At Camp Grounded there were two main rules: no technology and no work-talk. Michaela participated in a variety of activities and workshops like improv where she had to be vulnerable and immediately get very personal with people. She had the chance to meet writers, musicians, poets, and other types of creative individuals. There were days where everyone would jam out until the sun came up. It was the first time in her life where she really felt present.
Afterwards, Michaela returned to her job as a wine distributor where she spent much of her time at bars and restaurants, but despite her cool job, she felt unfulfilled in her career. She yearned for that creativity and deeper connection that she had previously experienced at Camp Grounded so she bought a guitar, started writing, and read a variety of self-help books.
“In the books that I read, the main core that stuck with me the most was living life not for yourself but for others and that’s when I started looking for careers where I could do that.”
In January, Michaela began taking French lessons because it was always something she had wanted to pursue just as she had always envisioned living in Africa. Eventually, she began to look for careers where she could lend her skills to helping others and ultimately merge her desires for playing music, speaking French and living abroad. That’s when it hit her: she would join the Peace Corps.
She chose to volunteer in the French speaking nation of Senegal because of the music, the dance, and the language. Once there, she hopes to be able to speak French fluently in order to better connect with the people and help them the best she can.
“The culture there is all about feeling not about doing things perfectly, and I’d like to do that.”
Photo by: Jimmy Santos