As a writer for Opportunity International (one of the best jobs on the planet), I have spent years writing variations of the phrase “Opportunity empowers women to create bright futures for their children.”
I interviewed clients who spoke about their greatest hopes for the future; women who always, always, without fail, said that their number one goal was to give their children possibilities that they might not have had themselves.
I told the story that mothers want their children to be able to accomplish their goals and realize their dreams, and I believed it because I saw with my own eyes and with endless data that it was true.
But I never really knew how powerful that feeling was until this year.
Until my own mom made it possible – encouraged and cheered for me – to make my own dreams come true.
This January, I began backpacking around the world. For seven months, I’m living life on the road – meeting incredible people, eating crazy foods and learning as much as I can about as much as I can. It’s been hard and incredible and tiring and absolutely the best thing I’ve ever done – and I could not have done any of it without my mom.
Even the most encouraging of moms has a few hesitations when you announce that you are going to leave behind everything you’ve worked hard to build – your home, full-time job, friends and family – and ship out to travel the world alone. My mom was no exception. She asked the requisite questions, but she never doubted me.
She saw my dream and she immediately wanted to help me make it happen.
When I was just a kid, she taught me to be a confident traveler. More recently, she has been so excited for every leg of my journey, despite being nervous for me (whether she’ll admit it or not). And when I was overturning my house attempting to cram my life into a backpack, she followed behind me cleaning up my mess.
In my travels thus far, I have met so many incredible women and mothers with the same attitude. The same belief that their children’s dreams are big and hard, but they are worth chasing. Women who are doing whatever they can to help their kids create the bright futures they have in mind.
For women like Justine, it means building a business so that all eleven of her kids can stay in school.
For Blanca, it means teaching her son the business skills she has learned from her Opportunity International Trust Group so that he can be a successful businessman too.
So this Mother’s Day, that’s what I’m celebrating. The moms around the world who share the same incredible qualities. The moms that are cheering and encouraging and making possible big dreams for all of us. The moms that live as daily examples that anything is possible.
Allison Kooser is currently backpacking around the world. She writes for Opportunity International and blogs about her trip at koosertravels.com.