About this blog
This blog is our way of sharing our experience on this latest journey as Peace Corps Volunteers in the Philippines.* Instead of a chronological log of the journey, we will share stories, thoughts, and questions we are working through as we expand our understanding of the world we live in. Just like us, this blog is a work in progress. It will be honest, and we believe, an accurate reflection on what we learn and how we grow during service. Thank you for coming on this journey with us.
We met on a backpacking trip in Costa Rica in 2002. We would stay up late drawing and talking about our travel dreams. We spent hours reading through my book Backdoor Guide to Short Term Job Adventures trying to figure out ways to sustain the travel life. Rok flipped to a page and asked me if I’d ever heard of the Peace Corps. I had always wanted to join but wasn’t ready to make that kind of commitment at that time of my life. After a month of traveling together we parted ways but kept in touch. He went on to join AmeriCorps and I went to Guinea to study drum and dance. He got a job as an adventure guide and outdoor educator taking people rock climbing and caving and kayaking in Northern Virginia. He inspired people to love the outdoors and lead by example. I got restaurant jobs and did theatre in the evenings, saving up money for my next trip. I would travel until the money was gone and come home and do it all over again. He joined the Peace Corps and moved to Moldova. I moved to Chicago to be an actor.
When Rok returned from his first Peace Corps Service in 2008 we decided to start dating. Shortly after we moved in together we started referring to ourselves as the adventurists. At first we called ourselves the 7th Day Adventurists, and our only rule was to have at least one adventure every seven days. We define adventure as an experience that puts you out of your comfort zone and allows you to grow. It can be as simple as striking up a conversation with a stranger and allowing yourself to be vulnerable. It can be as (physically and mentally) challenging as dropping over a nine foot waterfall in a kayak and trusting yourself to make your roll even if you don’t get it the first time. We learned early on that it isn’t about what challenge we choose but that we choose to challenge ourselves. It is so easy to give into fear and stay comfortable, but our biggest fear was getting stuck in comfortable and missing out on life. We are consciously choosing to believe that hope is stronger than fear. We will feed our hopes as we discover the wild possibilities of how to live in this world. We choose the adventure.
Born in the highlands of the Appalachian Mountains in the late 70’s, I grew up reading of heroes, quests and journeys. I traveled with my family when I was young and learned to love the journey more than the destination. When I was an outdoor guide, we would spend weeks walking a distance that we would then drive in a few hours. The juxtaposition of this effort and the driving reasons behind it always brought more questions than answers. When I graduated college, I decided that I needed to go on a long 10 year journey— as many of my heroes had done, so I set out into the unknown with only two rules 1) Choose the option that is challenging and 2) When what was challenging becomes comfortable— it is time to change.
This lead to journeys through Costa Rica, AmeriCorps service around the West in America, living in a tent, living on lots of people’s couches, Peace Corps service in Moldova and many, many long conversations far into the night with strangers and people who would become my lifelong friends. In those 10 years I learned it is not where you are going or where you are but rather who you are with that matters— cause all we’ve got in this lifetime is each other.
In 1986 my parents packed up their young daughter, infant son, 5 cats, 2 dogs, 1 parakeet and all the belongings they could fit into a 1955 Chevy school bus converted into a house on wheels and began our move from northern California to Michigan. We spent the summer traveling from the redwoods through mountains, deserts, and plains to the pines. I was young enough to believe in magic and old enough to remember the journey. It shaped who I would become. I learned early on to take the long way home, to explore the unknown and that experiences are more valuable than things. My first taste of international travel came during my last year of college when I circumnavigated the globe by ship with the Semester at Sea program. The more comfortable I became traveling the more aware I became that the draw for me wasn’t about postcard views or famous attractions. It was about the unexpected conversations I have with strangers that became profoundly meaningful and allow us to leave as friends. I began to crave longer term travel and a chance to live somewhere new and really experience what life was like there. I still believe in magic and I find it in sunrises, spontaneous adventures, and conversations with friends I meet along the way.
Why Peace Corps?
In August of 2017 we quit our jobs, packed all of our belongings into a storage unit and walked away from security of the comfortable life we had made for ourselves in search of stories of hope being more powerful than fear. We zig zagged across the United States in an epic farewell road trip to say goodbye to our friends and family and decided to start our international adventure in Costa Rica, the place where our story began. We found meaning in the small moments and friendships that transcended language barriers. Every time I would exclaim “I love this!” Rok would answer “this is so Peace Corps!” We navigated away from the expat hotspots and found volunteer work in small towns. We painted murals and started making connections and eventually realized we wanted to be able to contribute more to the communities we were living in. We decided to apply for the Peace Corps. After 4 months of living the Pura Vida life we got accepted to serve in Peace Corps Philippines Batch 277. We officially swore in as Peace Corps Volunteers on September 12, 2018.
We are passionate about the mission of Peace Corps—To promote world peace and friendship by fulfilling three goals:
- To help the people of interested countries in meeting their need for trained men and women.
- To help promote a better understanding of Americans on the part of the people served.
- To help a better understanding of other peoples on the part of Americans.
We wanted to go somewhere that wanted us, not to just show up somewhere and start “americansplaining” how to do things. We don’t want to push our ideas or be affiliated with any religious organizations. We don’t expect anything in return for our service—no strings attached. We want to partner with and support members of the community to fulfill the needs they have determined for themselves. We want to learn. And we want to share our experiences with our friends and family.
The content of this web site is ours personally and does not reflect any position of the US Government, the Peace Corps, or the Philippines Government.