"In the midst of our lives, we must find the magic that makes our souls soar." - Anonymous
I stumbled across this quote several days ago as I rifled through a large section of journals at Barnes & Noble. After looking at over 30 journals (typical America), I found myself smiling as I placed this one in my hands. However cheesy, isn't this the principle of life? Essentially, we spend our days seeking out our place and purpose in the world, the missing piece of the puzzle. And when we come across it, that moment when we can without a doubt say, "This is what I'm supposed to be doing," you feel like you're on top of the world. This moment may be reaching the finish line of your 400m race, hearing your camera shutter close and knowing you've just captured beauty, painting the last stroke onto your very own masterpiece, reaching the top of a mountain on your week-long hike, or maybe it's handing a four-year-old their favorite balloon animal (clowns have hearts, too!). Perhaps you know what this moment is, or maybe you're still looking. For me, this moment takes place every time I step on a plane.
Just hearing the word "travel" gives me butterflies. For me, my magic is sitting next to a stranger on a plane and talking about our destinations, breathing in the air of a foreign country for the first time, walking through a market place and hearing a plethora of languages, none of which are my own, biting in to my new favorite Italian pasta dish, and forming a friendship with the man from India looking at the same postcard rack as me. For me, traveling makes my soul soar.
Speaking of me, I forgot to introduce myself! I'm Juliana Zajicek, a 17-year-old living in Coeur d' Alene, Idaho. I spend my days shopping at thrift stores, rock climbing, reading and simply enjoying whatever life throws at me (not literally -- I've never been a big baseball fan). The highlight of my year is my summer, as I jet set across the globe with People to People Student Ambassadors. Three years ago, I got involved with this astounding program, and I have been traveling ever since. During my first two trips, I found myself in England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Greece, Italy and France. With "P2P," you become more than a tourist, taking on the role of an ambassador representing the United States. They provide a unique way to travel and experience different cultures across the globe, with one of their primary goals being to promote cross-cultural connections.
This summer, I will once again be packing my bags, and leaving on a jet plane. For (drum role, please)... Japan! However, this trip has a very special purpose. As I'm sure most of you know, 2011 brought a difficult year for Japan, bringing more natural disasters than I think anyone has seen at one time. My P2P delegation and I plan to play an important part in helping rebuild and restore the damage left a little over a year ago, impacting the lives of those we come in contact with.
In less than a week, I will be able to blend my passion for making a difference and the magic of traveling.
Come alongside me as my soul soars through Japan.