Back in January of 2016, I had an idea. It was one of those ideas that seemed so far-fetched I didn’t even consider it as a possibility. But somehow, my dream became a reality, and now I am 16 years old and travelling the world.
I have always had a love for traveling. Everything about new places, new cultures, and new people excites me.
When I joined my school’s Model United Nations team last fall, I was first exposed to the UN’s Global Goals for Sustainable Development. At the time, the goals were a mandatory tool for writing our position papers. To be completely honest, it was a very boring tool. But I had to use it, so I began my research to try and make sense of these Global Goals.
The more I researched, the more I discovered. I learned about all of the different problems under each goal, the Non-Governmental organizations (NGOs), and individuals working to accomplish the goals. I read about the people around the world struggling, the innovations happening, and the UN’s actions toward each of the 17 goals. But there’s only so much you can learn from the internet. I wanted to see it for myself. I wanted to be in the different countries. I wanted to talk to the people, to hear their stories. I wanted to be a part of the movement to accomplish these goals.
The more I thought about this, the more I wanted to go. I came up with a plan to travel the world, collect stories about each individual goal, and share them on a blog, in pictures, and videos, to raise awareness for the goals and give a new perspetive on what’s going on.
After months of persuasions and planning logistics, I got my parents and school on board with my big plan. Six months later I began to travel.
My first stop was Hungary. This is where I encountered my first obstacle. Right off the bat, we arrived in country and the project we were suppose to visit changed so we had to go in blind. I had never tackled such a huge project and when it started to not go exactly as I planned, I got very stressed and began to freak out. It was chaotic. Not well organized, not much to do, and not what I expected.
I began to see similar repeating problems of unorganization and unclear communication in the following countries we visited; Czech Republic, and United Kingdom. Clearly something had to change- but what could I do now to make this project successful?
What if I focus specifically on something that I really love and care about? Then look at it from the perspective of each of the 17 goals.
I love cafe culture and my dream is to one day open my own coffee shop. From first glance, it may seem like a coffee shop has nothing to do with the Global Goals, but if you break apart the entire agrifood chain process; from growing the bean, packaging, processing, selling, and drinking- each of the 17 goals can apply in some way. For example, buying from fair trade farmers ties to goal #12, responsible consumption and production.
As I continue to investigate the Global Goals over the year, and apply them to the agrifood chain process I hope to find links that tie the Goals together, and inspire others to approach their passions through the lenses of the 17 goals.