Somehow three weeks of fun-employment felt like 2 days… but the time has come to finally leave home once again for a new adventure, this time to Dar es Salaam Tanzania (more on that later).
Welcome to the AroundAroundTheWorld blog! Here goes the introduction…
My name is Matt Arends and yes, it is pronounced “errands”. I can proudly say I am a native of Colorado, but even better I call, the “fly over state” of the Land O’ 10,000 Lakes home – for those from either the east or west coast, that’s Minnesota, ehh. At an early age, you could find me shredding the slopes out west, skateboarding with friends albeit my terrible kick-flip, and getting my hands on anything that could get me outside doing something active. And in case you were wondering, yes, my friends and I decided that using a wind surfing board like a wakeboard counted as “surfing” on a lake. I was fortunate to call one of those 10,000 lakes home and will forever have a bias towards clean, salt-free bodies of water.
After my adolescent years, I decided to play college football at Princeton University. Some there would say we were just the dumb jocks… but I like to say we studied, played, and had more fun than anyone else on campus. While there I studied international policy on a range of issues from French politics, to US-Iranian relations, to Education Policy, to International Development… well, you get the gist, my interests were all over the place! It’s hard staying focused on one thing when there is too much of the world to learn about in four years.
Hence, the “travel” aspect of this blog.
Being a Grown-up
Because four years of college wasn’t enough time to delay being what society calls a “working adult”, why not delay it another four and a half more months to really embrace the meaning of fun-employment. And yes, that time was well spent traveling the world, hanging out with the family and new dog on the lake, and finding out that I had no idea what I wanted to do even though I had a job waiting for me… Fast forward a few months and fun-employment coming to an end, the United States Capitol became my new home. I can only say the most positive things about living in that city, so any haters I bet you really haven’t lived there.
Fast-forward again two years and here I am, never in my wildest dreams thinking I would be taking this step professionally, mentally, and emotionally to just drop everything and find myself in a completely new way. As I write this first post, I sit in the Chicago International Terminal waiting to embark on a journey to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania as a Princeton in Africa Fellow (check their page, they are an awesome organization – no bias!!) working for the International Rescue Committee (also an incredible organization) as the Supply Chain Operations Fellow. I truly have no idea what’s in store, but all I know is that I am most excited for the unknown.
The intention of this blog is not to enter a niche blog market, but to (1) keep my friends and family members updated on the things I am doing; (2) serve as a “travel” blog, and for at least the next year focus on life, art, and culture in Dar es Salaam; and (3) serve as an outlet for thoughts and opinions on anything related to environmental sustainability. It is an all-encompassing blog that I hope will provide an outlet to many curious people out there looking to jump on the adventure bandwagon and do so in an environmentally responsible way!
Before college, I had only been to 2 countries outside the U.S. – St. Lucia and Mexico. I am now up to 19 countries hoping to get to 40 before I turn 27! Paris will forever be the best city ever (if you were only a tourist you wouldn’t know, you have to live there to actually enjoy it!), but Croatia would be the place I would love to be a sea bum and live the Mediterranean life. Hit me up for any questions particularly about Paris, Ireland, Iceland, and this one incredible outdoor club in Rome! Also, check out my Instagram feed, ArendsAroundTheWorld for photos from all my adventures! I took up photography as a way to try and get over not being a college athlete anymore and so far, it seems to have worked. Luckily, I have been able to capture some pretty sweet scenes, so also expect some posts on the photography I’ll be doing while overseas!
Finally share my thoughts and opinions on issues like travel, environmental consciousness and sustainability, and gain experience actually working in the field on issues that I care about.
Lastly, a huge shout out to all my friends and family, none of this would be possible without each and every one of you!