The Urge for Going

So much of what I write here is about where I want to go instead of where I have gone. While I can’t travel all the time due to a number of circumstances (money, vacation time, people willing to join me, etc.), I try to travel as often as possible. Something I’ve learned is that one of the best parts of travel is the anticipation leading up to it.

As I sit here over what I still call “winter break,” I’m scrolling through Facebook updates and Twitter statuses of what seems to be everyone I know announcing their winter travel plans. Costa Rica, Florida, Europe, Hawaii. I haven’t even boarded a plane since August. This may be the longest stretch I’ve gone without heading anywhere new or exciting, and it’s sort of eating away at me.

Last month, two of my travel stories were published on – one about Morocco and one about Portugal. Reliving those stories just makes me want to get away even more. So while no travel plans have been finalized for 2012, let’s get excited about one trip that MIGHT happen. Because even if I never end up going to any of these places, it never hurts to dream a little.

Before I go into the details of my next trip, let me share some stats I learned from a supermodel. A woman dies every 90 seconds from pregnancy complications. 90% of these deaths are preventable. So many women around the world simply don’t have the access to healthcare, education and contraceptives. And one more shocking stat – pregnancy complications is the number one cause of death for all women worldwide between the ages of 15-19.

My sister Lisa, a medical student hoping to specialize in women’s health, is on the board of IPPF (International Planned Parenthood Foundation), an organization that helps with maternal and women’s health in developing countries. They’re planning a trip to a maternal health clinic in Mexico this March, and Lisa and I hope to join them. We’ll be teaching them about prenatal care and women’s health, delivering medical supplies – and most likely learning a lot from them.

Yes, this trip is not all about helping the women – it’s about my need to travel and see what’s going on in the world – even if what’s going on over there might be a little tough to see. But why not try to make a little bit of a difference in the world while fulfilling your own dreams? After all, one of the best parts of charity is the reward of how good you feel after doing a little bit to help others.

So for my last post of 2011, let’s remember that while trying so hard to live out our own dreams, with a little bit of extra effort, we can help others who are less fortunate. Here are some links in case you’ve been inspired to help with maternal mortality – by donating to IPPF, Every Mother Counts, or CARE.

Happy New Year!