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Girls & Women

Dear Mom, I travel the world thanks to you!

This piece was contributed in support of Opportunity International, written by Allison Kooser, a freelance writer and currently a literal Global Citizen as she is backpacking around the world. She writes for Opportunity International and blogs about her trip at

Dear Mom,

I guess I should say thank you.

Thank you, of course, for all the obvious stuff – you know, the birth-giving and the child-raising and the food-providing. I wouldn’t be alive without it. Literally.

But this Mother’s Day – this one in particular - I want to thank you for something else. Something more abstract but equally important. And it’s similarly critical to me being where I am today.

Thank you for letting me chase my dreams.

A photo posted by Allison Kooser (@alkooser) on

Thank you for not stopping me that day I called you nearly two years ago to tell you that I wanted to quit my job, pack up my stuff, cancel my volunteer responsibilities and say goodbye to my friends.

I wanted to backpack around the world. Thank you for helping me make it happen.

It seemed a bit like a pipe dream back then – something that had long remained at the top of my bucket list, but was so big and scary and complicated. I had confidence that I was going to do it, but that didn’t make it any less crazy.

Dad was a ready supporter – more jealous than anything else, and eager to follow along my journey given his own propensity for world travel.

You were no less encouraging, but a bit more hesitant. Nervous. And rightfully so. Here was your daughter heading out into the great wide world alone, and there were you trying to figure out how to both cheer me on and maintain your sanity.

It was a tough balance, I’m sure.

But you never doubted me. You clarified the details, but you never questioned the plan – and that encouragement made all the difference. To know that I had my biggest supporters on my side made it possible for me to make my dream a reality.

It’s been 16 weeks so far, and I’m still grateful. Every day, I meet other women – other moms – around the world and I’ve realized something that seems to be universally true. 

 Mothers want the best for their children.

They want their kids to be successful and healthy and happy and wise.

They want their kids to be able to chase their dreams.

And the best moms - the moms that I have met in Colombia and the Philippines, China and Kenya, the Opportunity International clients and my neighbors close to home – these moms do whatever they can to help make it happen. 

A photo posted by Allison Kooser (@alkooser) on

Sometimes that means working extra hours to pay for school fees and books and uniforms. Sometimes it looks like learning new health and sanitation practices to better care for little ones. Sometimes it’s long days spent on the farm so the family has plenty to eat each night.

And sometimes it’s a mom cheering on her kid, telling her that anything is possible.

These moms are superheroes – each and every one of them.

So to all the mothers I have had the pleasure of meeting in the faraway and close to home places – you all inspire me. You are doing the hard, good, amazing work of raising, caring for and cheering on your kids. It deserves endless celebration (so I’m having a big party over on the Opportunity Quilt in your honor right now!)

And to my own mom – the one who has been my biggest fan and best hand-holder since day one – thank you for letting me be me. And thank you for making my dreams come true. 

A photo posted by Allison Kooser (@alkooser) on

I love you.



The views expressed here are not necessarily those of each of the partners of Global Citizen.