Welcome to A Wandering Sole
Just as in life, this blog has taken many shapes and forms over the past 3-1/2 years. What initially started solely as a travel blog has now grown to encompass my other passions in the development and children’s rights sector. While adventure and travel are still a large part of my life (and this blog), I hope to include other parts of my life to better represent myself as a person, a writer, and a wandering sole.
I currently reside in Portland where I run a social enterprise with my best friend. We work with artisans in Kenya & Rwanda to make beautiful accessories, mostly jewelry, and we focus on skills training and employment for artisans living in extreme poverty. You can read more about it on our website Amsha, and shop for a little something special if you’d like. Our goal is to empower women, and we do so by also hiring men (that requires a blog post explanation in the near future). We also work with artisans with disabilities.
In addition to my day job and Amsha (essentially my second day job that consumes all of my other free time), I cut in to my sleep time to combat child labor and abuse in Kenya. With two highly talented and incredible women, I founded an organization called Stahili. I never saw myself running an NGO, but when it came down to it, we felt we had no choice. Sometimes standing up for what is right, requires one to do far more than they thought they were capable of. That describes me in a nutshell. I have the following quote, by a Buddhist monk, on a sticky note on my computer. It’s a wonderful reminder to me of who I am, or rather, who I’m always striving to be…
“Waking up this morning, I smile. Twenty-four brand new hours are before me. I vow to live fully in each moment and to look at all beings with eyes of compassion.” ― Thich Nhat Hanh
I love chatting about travel, running, volunteering, Africa, social enterprise, economic development, 80s movies, and outdoor activities, among many other things (read: easily amused). I can always be reached at awanderingsole[at]gmail[dot]com. I’m not gonna lie- I’ve gotten into a bad habit of failing to respond immediately and letting emails get lost in the shuffle (between a business, a foundation, and a blog, I receive a lot of email!). If you don’t get a response, please drop me a message again. I promise I have every intention to respond, and I would love to hear from you!
Where it all began…
I am a twenty-something southern girl with a background in design. I’m a runner, a volunteer, an Africa enthusiast, and a bit of a free-spirit. I graduated from college in 2008, took a 10-week trip to Africa, and returned home to a crappy economy with $200 in my pocket. My sister and brother-in-law graciously let me move in with them, and shortly after, I found a job. And then I got antsy. So instead of waiting for the economy to turn around and for that dream job to appear from thin air, I took things into my own hands. I pulled out my travel guides and started planning. In December 2009, I took the plunge and bought a one-way plane ticket with no regrets. In March 2010, I set off on an around the world trip and returned home just days before Thanksgiving. I ran to the lowest point on Earth (the Dead Sea), tracked gorillas in Rwanda, climbed a volcano in DR Congo, went on a few safaris, got blessed by a monk, hit by a motorcycle, hitchhiked 500km., volunteered in Kenya, Malawi, and Thailand, danced the night away in Barcelona, snorkeled in Bali, and explored Petra…. just to name a few. Since then I have spent a summer working in a rural village in South Africa and most recently took a US cross-country road trip. Now I’m just taking life one day at a time and seeing what comes next.
This site is home to these adventures. I enjoy writing about travel, culture, design, and running. Through A Wandering Sole, you can read about places, people, and adventures, and experience these for yourself through photos. My ultimate goal is to reveal that underneath drastic cultural differences, there is a common bond among us all. I hope my travel tales will give you inspiration for your next itinerary or maybe just a laugh along the way.