Story on Finding Your Dreams

City: Los Angeles

Industry: Health Research

It feels like the thing I was always meant to do.

When I think about how long it took before I first discovered my passion for story-telling, I sometimes get sad: Why didn't I listen to this little voice when it first emerged?! But I also know that now I'm finally grown enough to do it right, without ego or expectations, and enjoy it to its fullest extent.

For my entire junior year of high school, I was an exchange student in Germany. I'd expected a warm welcome from curious classmates, excited to meet an American, but what I got was a cold shoulder. I spent a lot of time by myself, mostly doing two things: wandering along hiking paths through the Black Forest and writing in my journal.

The Black Forest captivated me; the thick tree cover, meandering streams, and the occasional, abandoned, moss-covered hut or church made this place seem full of magic. When my loneliness left me in a catatonic depression, if I could just pull myself up and get out into the woods, I would feel alive once again.

My journal writing started out as most angsty teen entries would: about boys, school, and friends (or lack thereof). After spending more time in the forest, this began to change; I started writing stories. One particular story seemed as if it had been planted in the earth, and my job was to dig it up, piece by piece.

When I returned from Germany, I stopped writing... For a long time. Twelve years, to be exact. But this story stuck with me the whole time. Now, I'm finally brave enough to write it down and tell others about it. This story has grown into plans for a three-book series, and I'm about 100 pages into the first one. It feels like the thing I was always meant to do and gives me more purpose than anything I've done before. I know this story was meant for me to tell, and Iā€™m so grateful for the days spent in the Black Forest that allowed me to discover it.