Recipient | 10-month solo travel fellowship
The Bonderman Fellowship was created in 1995 through a gift from David Bonderman to enable students to embark on a solo, personal journey around the world for 8-10 consecutive months. Recipients must travel to at least six countries in two major regions of the world, and may not conduct any academic or professional research. The sole purpose of the fellowship is to promote global citizenship and expose students to new cultures, experiences, and ways of thinking.
I was incredibly fortunate to receive the Bonderman Fellowship in 2014, which enabled me to spend 10 months traveling through Central and South America, Antarctica, and Africa. Although the fellowship does not require recipients to have a “theme,” I wanted to write and explore different countries and cultures through the lens of sports, because I believe that sports have an immense amount of social, political, and financial power around the globe.
Sep 2014 – Jul 2015
What I Learned
It is difficult to put everything I learned about myself, the world, and humanity, into words. Those 10 months were some of the most amazing of my entire life. I went cage diving with great white sharks off the coast of Cape Town, hiked the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, saw humpback whales in Antarctica, and snorkeled around the Galapagos Islands. However, the most important part is all of the people I shared those moments with along with way. I learned that no matter what we see on TV or social media, that humans are inherently good, which is reason enough to be hopeful.
I learned that travel allows a basketball court in Buenos Aires to become a classroom, a rainforest to become a think tank, a mountain to become a desk, and a foreign city to become home. At the end of the day, we’re all human, and travel helps the world realize that.