We quit our jobs to create our dream lives. Our dream lives that did not lead to owning expensive cars or venturing out on lavish European vacations—but one that enabled us to give, to share and to explore. Everyone laughed. Everyone told us we couldn’t. They thought we were crazy. Sometime a little crazy is just what you need to succeed, and this article proves that if you believe in yourself, you will achieve.
When I was a little girl I used to stare out the window at school and envy the birds for their freedom to be anywhere, anytime. I felt like the joke was on me and I was actually the animal. I lived in a cage called a house, but I never felt at home, and every day I sat in what felt like a prison called school. It wasn’t the shelter or the education that I minded— it was the monotony. Eventually I would be expected to become robot-like between four walls from 9-5 making another’s money for them, and maybe if I made it to being old and gray I would be able to retire and be “free”– as “free” as you can be with aching bones and limited mobility.
I saw the same faces every day, took the same routes to my destinations. I became bored of conventional life from the moment I understood what it meant. I vanished from the real world and dove into my books. I loved to read because it took me to places in my mind that I could never go with my body – back in time, to new lands, to fantasy worlds and I found freedom with every page I turned. Eventually though, that wasn’t enough for this free spirit. After all, everything on this earth is here to be found, and why shouldn’t I be allowed to discover it for myself?
The most rewarding decisions in my life have simultaneously been the most terrifying. OXadventure was one of them, and the most prominent at that. The scariest part of life, in my opinion, is the unknown – but at the same time the only way to alleviate the fear of the unknown is to discover it. To ask questions in this life and to then relentlessly seek the answers on your own is one of the most beautiful and liberating freedoms we have as humans.
There are two types of dreamers – the type who merely entertain thoughts of the life they would love to live, and the ones who fight until their dreams are realities. There are the ones who say “I wish” and there are the ones who say, “I will” and eventually “I will” turns into “I did.” Dreams are like potential – they mean nothing unless acted upon.
OXadventure is a prodigy of three dreamers who did not let laughter, disapproval, doubt or criticism stop them. Saud AL-Juwaiyan, Ibrahim AL-Fraih and I, Nora Al-Ruwaished, had a very simple plan – to create a platform that enabled traveling without being a tourist, and a way to give back to the country that you visit and the at-risk children or less fortunate indigenous. We preferred to spend our money helping others rather than splurging on ourselves, and we did so because there is no greater gift than to give, especially considering how fortunate we are to come from a country like Kuwait. We have things that others might never have. It is in our humble opinion, our duty, to share our blessings with others. It was not until we did aid work ourselves that we began to truly value what have been given and that we learned the lessons in life that matter the most. It humbled our characters and molded us into better people. We only want the same for our peers in Kuwait as we feel that many are born in their comfort zones and die in their comfort zones. If we can change this, we can change Kuwait.
Last September, OXadventure began to pilot projects in Africa, Nepal, India and Sri Lanka in between jobs and school. Our strategy is to research a country and its areas of need, travel abroad to the country to meet with Local NGO’s and sustainable development organizations, plan a safety package, budget and itinerary and make local connections to create the perfect plan for our potential participants.
We did not have money, ‘wasta,’ support of any kind, or even a proper team. None of us were experts in development work but we managed to handle everything: From planning, marketing, design work, running booths in P2BK and Qout Market, to coordinating meeting after meeting to try to gain the support of ministries, companies, universities and the general public. None of this went without fights, tears, days where we thought we would not succeed, days where we felt stupid for trying or worrying that we put so much at risk to chase a dream. But we didn’t quit. We fought.
Much less than a year later, we feel proud and honored to announce that we have the most vibrant and quirky team of 15 participants for OXRwanda, going to Rwanda this August to restore the homes of genocide victims. They will also deliver used laptops to the university students who were orphaned during the genocide in 1994. Fifteen days will be spent pouring sweat and energy into bettering the lives of the survivors of such a horrible tragedy, while creating a documentary about the rehabilitation of the country into what it has become today due to forgiveness and perseverance.
GUST University has accredited the OXIndia program for their Mass Communication and Business majors to build an orphanage dormitory in India, during which the interns will live amongst the orphans they are building for, far out of their comfort zones. These unique and hard-working participants will work with a local media company in Kuwait. During the build, they will create a documentary about this life-changing experience and why they chose to do this instead of travel with their families over summer.
OXadventure is assisting Q8 Books to build a library in Jordan at the Syrian Refugee Camp: Zaatari, in which the 6th graders of the American International School were able to raise over 1000 books for the project. They have requested to become pen-pals with the refugee children, and OXadventure will do their best to meet these hopes. There are plans to have three international projects a year and one local program, plus a huge event that, should we have Kuwait’s attendance and support, would make us ecstatic.
OXadventure has been running through our veins long before the idea actually came to us. It took immense patience to get where we are, but the founders have been walking the broken path of this journey for many years and it feels so good to be home: comfortably found, lost in the world. And I, much like the very birds I used to envy, got my pair of wings. To live with purpose is to be free. I can only hope that those seeking adventure, seeking a soul-searching opportunity, those wanting to get their hands dirty and those who have a desire to change their way of thought consider OXadventure as their next travel opportunity. I can’t tell you how it will change your life; I can only tell you that it will. You have to come find out for yourself, instead of taking my word for it. Words will only satisfy you for so long. The adventure is in your own journey.
OXadventure would not be able to do all that we do without our partners whom we would like to thank: United Real Estate Company, our Real Estate partner for OXRwanda, and of course, Ooredoo, our annual partner for OXadventure.
If you would care to assist OXadventure in the laptop drive by donating your used laptops, please call: 9607 8844 or 9099 8807.