If you’re reading this, you may be wondering why both of us decided to pick up and relocate abroad with what look like ‘very accomplished and put together’ lives. For many, it’s a bizarre and even scary ‘out of the box’ idea. And they might be right – to an extent – but also a little bit wrong. It’s an awfully big world, rich with too many diverse and life-enhancing experiences to live so contained, even if it is within the amazing and second-to-none US of A. Enter in the Peace Corps, the preeminent international service organization that sends Americans abroad to tackle pressing needs of communities at the grassroots level in the hopes of making positive and sustainable change that outlives the stay of any one volunteer. To us, it sounds like an opportunity of a life time – to broaden our horizons, see how others live and value life, push ourselves past what we thought were limitations, make amazing and far-reaching human connections, learn a language, eat great food, see beautiful new landscapes, do some honest-to-goodness work, and positively impact international communities. But most importantly, this opportunity serves as a chance to evolve and discover more about ourselves. To become better and more interconnected human beings, to work on ourselves as individuals and hopefully become even more well-rounded, globally conscious and compassionate people…that is the ultimate goal. Nothing can do that better than shaking up your life, moving abroad and out of your comfort zone, giving of yourself and helping other people.
We are SO excited to be embarking on this journey, and together no less. That said, hope you enjoy our blog as we document our adventures and life lessons throughout the next 27 months. We promise not to hold back on any of the good stuff – documenting all the highs, lows, and hysteria – while hopefully maintaining a level of professionalism and appropriateness (no promises on the latter :p).
We invite you to share your feedback – thoughts, comments, ideas and questions – as you join us on our journey.
Khalan & Tess
Life…a tapestry of moments interwoven in just the right way where each piece is dependent on the next. That’s how I view my life — each experience stemming from the one before, unable to exist without the previous mistakes, knowledge and wisdom.
A bit about myself… I’m a northern VA native – a tomboy at heart – who grew up in an entrepreneurial household of Penn Staters…WE ARE! I later went on to be a Nittiany Lion myself, receiving an undergrad in Business Marketing. Upon graduating, I found myself in a bit of a funk – what I call the “lost years” – where I didn’t really know who I was or what I wanted to do with my life. Pulling a geographic, I found myself in the Big Apple with a clean slate and a bag full of dreams. I received a Master’s in Public Relations and Corporate Communications from NYU and began working in TV and Entertainment. I had made it and was on the fast track to the good life…or so I thought.
Had you told me growing up that I would drop everything in my life and skip off to a faraway land in my early 30s to help others and to continue to find myself I would have chuckled and rolled my eyes because that’s just “not what you do.” I thought I had it all figured out. I lived in one of the most iconic cities in the entire world, worked at an amazing media company with some of the best, brightest and kindest people, and was surrounded by the most loving and supportive group of friends a girl could ask for. So why give it all up?
After traveling to Guatemala in the beginning of 2015, I started to feel a pull in my heart to do more, but I didn’t know exactly what that looked like. All I knew was that I had a feeling that I needed to make a stronger impact in the world and that my skills weren’t going to be best used by remaining where I was. I guess you could say I felt an internal calling for a higher purpose, to implement change firsthand, and to engage with local people and communities on a level that I felt I couldn’t do here in the States.
So here I am…I believe all of my experiences thus far have brought me to this point, and it’s at this moment in time that I am ready for more. Serving as a Business Educator and Advisor in the Peace Corps is the next step for me in moving forward to live a life of greater significance. I can’t wait to see how this journey unfolds!
Hi there, the name’s Tess and I am sister #2 doing the Peace Corps. At this very moment, as I’m writing this, I’m at the ripe age of 25 and officially a quarter century old. And what a great quarter century it’s been! I grew up in Northern Virginia (NOVA, what’s up), attended the great Penn State University (as if I had a choice, it’s a family thing, WE ARE..), moved to New York City, had the time of my life, received my MA from NYU in Politics (incidentally, also a family thing) and travelled the world, fairly extensively. All experiences for which I am incredibly grateful and which have informed who I am today. Yet, if you told me 2-3 years ago that I’d be going into the Peace Corps I might have laughed right along with Khalan, I’ll be honest. My ambitions consisted of climbing the corporate ladder to eventually, in some far off (but not too distant) future becoming a CEO, becoming financially successful and living in some lavish house on the Potomac River. Simple, right?
It’s truly amazing how much one can change (I prefer evolve) in the span of just a few years. I attribute some of this change to living and working in New York City right out of college – a blissfully ignorant and bright-eyed 21 year-old ready to “take over” NYC’s advertising industry who had no idea her seemingly well-aligned and straight-edged life was about to take a dramatic turn to the left. Well, all that changed rather quickly as I realized I hated (dreaded is more appropriate) working in advertising, despite working at the city’s greatest agency (which shall remain nameless). While I was immensely grateful for this life lesson, I was all of a sudden confronted with some big life questions. What was I passionate about? What would make me happy? What has meaning to me? A.K.A WHAT THE EFF AM I GOING TO DO WITH MY LIFE?? If I was going to be busting my behind night and day for anyone or any career it needed to have some sort of higher purpose, to feel meaningful, to make an impact. And I needed to love it (sound familiar? From sister #1 perhaps?). That’s pretty much the extent of what I knew and what I felt. But finding out what this line of work would be?…I’m still working on that.
Fast forward a few years, throw in a Masters degree, some life-altering experiences, more than a handful of run-ins with astrologists, tarot card readers and psychics (not ashamed to admit that I love this stuff), some not-so-coincidental coincidences, and a few wild NYC nights, and here I am. Moving to Mexico to do some soul searching and some pretty gangster humanitarian and environmental work. I have no idea what this experience will hold but I hope with every fiber of my being that it satisfies my craving to do something meaningful, opens the door to some invaluable insights and perspective, and allows me to continue my evolution into becoming the best person I can be.
Why Walking the Fringe?
- A border or an outer edge
- Something regarded as peripheral, marginal, secondary or extreme in relation to something else
- Not part of the mainstream; unconventional, peripheral, or extreme
- Something that is marginal, additional, or secondary to some activity, process or subject
- An area of activity that is related to but not part of whatever is central or most widely accepted
- A marginalized group with different views
- Noun. Border, edge, limits, margin, outskirts, periphery
- Adjective. Alternative, innovative, radical, unconventional, unorthodox
To walk the fringe is to experience life outside of the box, to expand beyond our limits of thinking and to remove cultural preconceptions. It’s leaving what we would consider mainstream – what we consider our normal way of living – to embrace what some might think is unconventional. It’s recognizing that no one way of living is secondary to another. This is what we believe our experience in the Peace Corps will offer us.