Friday, July 20, 2012


Standing at the border control counter in Nicaragua a few weeks ago, I was much more concerned with the fact that my back hurt from carrying my heavy backpack than anything else. My alarm had gone off at 5am that morning and as I stood in line waiting to get my passport stamped, I was looking forward to the bus ride to our hotel so I could sit, relax and maybe take a nap.

When the agent motioned to me, I stepped forward and handed him my entrance fee and passport. He flipped to the ID page, smiled and said with a heavy Spanish accent,
"Your name is Hillary Clinton!"
That's when it hit me that I was there, in a foreign country, and I completely embodied the stereotypical ignorant American. The gentleman who stamped my passport undoubtedly knew more about the US government than I did about Nicaraguan politics. At the time I only vaguely knew about the upcoming election in the Latin American country; I most definitely could not name cabinet members or even the president with the same certainty.

Our five day trip was absolutely incredible but one of the most important things I walked away with was the awareness of just how ignorant I am about the big, vast world. I've been lucky enough to travel to some amazing places; I've hiked Machu Picchu in Peru, seen the Mona Lisa in Paris and sailed through the British Virgin Isalnds. Just because I consider myself well traveled, however, does not mean I'm particularly well educated in all worldly affairs. And that's why I bought a stack of these.

Perhaps I'm being too hard on myself. I'm also lucky to have attended a slew of fantastic schools in my lifetime but my experience at the Managua airport really made me realize how big the world is in comparison to my little bubble at Georgetown. I've started reading up on the history, government and culture of Denmark and I'm thrilled at what I've been learning. The country is super sustainable (awesome), they have a constitutional monarchy (I may or not may find my prince) and they place a high value on punctuality (I have found my people!). No travel book will be able to compare to living in a foreign city for four months, but I'll be damned if I show up without a few hundred pages of reading under my belt. Let the exploring begin!

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