Growing up in a blue-collar middle class family in western Pennsylvania, leaving home meant visiting my grandparents who lived about a 20-minute car ride away. Their small home in the city was my favorite place to be and if felt different enough from my split level suburban house to satiate my desire to travel. Leaving home doesn’t necessitate an aircraft or even a set of wheels. For some of us it’s a hike into the woods that reminds us of the value of switching gears.
As a tween leaving home meant a couple weeks in the summer volunteering with my church youth group in the rural hollows of Kentucky. It was there that I first felt the joy of serving on a team and learned the excitement of creating community. Leaving home as a teenager was traveling during spring break with the high school marching band to compete. We drove for hours or days to Myrtle Beach, New York City and Orlando on buses! All 300 of us. And we loved it.
I boarded an airplane not until age 18 and I’d still never left the United States. It was my senior graduation trip with three of my best friends. Looking back, I ask myself was I too young to venture out on my own like that? Would I be happy for my kids to do the same? I don’t know. What I do know is this – leaving home has had a tremendous impact on my life and I am all the richer for it. Travel has taught me the value of keeping my eyes, and my heart, open. Now, having traveled far and wide, when I hear the call of the great unknown, I long to touch it. And I want to take others along for the ride.
This is why I became a Team Leader for Habitat for Humanity’s Global Village Program. I’d like to inspire others to do the same. To encourage others to get involved I make a music video following the build. Helping a needy family afford a safe and decent place to live is worth your time and money. If you give it a try and love it like I do maybe you’ll become a leader too. Then, even more people can participate in what might be a once in a lifetime, life-changing experience. How cool would that make you?
“Because if you never leave home, never let go, you’ll never make it to the great unknown. Keep your eyes open my love.”