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The following post was written by Global Gap Year Fellow, John Swinea.

The past three months of my life half flashed before my eyes. It feels like just yesterday I was sitting down to write my pre-departure blog, and now I am writing this, having just passed three months of living in Charleston. Since moving out I have learned to put myself out there in uncomfortable situations, explore on my own, and maintain a full life without any parental guidance. I have fallen in love with the city of Charleston and the people I have met there, however I am still yearning for more adventure, and I know this is just the start. One of the main goals of my gap year is to push the independence I have always had even further and take advantage of these opportunities to do so, and I feel as though I have really embraced my love for myself and doing things alone. Recently I have been taking crucial time to reflect on what the past three months have meant for me, and the ways in which I feel as though I have grown, or not grown, in areas that I wanted to.

   Moving to a city where almost all of the people my age go to the same school has been an obstacle I was not expecting. Without shared college experiences, it’s often been hard to find things to talk about with new people. However, this has given me the chance to become closer with only a couple of people, and put more effort into cultivating those friendships that I now know will last a lifetime. This has been really refreshing for me, to slow down and really appreciate the intricate perspective that each person I meet brings into my life during such a pivotal time. It has also given me the chance to really dedicate myself to my internship with The Borgen Project and my volunteering at the Charleston Animal Society, which I have really enjoyed and I am sad to see those two prominent parts of my new life coming to an end.

   I have confirmed my second placement, and I will be moving just outside of Hilo, Hawaii at the beginning of January. I am so excited for the opportunity to grow even further, and there is no better way to do that than to move as far away as possible, completely on my own. I hope to connect with myself and nature, learn about organic farming, and to take a step outside of reality in order to really figure out what my purpose is and who I want to be going back into my normal life and into college. I have been longing for an opportunity like this, and working on an organic farm in such a beautiful place is everything I could ask for. It is such an amazing feeling to be happy with my current life and self, but also looking forward to what is to come for me. I have never felt as free and limitless in my life, and I know that no matter what happens, I am grateful for how far I have already come and the opportunities that await me.

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