Today, I leave for Africa. I've never been there before, and honestly, this is the most nervous I've been about overseas travel in a long time.
So why leave my family for a week and a half with nothing but a backpack, my laptop, and a few changes of clothes?
For the next 10 days, I'll be visiting several cities and villages in Uganda and Kenya and writing about the whole experience.
Because writers must live an adventure
It's not enough to just write. A writer needs to live, too.
I'm not saying you have to create the most epic experiences ever, but there comes a time when you must reconnect with the things that inspire you in order to write them honestly and well.
For someone who talks about making a difference, that means occasionally stepping out of my own comfort zone and connecting with what matters most to me.
Because without a life worth writing about, words start to feel stale; they become hollow and meaningless.
Because of Miriam
Last month, my wife and I decided to sponsor a child through Compassion, a nonprofit organization that seeks to eliminate child poverty in the world.
This past year, we've been blessed more than we deserve, and it doesn't feel right to not share those blessings with those in need. For less than $40 a month, we're able to change a child's life — that blows my mind.
On the first leg of this trip, I'll be meeting Miriam, our sponsor child. Part of the reason I'm going is to share the stories I encounter and to encourage you, if you feel called, to find your own Miriam.
(FYI: There will be no coercion or guilt-tripping, just honest story-sharing. Do with that what you will.)
Because this isn't about me
Ever since a life-changing study abroad experience in college, I've loved traveling. I've been to Taiwan, Italy, Portugal, France, Spain, Costa Rica, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Guatemala, and maybe a few other places I'm forgetting.
I travel not just to have an adventure but to gain perspective — to remember that the world is bigger than my blog and that I am still a work in progress.
Someone once said you don't climb a mountain so that the world can see you. You climb a mountain to see the world. I believe the same is true for a platform:
You don't build a platform so that people can make much of you; you build a platform to change the world.
The last leg of my trip will be a four-day trip through Kenya, where I'll be visiting the entrepreneur center that we helped fund (and “we” means all of you who took my Tribe Writers course and/or gave a generous donation).
Let's take this trip together
When I first started this blog, I thought I was just creating a way for people to read my words. Little did I know what was being started, in spite of my mixed motives.
But once folks start connecting to content, a community is formed. And with community, you can do incredible things. Things like change kids' lives and make an impact on a community halfway around the world.
That's what this blog is about: not just an opportunity to make much of me or even to teach you to be a better writer. What I'm trying to do here is convince you of something I'm just beginning to realize: that your words matter more than you realize.
And words plus action make for a powerful, sometimes beautifully dangerous, combination.
I hope you follow this trip (the best way to do that is to subscribe via email to this blog). I'll be writing and publishing more than usual, but my hope is you'll stick around for the whole journey.
It's going to be something that hopefully changes all of us.
When is the last time you did something that scared you? share in the comments.