The funny thing about CR is the whole time you’re looking for this moment. This life changing, earth shattering, revelation. The whole time you’re on this journey chasing this thing but you don’t know what the thing is. All you know is that someone has it and you want it and everyone is in it with you chasing this life change that happens to the familia. And when you figure it out, its like looking through the key hole in Rome and seeing that what you have been looking for has always been there. We walked past that dome in the key hole every day but never realized it was important until we saw it from far away.
For me, the growth that happened on Cultural Routes was not in one big moment but in all the little moments that I thought were insignificant. It was in having people see in me what was always there but I couldn’t see in myself. It was in being pushed to my limits and going farther, realizing that my limitations were often self imposed and arbitrary and with the sixteen, I could become more. It was in discovering a love for learning that I never knew I had through experiencing history by walking in its space. It was in internalizing the choices that others throughout history had made with their lives, leaving me with a commitment to a life of passion, courage, and leadership, not one wasted on passivity (the subject of my Pecha Kucha). In my blog posts about Berlin, I explored the dark history of Germany and how that applied to my desire to live a life of faith. In my post about Interlaken, I wrote about how jumping out of a plane was freeing for me because it was a personal, active, choice. In my blog about Cinque Terre, I wrote about the beautiful history that is still alive in that town because of the way the community has actively preserved the environment and lived community focused lives, not lives of acquiring more things.
Exploring these cities and cultures alongside seventeen of the most passionate, intellectual, encouraging, and inspiring people has been the highlight of my college experience to date. This trip was just the starting point for the type of leader I want to become, and it gave me confidence and inspiration to grow into a person marked by action and courage. The memories I have from this experience are irreplaceable, and even the moments I thought were insignificant became invaluable to my personal growth. The opportunity to celebrate with my whole heart each incredible member of this group for what makes them who they are and to be celebrated in turn as a lover of life, of spontaneity, and of people was one of the greatest gifts I could have received. This gift is of course next to the gift of being challenged to become better, to think deeper, to take action with my life. Like the keyhole, the farther away I am, the more I can see what an incredible gift this experience was, and I truly could not be more grateful. The gift is all yours now, CR 10.