As most of you know by now, I have been selected to intern this summer in South Africa for an environmental journalism and travel writing program. I have always wanted to study abroad but never had the means to do it. And by means I mean MONEY. The little piece of paper that rules my life. But this time I looked at that little piece of paper in the eyes and said ENOUGH, you are not going to ruin my dreams this time. So I set out on this rigorous journey of funding this trip.
Unlike most kids, it was not an option (and has never been) to ask my parents for money for this trip. My Mom is a single mom of 3 kids; that doesn’t leave much spending money as it is. So I have worked since I was 15 in order to stand on my own two feet. I am getting myself through college. I have purchased all of my own travel/journalism equipment including my DSLR, Macbook, GoPro, tripod; you name it, I bought it. And there is nothing wrong with that; you appreciate life so much more when you have to work for every single penny of it! But it also makes you bust your butt more and that can be extremely discouraging sometimes. This trip was different and I knew I couldn’t do it on my own by just working double time, which led to the decision of making a GoFundMe account. After being I-N-D-E-P-E-N-D-E-N-T for so long, you forget how to ask for help and it can be painful asking for help. But I was not going to let money stop me this time.
I began sending personal messages to mentors, family members, past internships, and friends. Some people answered, others looked at my emails or messages and ignored them. I would have at least appreciated a response! This is what frustrated me the most. The people you thought you could count on, the ones rolling in money, couldn’t spare $5. Then, I was uplifted by all the angels that came in disguise. People that I haven’t seen in years donated, maybe because they remember my zest or maybe because they just believe in me. It was like an overwhelming wave of support!
I want to thank everyone that donated. Everyone that prayed for me. Everyone that spread the word about my fund. And everyone that supports my dreams everyday without a doubt. If there is anything that I have learned from this process, its the following:
Your dreams are nothing but crazy plans without people to support them and remind you that you aren’t crazy!
I am still a bit short of money so you can still donate at my GoFundMe account even if it is at 100%. I will also be hosting a garage sale at my Mom’s house to raise more money. Thank you for your continuous support.