first class humanitarian

first off, I’m in Budapest, and have spent the past day and a half re-exploring the city. I was here for about a week when I was studying abroad in Denmark in 2006 (and most notably turned 21 here), and it’s quite strange to come back to a city I never thought I’d return to. it’s a beautiful but quiet city.

I flew on international first class on my way here (thank you, dad!) and as glorious and luxurious as it was, I was surprisingly uncomfortable. my flight was essentially free due to a copious amount of frequent flyer miles, but it just didn’t feel like me. sure, I like material things and being spoiled every so often, but this was above and beyond. pajamas, fresh flowers, a wine list, and a full bed? during my previous international flights I was content with being anywhere but a middle seat and hoped it would recline. I must sound like I’m unappreciative but that is certainly not the case. it’s a mental conflict… heading to a country to work for an NGO and help those in need… yet flying on a ticket worth more than a mid sized car.

I want to live a comfortable life, yet I also want to dedicate my life to helping those less fortunate, those in need, those around me, those internationally. where’s the balance of satisfying my own materialistic needs, and still being authentic and helping others? you’ll never see me with a full face of makeup and high heels while I’m working internationally. I don’t think it’s necessary to look like a mess just because I’m not in my own home, but I am definitely lower maintenance while I’m away. do I need to live a meager life in order to be an effective humanitarian? I don’t believe so, but it feels contradictory at times.

I’m off to Sarajevo tomorrow after a 12 hour train ride from Budapest. I settle into my apartment on Monday and begin work Tuesday morning. tentative August travel plans include Kosovo, Montenegro, and Albania before heading to Greece.


One thought on “first class humanitarian

  1. Suzi

    I do appreciate the irony of flying first class to do humanitarian work. The abrupt collision of two very different worlds can mess with your head! While I’ve never sacrificed my personal comfort in the manner you’re about to, I have often come back from an enlightening tour in a remote and undeveloped area of the world – Albania,Romania, Central America, Asia – to the air-conditioned luxury of a cruise ship and marveled at the distance I traveled in just the length of a gangway. I admire and applaud your choice of a life of service to others, and wish you all the best in both worlds!


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