunate to have door after door opened in front of me, offering opportunities to study, work, serve and travel to places I never could have even shown you on a map just a few years ago.

When I first started to really travel, I remember I would meet people who had been to 20+ countries, and I was amaaaaaazed.  I couldn't imagine what it would be like to have seen so many different places, cultures, languages, ways of believing, etc.  I never dreamed I would have the opportunity to see and experience so much.  

A long time ago, I decided I wanted to try to see a quarter of all of the countries in the world.  That would be roughly 50.  But then I thought that was just unrealistic.  So I decided to shoot for 40.  I still thought that was waaaaay high, but I thought it was a big life bucket list type of goal.

Flying over Laos
Yesterday I walked off the plane into Laos, and got the 40th country's stamp in my passport.  It marks meeting a number that I had set as what I thought was an unrealistic life- long goal.  

I will be here in Laos until Friday, and my heart will be brimming with gratitude and awe for the duration.  Not because of an arbitrary number, but because of what that represents: I am humbled to know that even the most unrealistic sounding dreams are not only possible, but that there may be much bigger things ahead than what I have the capacity to even hope for or dream.

Here's the list: Countries I’ve Visited
            1. United States - 1983 - 2012
            2. Mexico - 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2010
            3. England - 2003, 2008
            4. France - 2003, 2007
            5. Argentina - 2003, 2011
            6. Uruguay - 2003
            7. Spain - 2003
            8. Portugal - 2003
            9. Morocco - 2003
            10.  Honduras - 2006
            11. Belize - 2006
            12. Nicaragua - 2006
            13. El Salvador - 2006, 2012
            14. India - 2007, 2011
            15. Ghana - 2007
            16. Cote d’Ivoire - 2007
            17. South Africa -2008, 2010
            18. Namibia -2008
            19. Zambia -2008
            20. Zimbabwe -2008
            21. Botswana -2008
            22. Uganda -2008
            23. Rwanda -2008
            24. Democratic Republic of Congo -2008
            25. Malawi -2008
            26. Lesotho -2008
            27. Kenya -2008, 2009
            28. Tanzania -2008
            29.  Israel - 2009
            30. Occupied Palestinian Territories – West Bank- 2009
            31. Jordan- 2009
            32. Egypt- 2009
            33. Vietnam - 2010, 2011, 2012
            34. Dominican Republic- 2010
            35. Paraguay- 2010, 2011, 2012
            36. Cambodia - 2011, 2012
            37. Canada- 2011
            38. Ireland- 2011
            39. Ecuador - 2011
            40. Laos - 2012

4 comments:

Katie Norwood said...

I have no words! What an inspiration you are. I truly hope you're working on your book. Your story should be required reading for every kid at YES.

Sophia said...

Congrats, Haley! I'm approaching 30 myself.

Lincoln & Anjane' said...

This post made my heart happy! What an amazing accomplishment. SO excited for you!!!
Anjane'

Rachael said...

Congratulations!!!