Welcome to A Wandering Sole
Just as in life, this blog has taken many shapes and forms over the last five years. What initially started solely as a travel blog has now grown to encompass my other passions in the development and entrepreneurship sectors, as well as my love for refugees. 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 Amsha, an accessories and home goods brand produced in East Africa. 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 and affected by disabilities. You can read more about it on our website, and shop for a little something special if you’d like.
In addition to running my business, I work as a job coach for newly arrived refugees in my city. I work with clients from all over the world, and use my limited knowledge of Swahili to serve Congolese clients. However, I also serve clients from the Middle East, Asia, other countries in Africa, Central America, and Cuba.
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 traveling, running, volunteering, Africa, social enterprise, economic development, refugees, 80s movies, hiking and other outdoor activities, among many other things. I can always be reached at awanderingsole[at]gmail[dot]com. I’m a bit slow to respond to blog emails, but I promise I have every intention to respond, and I would love to hear from you! You might also have better luck by sending me a tweet. Find me on Twitter at @awanderingsole.
And now, my former self (ie what my blog was about a few years ago):
I ama 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 and 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.