A human doing

New York Travel Blog

 › entry 1 of 29 › view all entries
My folks, the best support a girl could ask for

Dear friends,

 

As many of you know, the past couple of years have been a period of change for me.  I ended a long relationship, attended a professional training program at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, sold my apartment, quit my job, traveled and attempted to learn a little Spanish, roamed around Italy with a friend, and sublet an apartment in Boston to check it out as a place to live.  I’m no longer just a human being; I’m also a human doing, and it’s exhilarating.  But it has all led to… I don’t know what. 

 

Ten years ago when I pictured my life at 37, this wasn’t it.

Me and my cousin Andrea
  Please don’t misunderstand me: My life is good, and I’m blessed with loving family and friends, good health, and I want for nothing materially.  I didn’t necessarily picture a house in the ‘burbs with 2.5 kids (not that there’s anything wrong with that), but there was definitely a husband in there and a career I was passionate about.  That’s just not the path my life has taken (yet!).  So why not take advantage of having complete freedom to make my own choices?  I don’t want to look back at the end of my life and have regrets over things I wish I’d done.  I’ve been wanting to travel for a while; I like how it shakes things up, gives me a new perspective.  I finally get the genius of those Nike ads: Just do it.  So, I took the plunge and signed up for volunteer work.

 

Last October I got the phone call from the American Jewish World Service: My volunteer assignment would be in India.

My niece Eva
  Yup, felt right, right away.  But then I talked to a woman who was a volunteer in a city not far from the one where my assignment is, and the living situation she described was decidedly not good -- no hot water, a one-mile walk to work on unpaved, dusty roads, eating nuts for dinner every night.  I was freaked out.  I was bemoaning my fate to my cousin Andrea, whom I love dearly.  Her reply was the gentle but firm kick in the butt I needed.  In essence she said, You have to remember why you’re doing this.  If you want to be a tourist, go be a tourist.  That’s not what this is about.  This is about challenging yourself, stretching, growing.  You can do anything for three months, even if it means putting a red x on a calendar at the end of each day.  And if it’s really that horrible, you can come home.  It was exactly what I needed to hear.
And my niece Maya
  I let go a little, and found myself excited again about this adventure.  I know it won’t be easy while I’m in the everyday of it, but I know from experience that I’ll be able to look back later and see all I’ve gained.  That, and the mantra “This too shall pass” will come in handy. 

 

This blog is dedicated to Andrea, and to all my family and friends who have been so supportive throughout this process.  Parents who welcomed me into their small NYC apartment after I sold mine?  Check.  A crazy NYC real estate market that enabled me to take a break from having a “real” job for a while?  Check.  Friends who have cheered me on, even taking on some of what should have been my anxiety?  (You know who you are!)  Check.  I’m blessed to be able to take this trip, this journey, wherever it leads.  So… it’s off to India!

Aopaq says:
Wow....you are definitely a "human doing" (I love that phrase!). After reading your medicine man entry, I knew I had to start at the beginning. I look forward to checking out the rest of your blog.
Posted on: May 02, 2008
debrasiegel says:
Life's pretty good here, thanks! Yeah this site seems to be popular with people going to India, versus people _from_ India. I've recently become quite close to an Indian woman who works in my office, which has been fantastic. I now go to her ashram every morning to do yoga. So cool! Enjoy your travels to the US! I hope you write a blog about it!
Posted on: Apr 01, 2008
debrasiegel says:
Thanks, Pinchora! It took me a long time to be ready to quit my job. I'm finally at a point where I trust myself and my competence enough to know I'll always land on my feet. When you're ready... go for it!
Posted on: Mar 13, 2008
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
My folks, the best support a girl …
My folks, the best support a girl…
Me and my cousin Andrea
Me and my cousin Andrea
My niece Eva
My niece Eva
And my niece Maya
And my niece Maya
New York
photo by: herman_munster