My name is Stephanie and this year I'll be 30 years old. I've worked as an air traffic controller since I was 18 for the United States Air Force. However, this August I will be separating from the military because of poor leadership decisions and questionable international policies that I do not agree with.
When I was 22 I flew to Australia, the first country I visited outside the States. I was a mess - I didn't know what a visa was and had to apply for an expedited return of it a week prior to my flight, I packed two fully-loaded suitcases that were cumbersome and ridiculously heavy, and I fried my hair curler when I plugged it in not knowing what voltage I was using! To make matters worse, my (ex) boyfriend and I fought constantly and never spoke of the trip once we returned (the "Trip That Shall Not Be Named"). However, flying into Sydney International Airport and seeing the Sydney Opera House off the left wing as the aircraft descended really affected me (not to mention the beers I had gulped down to drown out the overly talkative man next to me). The Opera House was something I'd seen in photos, but never did it exist until I saw it with my own eyes. I was so amazed with the people, the beaches, the forests and the wildlife (do kangaroos make good pets?). Since then, I've traveled to over 40 countries and but I feel like I've yet to discover what the world offers.
I'm happy to say that I've traded in my curling iron for worn-in hiking boots, and my overloaded suitcases for a huge backpack. I've always been drawn to Africa and - much to the futile resistance of my family - I've decided to take a year off and travel throughout eastern Africa. I've met some of the most amazing, generous people that live simple lives without the latest iPhone, fastest BMW, or sharpest Sony TV. I've been given a night to stay in the home of a Moroccan family when my rented car broke down in the Sahara, surprise with a long-stemmed red rose by an Ecuadorian security guard when he noticed me admiring the coveted flower, and force-fed cookies by a very curious older lady in South Korea when I got very lost. There are so many happy, friendly, generous, warm people in this world and sights that are unbelievable beautiful, and I want to show people that what is portrayed in the media is unfair and biased. There is more to life outside the Western, developed world that doesn't involve rape, death, poverty, corruption, and saddness.
I will be starting a blog (first one ever!) called An Incomplete World on Tumblr to share my experiences with the world as I travel overland from Ethiopia to South Africa. Although I can live off less than $50 a day ("What this? An exclusive safari lodge for $600 a night? That's okay, I'll start setting up my one-person tent"), the airfare and visa prices are exorbitant. I'm asking for $2,500 to offset the cost of the flight from Houston, Texas to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and the costs of visas (about $500), and a few game parks. If not, I understand, but would still hope you could share the journey with me through the pictures and postings I'll make on the above mentioned blog.
Thank you so much in advance for your time and consideration. I am so very excited for this trip and cannot even imagine what adventure and lessons in humility and humanity lie ahead. I hope you have a wonderful week and I truly hope that we can share my experiences in Africa together!