6 Months in Samoa and 12 Months in Tonga

No, I’m not WWOOFing around the world just yet. I’m still finalizing details domestically for Round America with a Duck (29 days to go, team). But I’m already thinking Ireland (my ancestral home on one side of my family), maybe, for next year for just a month.

I’m also starting to think beyond WWOOFing — with full recognition that my Higher Power is a far better writer than I am and has twists and turns planned for me on the path ahead that I can’t yet see. This post does not override my philosophy of Trust the Journey. However, I believe I have a role in building that path in direct response to authentic callings I feel, not just waiting for it to appear.

And so, first of all, I’m not done with Peace Corps yet. This I know to be true. I am always considering the possibility of heading back many years from now (you can read about my Peace Corps experience, if interested).

If there is a next time, I would most likely apply as a Peace Corps Response Volunteer. These are shorter-term assignments (3-12 months instead of the regular 27 months) that require extensive experience beyond what it takes to qualify as a category-specific regular volunteer. (I was accepted to Peace Corps Uganda as an Agribusiness Volunteer to help create and market value-added farm products as well as develop community and family gardens, with an intended secondary project with women and girls on bikes.)

So, if I want to qualify for Peace Corps Response (PCR) in the future, I need to bolster required experience now. Thus, as I cross-reference the current PCR openings with the WWOOF opportunities I’m seeing across the USA, I’m identifying skillsets that are interesting to me (or that build on what I already possess as lived and learned expertise) and aiming to expose myself to ways to acquire and grow them.

I already almost qualify for the PCR communications specialist openings in Samoa and Tonga. I could strengthen my application for more options around the world. Yep, it’s time to finally, finally learn Spanish (so many of the really cool opportunities require at least an intermediate understanding); re-learn French, and consider getting my TEFL certification (I already underwent certification for Literary Volunteers of America and worked with refugees-of-war, but it’s been awhile). Long bus rides during Round America with a Duck with Spanish-learning apps and Shakira on Spotify? Yes, I can see this happening. Shakira’s already shaking her tail feather with Disco and me on TikTok, as is La Vie en Rose and other French songs:

And did you know you can go to college for free in the USA State of Georgia (and maybe where you live, too) when you turn 62? You can even choose among three options: audit random, unrelated classes without grades; take whatever classes you want for grades but no intended degree; or pursue a degree. I turn 60 at the tail end (so to speak) of Round America with a Duck (here’s the route), so we’re talkin’ within my three year plan here.

Do I need another degree? Not really. Also, sitting still and following directions is very hard for me lol. I could probably get the knowledge I need on Coursera (where I’ve taken a bunch of classes I’ve truly loved — my very fave courses, however, were a series of five courses online at Institute for the Future). But would being in a degree program open me up for grants, networks, resources and hands-on access to expensive materials? Yes.

So, where does my heart keep wandering? (Fact: the heart knows where it wants to go. Listen to it.) Always the art room (although art classes tend to feel performative, and I don’t like that) — although as a left-hander, I’m very bi-lobal and equally interested in the sciences (especially now). So I’m thinking the possibility of double-majoring in Fine Arts (Mixed Media) and Environmental Science (or some sub-speciality such as Conservation or Climate Adaptation).

The more deeply I understand the complicated stuff happening in our climate crisis, the more simply I can continue to explain it and share calls-to-action. There are numerous PhDs in various sciences who are farmers whom I’ll be meeting on this journey. so I have much to ask them. This is probably a long-shot because, again, I don’t see myself wafting through the corridors of academia very happily. There’s most likely another pathway. I’m just pointing my compass in a direction.

Re: mixed media, I love art that repurposes waste and carries a positive message in our world-in -crisis. My BikeBloom upcycled bike tube earrings (the first version of which came with my handcrafted plantable paper that transformed the tragic news of the day into wildflowers) are just the beginning for me. There are lots of farmers who are artists and I will be right there with them spinning yarn, painting murals, and creating environmental art. I loved writing for Art Works for Change. Art as advocacy, bearing witness (such as with my street photography) and creating indisputable evidence is a core part of my being.

Bottom line? Not all of this will happen. But some will. If I think strategically about what may serve my goals (and the world) in the future, I can make outlandish dreams come true. And you know what? They seem less outlandish every day now, don’t they?

How about you?

Here’s a useful (warning: life changing) exercise. I heard once that if you write your own aspirational obituary and then work backwards, you can create a pathway to the life you really want. Years ago, my desired obituary started: “She lived on a lavender and llama farm.” Guess what farms are in my Round America with a Duck mix? Yep.

It’s that easy, folks. It starts now, today. What seed will you plant for the harvest of dreams-come-true called your life?

Reminder: You are never given a dream without also being given the possibility of making it come true. As an ad I saw on the MARTA train taught me: Impossible, read another way, reads I’m Possible.

I’m possible. You’re possible. Saving this world for the future of humanity is possible.

Let’s do it.

Trust the journey,

Pattie

Note: The photo above is from my very last visit to the supermarket closest to me, which is closing today. It is a location at which I spent more than $40,000 one bike ride at a time for one particular reason. See here, if interested.

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