Adventure awaits: Amelia Earhart’s death inspires The Traveling Kate

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Amelia Earhart’s stamp was issued 26 years after her disappearance in 1927. On the right, Katelyn Earhart takes in the waterfall El Pailon Del Diablo, the largest waterfall outside of Baños, Ecuador. Katelyn Earhart

A personal narrative.

Amelia Earhart is a woman defined by this statement: She journeyed into the impossible and turned it into I’m-possible.

From going on solo trips to Hawaii to being the first woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean to setting a world altitude record to attempting to fly around the world at its widest part. She did it all.

After discovering her passion, she revolutionized everything she touched.

Communications sophomore Katelyn Earhart

She recognized the celebrity that she was gaining from breaking these records and decided to use that power to help break negative stereotypes about women.

She was courageous, intelligent and self-reliant, no matter the cost.

Her story inspires me, The Traveling Kate, and causes me to question what legacy my life is leaving.

I’ve been told all my life Amelia was a distant cousin, — which may or may not be true — but her heart for adventure is what pumps my blood.

At the humble age of 25, I have traveled the world.

I have set foot on 20 different countries across six of the seven continents.

Although I have not completed the trip in a single flight, my dream is to touch every country in the world.

Our passions differ slightly because I don’t want to just fly over the countries, I want to see the beauty that lies within every country and its people.

A country can only count if I have been able to touch it with my own hands.

Many people look at me and assume that I come from a family with money who funded all of my travels, but the reality is that I was the Anglo girl on the Southside of San Antonio raised on the free and reduced lunch program.

I look at Amelia’s life and see so much of my own, and not just because we share a last name.

After Amelia found her passion for flying when she was 23, she did everything she could think of to make her dreams a reality.

According to her biography, Amelia worked as a file clerk, office assistant, truck driver and, my personal favorite, a photographer to raise the money to buy her first plane.

Despite the hard work, she couldn’t make enough money to keep her plane, so she sold it when her parents separated.

She bought a car and drove her mother and herself to Boston where her sister was living.

It’s easy to look at the results of someone else’s story and think their life is nothing but beautiful and successful, but every life, especially one of pressing to new heights, has its struggles.

What separates the greats from everyone else is the drive to keep pursuing the dream, even when it looks physically impossible.

Amelia went back to college for a year but lacked the money to go any further.

This is another piece of her life that I see within myself, although the narrative is a little different.

I left college because I didn’t know what I wanted to pursue, besides traveling the world, so instead of raking up a huge debt bouncing from one major to another, I decided to join the workforce.

I did everything from being a preschool teacher, to an administrator, to a database manager, to a bartender.

Although my life had a drastic change from one year to the next, these jobs helped me discover my real passion: people.

I love people; their beauty, their struggle, their will to fight, their quirks.

Then I stumbled upon a trip that combined my love for travel and for people: The World Race.

It is a trip for young adults that visited 11 countries in 11 months.

Katelyn Earhart along with locals and volunteers attend the 49th birthday party for King Mswati III, the king of Eswatini, known as Swaziland at the time of Earhart’s visit. Katelyn Earheart

In each country you get partnered up with a local organization and serve them however they need.

I have done everything from construction work, clearing grass with machetes, teaching English, hiking in the midlands of the Amazon Rainforest to a remote village, doing home visits with churches, just to name a few.

Each month was drastically different but equally beautiful.

This trip seemed like an impossible dream for me, how was I going to pay for it?

Although my budget was cheap, five dollars a day for food and five dollars for shelter, the trip cost $17,000 overall.

I have never seen that kind of money just saved up in a bank account, but how could I say no to a dream so beautiful?

Therefore I, like Amelia, did everything I could to make it a reality.

I worked as much as I could and saved every penny, I had BBQ plate sales, T-shirt fundraiser and photoshoots for donations, among other things.

And somehow the dream became one of the most incredible years of my life.

But living the life of a dreamer is interesting because even after you accomplish a dream, the “adventure awaits” feeling dives deeper into your soul until you discover a new dream to chase.

This is how I see Amelia’s last flight, the adventure that called her further than ever before.

Sure, people before her had flown around the world but they flew around the poles, the shortest distance around the earth, and claimed the trip was too challenging for a woman to navigate.

The adventure called to her, no matter the danger or impossibilities that were constantly told to her.

So that’s what she did, followed her souls’ cries to the depths of the ocean and the end of her life.

Her body may have been lost since 1937, but her legacy still lives

Robert Ballard, the man who finds the lost things of the ocean like the Titanic and a Nazi battleship, set off to find any evidence of Amelia off the coast of Nikumaroro in August of this year.

He patterned up with archaeologists from National Geographic to search around the Nikumaroro island based on some digital enhancements done to a photo known as the Bevington image.

This photo is a photo taken by a British officer in 1940 on Nikumaroro that has a blurry object in the background that analysts have concluded is consistent with landing gear on Amelia’s plane.

The struggle of finding Amelia’s plane off the coast of Nikumaroro is that the island and the reef surrounding the island are the tip of a 16,000-foot underwater mountain, which translates to the height of 11 Empire State buildings.

Plus, there was a previous shipwreck around the same area, possible pushing Earhart’s debris deeper down the underwater slope.

Although Ballard hasn’t discovered anything yet, he seems hopeful, according to the New York Times article, The Amelia Earhart Mystery Stays Down in the Deep on Oct. 14, 2019.

“This plane exists,” Dr. Ballard said. “It’s not the Loch Ness monster, and it’s going to be found.”

While we continue to wait for the mystery of Amelia’s death to be solved, there is yet another mystery that demands our attention: what adventure calls to your soul?

It is easy to get wrapped up in the adventures and mysteries of others, but we each carry a mystery within our life called the future.

Only you get to decide who you are going to be and what you are going to do with the influence you carry.

Are you going to let your days pass by simply following the paths others have created before you or are you going to let the Earhart spirit inspire you to follow the dangerous, seemingly impossible adventures that lie within you?

We may never fully know what happened to Amelia, or if we are related, but we do know that her life is still influencing our world 82 years later.

For me, Amelia’s mystery serves as an inspirational reminder that I can look at the seemingly impossible adventures that await me, called my future, and say to it “I’m-possible.”

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