I believe that all of the secular jobs I have had up until this point prepared me for this journey.
My favorite line in Alice in Wonderland was when someone asked her, “What do you want to do with your life?” Alice responded, “I know what I donʼt want.” That is a line that I connect with.
Since I was 16 years old, people have told me that I live in my own world. I guess that is because I am not trapped by fear of the unknown. I take calculated risks and don’t require first-world comforts. I have volunteered in foreign language communities, studied in other countries, and dared myself to leave my comfort zone every month. It is my belief that learning a little of someone’s language and culture goes a long way in human relations. Eighteen years later, I speak several languages and have many friends all over the world. I want this for you too!
As I got older, I used my language and networking skills in the business world. Through the years I worked in commercial photography, art, international marketing, hospitality, real estate and luxury good sales. International clients were always very appreciative of my efforts to reach out to make their experience an easier one. Many inquired about why an American girl would bother to learn such difficult languages, and I would explain how much I enjoy making others feel welcome in my hometown. Someone whom I consider a mentor strongly recommended that I turn my language study hobby into a career, so after 3 months, I enrolled in an exchange program. On August 3, 2010, I resigned from my day job to pursue my linguistic goals in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China.
This exchange program was aimed toward my goal of going back to college to finish my International Business degree. That intensive language program would help me learn the equivalent of four years of Chinese language study in the United States in only two semesters abroad. Sold! After selling everything I owned, except for what would fit into one luggage, the rest is HERSTORY!
“The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.” -St. Augustine.
A letter I wrote to myself before leaving the US on January 4, 2011: “I am ready for this new challenge and great opportunity to learn Mandarin. China is one of the fastest growing and changing countries in the world. If I stay at home reading about China I will miss what is happening while my new textbooks are being printed. China is mentioned in the news everyday now, and I am excited to be able to watch as it develops into a strong commercial center. My first college degree was in commercial photography, and today I am pursuing my dream of studying Mandarin Chinese so that I can compete in the global market. My biggest challenge in pursuing study abroad has only been myself. I am now confident that my goal will become a reality. I can’t wait to share my experience with those of you who may never be able to travel abroad. Yours truly, Rocky.”
Update: I sincerely appreciate all those who kept in touch with me via video conferencing and my blog. I returned from China in late 2011, and the travels still continue. Upon my return to the States, I relocated to New York to work in real estate, and then after almost 2 years, finally returned home to Las Vegas. Here, I keep busy as a Live-Streaming Host, giving virtual tours of Las Vegas to people around the world. My loyal following of more than 10k viewers inspire me everyday to keep going. See you online! Watch Live
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Note: The purpose of this blog is to share my personal experience with those who want to travel with me to places they may never have the opportunity to visit. This is not a detailed account of what life is like in China or anywhere else. This is my journey – the way I see it. I am broadening my horizons and widening my viewpoint. The opinions expressed in this blog are mine alone, and I may change my opinion without notice – life is funny like that. Names of people in my stories may or may not have been changed. It’s about to get interesting!