Amber Osborne has been named by the faculty Honors Committee as the 2007 recipient of the Timothy M. Smith Inspiration Through Exploration Award.
The committee received four outstanding applications for this award, established by the family and friends of Timothy M. Smith. A lawyer by trade, Smith loved to travel and write about his many experiences.
In her application for the Timothy M. Smith Award, Amber submitted an essay titled “Mr. Standish,” and described her plans to travel to Europe in Summer 2007 and to write about her experiences there.
I have until recently been one of those people who thought that traveling to far off lands was going to New York City. I was born and raised in New Port Richey, FL for the full extent of my twenty one years on this planet. When I was a little girl I was told by my mother before she passed away from cancer, “You are too big of a person to be in such a small town.” I never really thought much of it till I got to travel to Germany last summer, then I realized exactly what she was talking about.
My creative strengths have always been writing and photography, however like any strength you need to exercise to make it stronger and to do that you need motivation and inspiration. Those are two things that I thought were stored and filed back with my high school diploma. Traveling, I have found is what gives me the inspiration to not only document my experiences but to turn the camera around on myself to figure out my own place in this world.
One of the things I found about traveling to foreign lands is that despite being thousands of miles away from home, nothing is really foreign. The people you meet may speak another language but they aren’t space aliens with laser rays, they are fellow human beings with lives, families, dreams and aspirations just like you. This is where my passion for traveling lies, in the meeting of these people and in experiencing their culture as they do in everyday life. It could be a Holocaust survivor in a café in Leipzig or homeless mohawked punk kids on a subway in Berlin. I have met so many interesting people in my travels to Europe so far, I want to meet all the billions I missed.
In this, I have found my meaning for life something that takes most people most of their lives. I will live in Germany, if only for a year or the rest of my days. As I have sadly learned from my mother, life is too short to sit around in a small town contemplating my fate. Among learning more about myself, I wish to learn more about the language, culture, politics and most of all the lives of people in Europe. For the only benefit I wish to receive is the knowledge that another little girl in New Port Richey may read about my experiences and know that the world outside her door isn’t such a scary place but a beautiful world where people love and live life.