paying a little respect

you can find me at: @K_AnnM | Insta | LinkedIn

In the summer of 2010, I made my way to DC for the first time. I landed an internship through an internship program. As a joke, the internship program was always referred to as “The Program”, which is how people still refer to it. I’ve realized that through it all, I don’t know if I would be in DC now without participating in this internship opportunity in 2010. So here’s a little shout out to The Program and everyone who made it possible. One year later in 2011, I wrote an email to the CEO. This is what I had to say, and I couldn’t have said it better myself a second time around.

It’s been one week, six days, 9 hours and some odd minutes since I finally had the opportunity to meet you and hear your story in DC on June 8th. As I sit in front of my computer, I realize a lot has changed. I cannot seem to articulate my thoughts into the right words to express my sincere thanks, but nevertheless, I will try. The cursor is continually blinking in a rapid motion to my John Butler Trio Pandora station while the thoughts in my mind are bouncing off the walls, much like an intense game of squash. These thoughts of my dreams, the future, goals and the past are rampant.

It is most cliché to say: thank you, but there are no other words I can say to truly express my appreciation and gratitude. Eric, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Last summer, I had the opportunity to participate in The Program in D.C. This program sincerely changed me as a person. Daily, I was being asked to step out of my comfort zone and to push past my boundaries.

Generally, I would have hesitated, but since last summer, I no longer say no. I take each opportunity that presents itself, because who knows what will come of it; love it or hate it the chance was taken. Think. The worst thing that will happen is I hate whatever I did and I know not to do it again, but the best thing is you will have one hell of a story and experience afterwards.

Meeting you nearly 8 months after I completed the program put even more perspective into my life as a dreamer. I genuinely, know nothing is impossible and no dream is ever too big. Last year, I heard parts of your story, but it never impacted me as much as it did on the 8th.

Enrolling into The Program was one of the biggest chances and leaps of faith that I took. It was incredible. I never wanted last summer to end. The Program gave me both confidence and reassurance. The Program made me realize it was okay to let the huge walls I erected come down. I know there are times I find myself frightened enough to rebuild these walls, though the kindness and gentleness you’ve shown though last summer and your dreams have helped me to resist the urge to wall myself off from humanity. When I left in August, I was terrified and sad because I thought the reinvention of myself might slide back into my old self, but fear, not it only became more noticeable. My friends, parents and even professors commented on the way I was carrying myself, talking and articulating my choices.

I believe many people come into our lives for a reason.  We start certain things for a reason. Those reasons are not apparent when we start or when we meet that person, but there are often other reasons that become apparent at a later time. Each day I am learning this to be true.

Coming back to DC this summer I had high expectations. I made a list of things I wanted to accomplish – a Summer Bucket List- if you will, and each week at least one thing has been checked off. Without last summer, I would not be the reinvented person that I am today.

exploration & discovery

amount of a full life

you can find me at: @K_AnnM | Insta | LinkedIn

Matt asked me to write a guest blog about traveling. I couldn’t be happier to do so, because traveling is thrilling. The chance to travel, I will always jump at. I carry my passport and have the essentials on me at all times. If an opportunity rises where I could leave the country this moment, or get in a car and go—I would do it. I don’t want anything holding me back. If an adventure is involved, count me in.

With a huge international trip on my horizon and at my fingertips—this is a huge challenge for me to write about. The cursor is blinking at me, taunting me because nothing can keep me sane much longer. I need to get on that plane and I need to go. My production levels are plummeting, and I am sure that is evident to everyone, I digress.

Traveling, it’s one of the most thrilling things we have the opportunity to do as humans. Exploring and going on adventures are an incredible part of our lives. Traveling is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.  Traveling makes you challenge yourself, and it pushes you to your limits. It gets you out of your comfort zone, and gives you perspective. Whether you are traveling for education, long lasting relationships, to see the sites, learn a language and/or taste food you’ve never dreamed of, you will have a new experience along the way.

The travel bug has always been with me. Ever since I was a kid I loved exploration and adventure, I would stay out late, read books and ask millions of questions. I was thirsty. Nothing seemed to help quench my thirst. I wanted more. I knew the only thing that could truly quench my thirst was discovery. I needed to discover things; it didn’t matter if it was a new cuisine, new people, architecture, or stories.

I love being submersed in a new culture. Being in a new place is totally different than seeing it in pictures, or learning about it. Just like you can read about ­­­___(fill in the blank here)__, or talk to people about it—it is far from the same as the experience. Once you experience it, it has a personal meaning and it changes you. It changes who you are. When you are hiking on The Great Smoky Mountains, dipping your toes in the Adriatic Sea, or standing in the Sistine Chapel, you are filled with wonder. You are filled with awe. The moment is absolutely captivating and it’s unexplainable. The moment gives you perspective on your place in the world. Sure, you feel infinitesimally small, yet at the very same time, you are an irreplaceable part of something so much greater than your ego (which is hard for me to grasp).

My friends, traveling isn’t always fun or easy, but it’s worth it. We spend 12 hours lost in the Louvre, countless dives at the Great Barrier Reef, and the view from the top of the Empire State Building is breathtaking—these are the moments that lost luggage, an overbooked hostel, a lost car reservation and a delayed flight are totally worth it. We travel because we need to, because the distance and difference are the secret tonic of creativity. When we get home, home is still the same (and it always will be). But something in our mind has been changed, and that changes everything.

I leave you with this, go at least once a year to a place you have never been before.