At the age of 12 I had a plan for my life. Seriously, I even typed it up and printed it out with the title written in Bold, My Future Life. I won’t give all the details, as it’s embarrassing enough that I would take the time to print it out, but it went something like this:
At the age of 18 I move down to southern California for University, graduate with both a degree and a boyfriend, and go on to work and live in Africa, adopting kids and such with my man.
Two out of the four have played out nicely. I did move to southern California for University, and five years after graduating moved to Africa. One thing I didn’t expect, however, was to be flying solo abroad, yet here I am again, in Africa, requesting a table for one. Eleanor Roosevelt is quoted as saying “Women are like tea bags. You never know how strong they are until they’re in hot water.” Without a doubt, I know that as a single women traveling, I have been placed in hot water far more often than if my travels were accompanied by a man. I admit that it has not always been easy. I have those hours, or even days, that I long for that companion in this adventure. Yet, I can confidently say that I wouldn’t trade a single one of these experiences I’ve had on my own for another with a partner. Who I am today has been shaped by going solo.
I have a new plan in life. It includes starting a project for teen girls around the world, to unite us so that we can inspire and empower one another to be courageous and pursue our individual dreams, whether a man is present or not. When fear is out of the equation, we are truly free to pursue the good things prepared beforehand for us by the one above. All that hot water I’ve waded through has revealed to me my inner strength and given me the confidence to jump head first into what I believe will be both the greatest and most rewarding challenge yet.