April 25, 2016
One year after the plates of the Earth shifted and unleashed a 7.8 magnitude earthquake that leveled much of Nepal. I have no idea what I was doing one year ago, today.. April 25, 2015. I had no personal ties to Nepal, knew only a handful of people who’d ever been there, and didn’t realy feel pulled to go there. I remember reading the news of the earthquake and feeling sorry for all of the lives lost and the families displaced from their homes, but I never would’ve guessed that in one years’ time I’d be speaking Nepali at a conversational level, living in a tent in the hills of Nepal, and walking thirty minutes through terraced hillsides everyday to work, where we are building a school. I listened to the signs of the universe and I followed my heart across the globe for what was originally supposed to be two months. More importantly, I listened to my heart when it told me to stay here.
I could’ve never in a million years imagined where my life would be right now, even though this is exactly what I wanted. I’m using my knowledge and talents to help people who need help. I’ve built with bamboo, stone, cob, steel, and compressed stabilized earth blocks that we made out of local soil, sand, and cement. I’ve built a water pump system and several gravity-fed systems to serve our volunteer camp and facilitate the production of the 16,000 blocks that we need to build our school. I’ve learned a new language and culture, I’ve experienced life without unnecessary comforts, I’ve learned a lot about myself, and most importantly I’ve learned how far I still have to go to be the man I want to be. I came to Nepal to help rebuild the lives of those who lost everything, and I’ve gained so much in the process- both from local Nepalis and from international volunteers from all walks of life.
A huge lesson I’ve learned is that trying too hard to plan in life takes away the flexibility that allows for these kinds of wonderfully unexpected adventures. It’s important to know where you’re trying to get, but it’s equally vital to be flexible along the way. The path you take may not be the one you imagined for yourself, but more often than not it gets you right where you should be. All it takes is a little faith. I took a huge leap of faith to leave a stable job that paid more money than I knew what to do with, to leave a life in a beautiful city with awesome friends, and to leave a loving relationship, but I would do it all over again, without hesitation.
My adventure has shown me that life truly is epic. If you don’t feel that your life is exceptional, mix it up. If you’ve been waiting for a sign that it’s time for a change, this is it. Go do something amazing. Make something beautiful before you are dead. Make your story worth telling. Get out there and show the world what you’ve got. I’m grateful for everything the universe has given me in the past year, and I’m so grateful for the exciting things that the future holds.