This past summer, I spent a month in Nepal with a group of students, through a program run by Where There Be Dragons. Though I've found many opportunities to wax poetic about the trip, suffice it to say that It was an experience I sincerely hope to relive many times over.
Some time after my return home, I was asked by WTBD to answer a few prompts, so as to share my experience for the sake of students who were considering similar journeys. They wanted to create a collective of "Alumni Ambassadors" - people who represented the many students that had traveled the globe with them. Consequently, I sent them some responses, which I am happy to say you can now read on their website.
My favorite answer is to a prompt that asks why I seek the unknown:
to become a better, smarter, and more empathetic individual through learning and experience. To immerse oneself in a completely unknown culture and language is to rediscover the magic and wonder of the mundane, in much the same way that a child can be fascinated as he or she learns about the world they occupy for the very first time. I absolutely relish such an experience of discovery and humility.
If there is anything I can say to anyone even remotely considering this sort of thing, let it be this: It isn't for everyone, the preparation is challenging, and your comfort zone will almost certainly be challenged. But if you still have even a glimmer of interest, after understanding what it is you've signed up for, I promise you won't regret it.