21. Bosnia & Herzegovina – To Jump or Not to Jump

Creative Nonfiction, Reflections, Thirty by Thirty, Travel

The sight of the Mostar Bridge in Bosnia & Herzegovina is one that stirs the heart of visitors and locals alike. In 2015 it was selected for one of the Red Bull Cliff Diving Competitions and, as I found myself backpacking without a strict itinerary, I made arrangements to journey there from Dubrovnik. For me, the thrill-seeking adrenaline junkie within still comes out on occasion, typically when towering heights are romanced by deep waters. With my visit spanning a couple of days, I was ecstatic in thinking that, as soon as the crowds cleared out, I would walk along the extraordinary landmark and jump off the bridge myself. After spending one afternoon downstream on some riverbank cliffs, I had a profound shift in my thinking that has affected how I perceive my travels, and the people I meet as a result of those travels. My awakening in Mostar spurred the dilemma I face with understanding my own rite of passage.

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7. Mexico – Below Borders

Intercultural Communication, Thirty by Thirty, Travel

With every pothole in the road, our heads bounced against the felted ceiling of the twelve passenger van. For as many of us as were piled inside, there were nearly as many countries represented by our team. We were volunteering with a non-profit that connected us with a host campus in the Rosarito/Tijuana area of Baja California and allowed us to meet families living in barrios [neighborhoods] just south of the Mexican-American border. Our team had fundraised money for construction projects and we offered services as often as we could.