Kelly Hansen Jumping on the Dunes!

Kelly Hansen Jumping off the Dunes!

We all dream of the opportunity to travel and see the world through our own eyes, create our own perception and become more aware of the world we live in.

If you have been blessed with this gift, you will change internally and externally and you will have a better understanding of the world.

This is exactly what Kelly Hansen did once the idea entered her mind. She did this without hesitation or much planning.  I sat with Kelly to hear more about her travels and to prepare for her attending our next Women’s Circle meeting.

I began by asking Kelly, why she wanted to do this? What was leading this decision to take on such an adventure? Kelly shared that she felt stuck. At the time of the idea she was holding a full time and part time job, working around 70 hours a week. One was paying well but made her miserable while the other was not, but she I loved it. “It is very easy to lose your sense of self when you feel this way.” Kelly replies with great wisdom behind her words. Things began to build up and she began to notice characteristics in herself that she did not like. Kelly put it best, ”I was simply, unhappy.”

During this time, Kelly learned about the Sudanese “Lost Boy” she worked alongside; he did everything he could to help his village and did not complain along the way while she would blow tedious issues significantly out of proportion.  She began to realize that her priorities were significantly out of order and needed a drastic change.

It was in this moment that she sat up with great clarity in her voice, ”I wanted my story, my own experience.” As she reached this crossroad, she made a list of places, planned the entire trip in 2 weeks then bought the plane tickets.

The traveling was the priority then the Marathons came in. Kelly decided to make this an even greater cause by raising awareness for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  Prior to making this decision Kelly had ran four Marathons but now taking on the great challenge that has not been done my many, to run five Marathons in five different continents. Her only disappointment in the planning was to be placed on the wait list in Antarctica.


Kelly Hansen's Marathon Medals

Kelly felt it was the right time in her life to make this trip. She had grown enough and had some understanding of the world and was most importantly, she was eager to learn.

She traveled to twelve countries and ran Marathons in Ecuador, New Zealand, Thailand, Sweden and Kenya.  She spent her down time learning more about each country and volunteering where she could.

I was impressed by the honesty she exhibited in our conversation. It was clear that she had reached the depth of her own emotions. Kelly shared,” I cried a lot during the journey. It made me get in touch with me, the me that I knew existed. I was doing this by myself and only had myself to count on to get through these moments.” She went on to say, “Things were hard and I had to go with it, figure it out.”

Kelly was given a special gift to travel to such a diversity of cultures that move so differently adding to that, language. Kelly minored in Spanish so that helped her in Peru, Argentina, and Ecuador. Yet her most challenging stop was India.  She spent three and a half months in India and Nepal. India was different in more ways than one. Gender roles, body language such as eye contact had different meaning in this country.

India with all its complications was the most spiritual leg of the journey. Kelly spent two weeks doing yoga and eating well. At the time she was reading the Time Traveler’s Wife and the images became real as she was facing her own search for clarity in who she was and what she wants.

Another stop that stands out is Kenya. Kelly spent two months in Kenya and volunteered with Action for Cheetahs in Kenya as well as Takatifu Gardens, an English program in primary school near the city of Kisumu.

Although there were many differences that stood out she did find similarities in Sweden and New Zealand mostly due to the fact that she no longer stood out. It was at this point in Sweden (nine months into the voyage) that she felt a great sense of closure to this adventure and knew it was time to come home.

Kelly was in New Zealand during the elections. She found it fascinating to see how people outside of the US were paying such attention to the elections and how many were rooting for Barack Obama.

Kelly best Marathon result was 4:21 in Thailand where she was 4th in her category. AMAZING!!

Sitting with Kelly I felt this great sense of peace which she later confirmed that she feels in her mind, with herself and with her body.

I admire her bravery to take on such an adventure. I remained in contact with Kelly during her journey and felt the change in her words as she went along and now I am moved by her visual change. You see the story in her movement and hear it in her voice.

Kelly will be the guest speaker at our Women of Diverse Cultural Background Circle Meeting on September 23rd at 6pm at Healthworks Brookline. She will share more about the trip, the countries and issues such as body image and health.

At the end of our sit down I asked Kelly what is the deepest change? She responded with no hesitation, I feel more positive, open minded, free spirited and filled with more knowledge and more confident. I feel like me again but so much cooler!!!!!



What do you think about Kelly’s Journey? Share your experiences about traveling. Leave your comments.