Motivation. What motivates people to make the decisions they do? Everyone has a motivation. People don’t do things just to do them. There is always an underlying reason whether it be conscious or subconscious. I have delayed this post because I could not articulate what mine are. Why have I chosen to stray from the path? Why have I chosen to give up everything familiar, and comfortable to live in Ecuador? Ecuador a country that dose not speak my native language, and nearly everything about day to day life is different?

I think it begins when I got my learners permit. 15 and a half years old. A child. At the time all I had on my mind was the freedom I would get when I received my drivers licenses. They allure of being able to go anywhere I wanted and do next to anything I wanted, without having to rely on my parents. I was willing to do just about anything for that, but what I wasn’t aware of at the time was the sacrifices I would have to make to attain that freedom. I would have to get a job. That was the deal. To get a car and my license, I would have to work. I would have to pay for my car insurance, and gas, and with the cost of gas I would have to work a lot.

So for this freedom I would sacrifice countless weeknights, and weekends, two Thanksgivings, a Christmas Eve, and my 18th birthday. You might think this is a bit counterproductive, but I fell into a way of life, as many people do, that is really hard to escape once your committed. Sleepwalking. I was sleepwalking through my life. Money was my motivation to get up at 6am every Sunday for two years and work the morning shift at Perkins, and also why I put up with a ruthless boss at the age of 17. I wasted so much time on things that were so irrelevant that I cannot even remember them to put them in this blog post as an example.

Thankfully I came to my senses. I think the things that woke me up were the women and men twice my age that were working with me. No offense to them, but I do not want to be in my thirties waiting tables, and I do not want to lead a life where I do not contribute anything to the world. There is a quote by Henry David Thoreau “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with their songs still in them.” I refuse to be most men, and I refuse to lead a meaningless life. I knew that their was more, and I am committed to finding out what that more is. That is ultimately why I made the decision to participate in Global Citizen Year.

So now I find myself here in Chambo, Ecuador sitting on my farm writing to my friends and family. I’m writing to give thanks for all the people and places that have lead me to this conclusion of my motivations. Thank you mom for never questioning my decision to participate in Global Citizen Year. Thanks Dad and Amy for ultimately supporting my decision to come to Ecuador. Thanks to all my friends and family back home for the unconditional love that I have received. Thanks to my host family who has shown me what it means to be Ecuadorian. My biggest thanks is owed to Global Citizen Year, and Abby Falik. This program has fostered an environment for me to deeply grow as a person, and as a global citizen. I thoroughly believe that I would still be sleepwalking through my life had it not been for these factors.