I have always wanted to be a writer, more specifically a journalist. I have often wondered where this dream came from. Was it formed based on my love for watching documentaries? I used to watch BBC documentaries with mum and war documentaries with dad every chance I got. Or was it formed on my love for words, for conversation and the sound of voices. You see I was one of those babies that loved to be carried around and as soon as I was left alone I would cry and cry until I was picked up again. Mum would have to leave a TV on in my room so I would sleep and still to this day I have the best sleep when I drift off to the sound of the TV.
I don’t remember when I decided that I wanted to be a journalist only that it was when I was young and this dream has guided me through the years.
Although I have sometimes waivered from it, there has always been an event, person, or experience that has reaffirmed that passion. I have a strong desire to connect individuals through storytelling, to give voices to those that don’t have the means to speak and by doing so create change.
My dream had never been so clear until I went overseas in 2009 and met some amazing people. These individuals challenged my way of thinking and made me question my values but I also challenged and questioned theirs. One girl in particular comes to mind. She was 11 years old at the time, living in Sihanoukville, Cambodia. She like me, was curious, even bold, and wasn’t afraid to ask questions. She asked me if I would like to buy a mango, I said yes and from there we formed a quick friendship. I often replay one particular conversation we had. She was fascinated with my watch. She would touch it and wear it while she sat with me. On my last day with her she asked how much it cost. I guessed $100. She turned to me and said, ‘It is so beautiful. I will never have enough money to buy a watch. Even if I had money it would always go towards food. I know what a watch is, I can spell watch in English and I can tell the time but it is a useless skill if I don’t have a watch.’ What do you say to that?
I had so many questions that I couldn’t answer and it was then I knew what I wanted to do and had all along.
All I needed was a sign. In my case it was a mango. I am now working in social media at a large international NGO doing what I’ve always dreamed of. I’m still not sure how my dream was formed but I do know that my love for both documentaries and words definitely played a part.
Featured image by Rachel Kurzyp.