How the First Powered Wheelchair World Cup “Ruined” Study Abroad for Me

At the end of the week, the team prepared to return home.

The experience left me with a healthy dose of perspective. It was the best thing I did while in Portugal. And I was better for it.

It was beginning to sink in how fortunate I was and had always been.

I lived a life of privilege and while I was certainly not your typical American college student, I was still a snotty and pretentious kid at times. On the other hand, these experiences were beginning to stir something inside of me.

Helping the team had given me the precious gift of awareness. Awareness that led to a new appreciation of the ample gifts this life had heretofore afforded me. Something was waking up.

At the same time, burning the oil at both ends was taking its toll on me.

While I had done a good thing for a week, the facts remained that I barely attended class and was partying too hard while sleeping too little.

Looking back, I am struck by the shallow nature of my motivations at the time. I suppose I was driven by motivations travelers have always been seduced by. Novel experiences, good times and strong drink were my primary objectives, and I achieved them with nearly shameful regularity.

But in some ways, a change was on the rise.

The Powered Wheelchair Soccer team left its mark on me. Hardly a week has gone by since that I haven’t thought of them.

Godspeed y’all.

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