“I want to treat every single human being with respect and compassion and unconditional love”
What did your family think of you quitting the job?
Yea they were super supportive of it, they never said don’t do it!! They just were supportive. I don’t know, I had spent six months researching online volunteer opportunities abroad, just seeing what was out there. For some reason I landed on Nepal on a little orphanage and I contacted them and got the ball rolling. I kind of, no I definitely knew in my head that I was totally set to do this and nothing was going to change my mindset. I knew I was going to leave my job, I knew I was going to book a one way ticket to Nepal and go to this orphanage and see where it took me, and that’s what I did but my family were so incredibly supportive that was just a huge help.
A lot of my friends who are doing something similar, their families think they are insane and they’re asking when are you coming back? When are you going to get a job? When are you going to settle down? Their response is I am settled! I am settled I am just not settled in American suburbia and that’s how I feel, I am settled, this is my life, it’s not for everyone, it is for me. It’s not what everyone desires but it is my life and I am very comfortable with it, I love it!
So what made it possible – somewhere along the way you decided there were different life choices, different possibilities to what most of us see growing up in Suburban America?
(A slight hesitation) I think that has definitely taken shape gradually and just over the years realizing that you don’t need so much of the stuff we have here and we are conditioned to think that we need in the Western world. Like I don’t need a car, I don’t even need a house, fancy clothes even. I don’t need any of that material stuff to be happy and fulfilled. I just need to work and work to be productive. None of the material things I had were making me happy.
I don’t think I totally got that till I was in Nepal. I was actually living with a family when I first arrived to Nepal. I was just living in a traditional Nepali house that was just minimal. Sometimes we cooked by fire outside, we would grow all our own food. I had a bed and I had a toilet out the back of the house. I would bathe a couple of times a week and you know life was different. All my basic needs were met and so much more. I started to realize with all these external things I didn’t place great value on my core values.
In Nepal core values are really important to the people here. Family and community is really important to the Nepali people, really really important. It’s just those human relationships, those genuine quality human relationships that are really important. I started to realize this. Wowwww (really stretched out this wow) this is really nice not to live in isolation. Wow this is really nice not to care about the car and driving. Wow this is really nice not to have to go to a shopping mall and care about buying nice things.
I realized you can live a life that’s much more minimalistic. I realized that it doesn’t detract from my happiness it does the exact opposite in my opinion it just makes me happier. I think all those things had a tendency to distract me from what I am really here for. We created these things and they are just a façade. When I bought into it I was inevitably going to be unhappy. I was constantly going to be comparing myself to other people who have more. There will always be people that have more than me so I was always going to be unhappy.
So if you tear down the façade what’s left?
Just honesty. Who I truly am. I think I got to what are my true values. What do I want to live my life by? I turned the focus inward; here before I went to Nepal I was focused so much externally. All these things that happen around me. When I took all those away I didn’t have all of those things to distract me. I turned inward and I really started to look at myself. The way I act in life and the choices that I make. I decided I am not making the choices that I want to make. I started to make the steps to let me change. Maybe if I break it down even further than that what core values are really important to me? What do I really want to base my whole life around? When I did that I had to put some thought into it. I think getting all the static out of my life really opened up the space to do that.
Who truly is Brooke Laura?
Ammmmmmmmmmmm well I actually should really know this because I just spent a month working on my personal vision statement so it is a good question to have.
So who am I? I am someone who seeks truth, I want to treat every single human being with respect and compassion and unconditional love. I want to help others and have no limits to that. I want to enjoy life. I want to live it to its fullest and I want to inspire people to do the same, to follow their heart. I want to really do what I feel like I am meant to do. If I don’t know I search and continue searching. I don’t have to live a life of mediocrity I can have the life I want. I realize I hold the power to make this decision.
So are you still searching?
I think maybe I will be for the rest of my life. I feel like I always strive. I never want to stop learning so I am searching for knowledge and expanding my horizons. But I’m really happy at the place that I am at in my life as well. But yeah there is always the next step; there is always something more out there yeah I think the search continues. (finishes saying this with a big smile on her face that speaks more than words about Brooke’s enjoyment of her journey)