First, you do it for selfish reasons. You want to see the world. You want to understand, so you can live a more cultured, fulfilling, conscious life. You want the experience. You buy a plane ticket because you feel the only places desperate for help are no way near here.
You will find the right places. It starts with questioning your role in life, planning, deliberating, all of it; Then you wake up in a foreign city. You go to volunteer . You want the experience but also free room and board. You meet people, the exact kind of people you wanted to meet. Some are the kind of people you long to become. That’s why you’re knee deep in a compost pile in the middle of a jungle, so you can transform into the kind of person that you would find knee deep in a compost pile in the middle of the jungle. You don’t feel quite there yet, they have been at it a little longer, digging a bit deeper. They tend to have one or two more stories of the third world, stories which you have yet to accumulate. So you keep digging. You end up at an eco-community your using tires and rocks to form the foundation of a community house. You keep digging, turning up old dirt, to build the foundation to a tangible piece of change. A community center that will house the young ones in the village, a new kind of education,sustainable. In the middle of rubber trees and deep lush jungle that will only eventually be destroyed should they decide to mine for coal, or a large sum of money comes to build hotels. Whatever it might be will bring deforestation, devastation, it will all happen with you digging. The possibility of destruction, the possibility of education and safety. It would all happen without you too. If you were not digging in the heat someone else would be. But you keep digging.
You’re adaptable. You let go enough to become so remarkably lost outside of yourself, that you and you alone accepted a strangers invitation down a river, hours from the closest village. You sat with a third generation medicine man as he taught you the encyclopedia of information and remedies of the plants and vegetables that grow on his land. These entities that feed and heal, and protect in ways which could only be explained by a third generation medicine man in his native tongue. You spend time with him in ceremony, you allow his indigenous songs to bridge you closer to mother earth as you have longed to know her. You can be here. You can cry tears of expansion, growing pains, still digging for the answers. You can keep digging.
You learn the importance of language, how it lends identity and meaning to your entire paradigm of knowledge. You learn through musical lyrics and moments of feeling. You never forget how words affect you, even the foreign ones, they affect you and you understand language now the way you understand emotion. It is embedded. You may not speak, but you commune anyway. You learn that somehow words differ from language.
You watch the difference between day and night and the momentum of twenty fours hours without a clock. The movement of a day, the waking of a child, the grinding of spices, the heat that moves to a chill. The volume of animals in the sky verses animals on the ground, when the rain comes and when it finally stops, the rowdiness of a pack of dogs in the moonlight. The moonlight. The day needs not a clock to unfold. It moves along anyway.
You’re better at adventure then you could ever be at daily habitual life. You’re hungry for adventure, ceremony, humanism, and earth. Your insides beckon as you ask them politely everyday to stop. Stop growling, please stop growling. How embarrassing to be starving for something so far away. Stop being so hungry for things which do not serve you in this particular life. Stop fueling yourself with fire that does not burn in these parts. Find your fuel. Burn anyway.