OUT OF AFRICA
There's a feeling you get. It starts with the anticipation of any trip, simmering until you arrive at your destination when it becomes a roaring boil deep in yourself. For us, we get the same feeling, whether its a weekend away, a business meeting in another city or a two-week holiday abroad. Our unabated curiosity and yearning to learn propels us as we explore a destination, discover something new, or meet people who are different from us.
Recently, we were asked to join WE.org in Kenya, and we were at a full boil of excitement weeks before we landed in Nairobi. We knew the trip would be exceptional, but we didn't know how much it would change us or how much we needed a change.
We both have dream jobs, living in the city that never sleeps surrounded by wonderful friends and most importantly, each other. Some might say we have it all, whatever that means. But before our trip this past summer, we were both feeling tired, drained, spent. Between the stresses of work and navigating always-on New York, we were exhausted. We were also at a crossroads in our careers, with Trey's company being acquired and Martin's need to find other paths for growth. Not to mention, we were facing some big questions, such as when to get married or should we purchase our first home.
So, when asked to join WE, an organization that Martin's agency had been supporting for the past few years, we immediately said yes! Not only would it allow us both to visit a new continent and take a much needed break, but also we would be able to go deep in the community to better understand the way of life and needs of the people of the Maasai Mara villages.
Landing in the Mara was like a scene from the Lion King. As the zebras and gazelles ran off the dirt runway of the local airstrip, we couldn't believe where we'd just landed. The 45-min lorry ride to our camp was like being on safari. We were amazed at the animals we could see just driving down that bumpy dirt road! And the people were so friendly, waving with big grins and shouting "Jambo!" as we passed. We were so fascinated by this new world that we didn't notice we wouldn't have cell reception or wifi for the next five days... talk about being disconnected. This was it.
Our mission in the Mara was to help build an all-boys school as the village leaders and WE organization had recently noticed that the girls were leapfrogging the boys in education. But while we worked on the school, we were also able to tour the village medical facility, visit with a Mama and help her collect water from the Mara River, play sports with the students at the all-girls school, and take in the panoramic landscape of the Great Rift Valley. It was so breathtaking and unbelievably clean that we had to keep reminding ourselves of the overwhelming needs of the people there.
As we reflected on our activities and time in the Mara, it only fueled our desire to travel the world and gain a deeper understanding of life all around us. This big trip is certainly personal as we seek to better know ourselves and mankind, but it's also an opportunity to better understand the journey of what so often brings people together and gives us life, everyday. As we make our way through the South Pacific, Southeast Asia, Japan, India, Nepal and parts of Europe, we plan to volunteer on and visit local farms, kitchens and culinary purveyors, examining the community, culture and culinary techniques that surround food in any destination. From expert cultivators, who will teach us sustainable agriculture and local farming practices, to the unique ceremonies and exceptional cuisine of any destination, we hope to share our findings with you here on JRNY.life.
Like our African adventure this past summer, we know this yearlong journey will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience, but we cannot yet say how it's going to change us or set our paths in new directions. All we know is that we've caught that feeling, and it's already boiling.
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Trey & Martin