The focus needed to volunteer abroad

Plans fall through, timelines shift, things don't happen quite the way you imagined. 

For over two months, I've sought to navigate cumbersome government processes and apply for a one year non-tourist visa. Tourist visas are limited in scope, and the goals I've set for Nepal can't be accomplished in the allotted 120-day period. 

Kathmandu is hot, dirty, relentless. The legal work has been slow and frustrating. If it weren't for the help of friends and many introductions, the endless paperwork and mandated procedures would be next to impossible. My patience (which I admit is not my greatest strength) has been tested. What I thought was going to be a quick in-and-out has left me feeling like a traveler stranded in an excessively long and unanticipated layover. 

Yet through all of this -- defending my presence, citing qualifications, crying in a parked car after being sent away for more papers, being told to write and rewrite letters upon letters -- my resolve has remained steady. My vision is fixed on promoting education and leadership while fostering an entrepreneurial spirit of creativity and initiative on local levels. There is so much potential within Nepal, and I refuse to see it wasted. 

This is when you know you're on track: when the smooth road becomes rocky, you keep going. 

Dear friends, if you know you're on the right road, keep going. No matter how many potholes you encounter. Keep going.