by Kelsey Mortimore, a member of the SkillCorps® Netherlands October 2018 team

It all started with one google search. Years ago, I googled two major words that describe a lot about my life and about my passions: travel, and ABA. Sometimes, it seems like everything in my life revolves around those two things. Well, when I did my google search, I came across something that could seamlessly combine those two passions of mine.

I stumbled upon the Global Autism Project- and found out that I could travel to a numerous amount of partner sites while applying ABA concepts and what I know about working with individuals with autism.  Immediately I felt like I was meant to stumble upon this page, and with some (okay, a lot) of hesitations, I signed up.

I had hesitations about everything. What if I didn’t get along with my team members? What if I didn’t connect with the workers in the Netherlands? What if they didn’t know English? What if my work didn’t let me take time off? But, most importantly, what if I didn’t make a difference? My life often revolves around that one, last, question. I always strive to make a difference in whatever I do, and I then realized that with the Global Autism Project, I could make a big difference.

When people have hesitations in life, it is often due to the fact that they don’t want to be pushed out of their comfort zone. We learned, during orientation though, that you can only grow if you push yourself out of your comfort zone. During our first weekend in the Netherlands, a couple of team members and I decided to climb the highest tower in the small town of Delft.

Heights is my biggest fear, but I quickly remembered what I learned in orientation, and why I should be pushed out of my comfort zone. So, we hiked to the top. Passing by hundreds of people who were squeezing into this tiny winding staircase, we somehow made it to the top. At first, looking over the tiny fence preventing me from falling hundreds of feet down to the ground, I just embraced my fear and began to take in the beautiful view. Canals, churches, and every quaint little house was seen beyond the horizon.

In that moment, it was so worth it. I will never forget that unbelievable view, and how proud I was after that I pushed through my fears. From now on, I will embrace the unknown, and take that lesson wherever I go.