Fran’s Lands Begins

Thanks for joining me!

You may know me and you may not. Regardless, I’d say it’s time for a grand introduction, where you learn all the sappy details about my life and travels. Just kidding. I’ll keep it somewhat short and to the point.


Hometown: Benton Harbor, Michigan, USA

Education: junior at Cornell University with double major (International Agriculture and Rural Development, Development Sociology) and triple minor (Southeast Asian Studies, Leadership, International Trade and Development)

Screen Shot 2018-05-28 at 8.53.42 PM.jpg

Favorite Entree: paneer tikka masala (not out of a box!)

Family Life: grew up with 2 amazing parents, including a UPS driver dad and stay-at-home mom; also put up with an overachieving but highly motivational older brother

Image (162)
Here I am finishing the final pieces of my pancake at my pancake eating competition.


Fun Facts (I’ll share 3 for kicks):

  1. Only drank water entire life (except as a baby)
  2. Won a restaurant’s pancake eating contest
  3. Graduated high school in a class of 13 students


Hobbies: writing, bicycling, weight lifting, playing piano and accordion

What Excites Me: my faith in Jesus Christ, ensuring everyone has access to quality food, anything related to India, muffins, Trevor Noah

3 words I want to be:

  1. Passionate
  2. Driven
  3. Authentic

Now that that’s all over, the more exciting part of my post is to come… But first, I do want to make something abundantly clear: I’m not rich at all. I just apply for academic programs and grants and save some spending money for excursions. 

Fran’s Land’s 7-Month Itinerary

Note that my plans are subject to revision. After all, life is full of surprises!

Nation 1

Malang, Indonesiamid-June to mid-August 2018

Gamelan 2
Indonesia’s traditional gamelan
  • Purpose: US Critical Language Scholarship Program (means speaking 0 English for 2 months), living with host family, cultural trips, studying at one of the country’s oldest universities
  • Goal: learn a traditional instrument called the gamelan (check it out here)


Nation 2

Bangkok and Chiang Mai, Thailand – mid to late August 2018

Southeast Asia Bangkok Thailand Road Traffic
Bangkok’s scooter scene
  • Purpose: taste epic pad thai, enjoy Thai massage, rent scooter, see ancient sites with friend
  • Goal: ride an elephant


Nation 3

Durban, Johannesburg, and Cape Town, South Africa –  late August to early December 2018

The Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Game Reserve in South Africa


  • Purpose: study abroad through the School for International Training, living with 3 host families, learning Zulu, and submitting journalism piece for media group
  • Goal: get published in a national periodical


Nation 4

Swaziland a few days between September and December 2018

Tribal women in Swaziland
  • Purpose: study abroad educational trip
  • Goal: come back with exciting report for Swaziland-obsessed friend


Nation 5

Mozambique8 days between September and December 2018

Seafood Moz
Mozambique is well known for its seafood sensations
  • Purpose: another study abroad educational trip to learn the country’s role in South Africa’s anti-apartheid independence
  • Goal: eat authentic African seafood


Nation 6

Victoria Falls, Zimbabweearly December 2018

The Fall of the Angels is a 13-minute helicopter ride over the Zimbabwe side of Victoria Falls
  • Purpose: take a helicopter ride over Victoria Falls promised by my friend (it’s called the “Flight of Angels”)
  • Goal: take too many pictures


Nation 7

Kazungula, Botswanaearly December 2018

Kazungula is a river crossing involving the borders of 4 countries: Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, and Namibia.
  • Purpose: ride a ferry, see wildlife
  • Goal: see lots of elephants


Nation 8

Livingstone and Lusaka, Zambiaearly to late December 2018

My Zambian church’s vision is to plant a church in every capital city of Africa by 2025.
  • Purpose: reunite with host mother, adopted church, and friends
  • Goal: go to Lusaka National Park, perfect my atrocious African dancing skills


Nation 9

Hyderabad, Indialate December 2018 to mid-January 2019

Two years ago, I did my first research project at ICRISAT in Hyderabad.
  • Purpose: perform senior honors thesis research (if I receive funds that I applied for), reuniting with old friends
  • Goal: generate a peer review research article, maybe see Taj Mahal (bucket list goal!)

Nation 10

Myanmar (Burma)mid to late January 2019 

rice field myanmar
Paddy farmers in Myanmar
  • Purpose: take a Cornell agriculture and development course (contingent on class itinerary)
  • Goal: carry on a decent Burmese conversation, under Rohingya crisis

Well, that does it! I plan to publish on a bi-weekly basis beginning in mid-June. My journey officially begins June 17 at the US Department of State in Washington DC, where I will post my final pre-international update before heading to Indonesia! Thanks for reading and until next time on Fran’s Lands! 










Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s