One day, I woke up with the inspiration to friend request people on the Gates Millennium Scholars Facebook page. The next day, a woman messaged me with an incredible opportunity. She happened to be the organizer of the Women Economic Forum in New Delhi, India. She invited me to speak about “Finding my Purpose as a Millennial Leader”, and wanted to honor me as one of the “Iconic Women Creating a Better World for All”. [TIP 1: Do not underestimate the value in social media and maintaining the integrity of your profile page.]
After reviewing the costs of the flight and hotel, I said, “no” to the opportunity. I was scared because it would be my first time abroad, and I didn’t know how I would pay for this experience.
After a month of thinking it over, I took a leap of faith and asked if the opportunity still existed. To my relief, it was. This time, I could also volunteer as a session timekeeper and receive complimentary hotel stay and meals throughout my stay. I only had to get my passport and roundtrip flight to and from India!
With great determination, I hustled! As a Chicago Scholar, I got my passport and vaccinations sponsored by the organization. My mentor from high school blessed me by paying for the roundtrip ticket to and from New Delhi, India! I was on my way, and it felt unreal.
I flew from Charlotte, NC to Toronto, Canada, and then from Toronto, Canada to New Delhi, India. The flight from Charlotte, NC to Toronto, Canada was delayed. I missed my original connection from Toronto to New Delhi, but I spent a day in Canada!
My flight to New Delhi was 15 hours. Before this trip, I had never been on a flight for more than 3 hours! I was a bit anxious on how I would deal with being on a plane for so long, but it went very well! My “plane row partner”, Rita, was from India and lived in New Delhi for a while. She offered me great advice for enjoying the city and getting through the long flight! [TIP 2: Talk to the people alongside you during the flight, if you can!]
When I arrived in India, I experienced an immediate culture shock. Everything was so different!
I spent four days in New Delhi at the Women Economic Forum where I stretched my comfort zone and learned so much about people from all around the world!
After the conference, I explored New Delhi a little! Here’s a picture(to the left) from my time in front of the India Gate!
I learned about numerology at a jewelry shop. They interpreted the lines on my right hand and matched my birthstone with topaz. However, astrology matches me to amethyst based off of my birth month.
Overall, this experience taught me to live beyond my vision and awareness. The world is so vast! [TIP 3: Do not hesitate to take advantage of opportunities to explore more of it!] Cost presented a huge barrier to my travels; however, it seemed as if the universe moved aside to give me my way, once I put my determination into overdrive.
One of my family’s favorite adages is “Nothing beats a failure, but a try.” My rendition of this quote is, “Don’t miss out on your chance to fly by not attempting to flap your wings! “ Go for it!