And so it begins… The journey to Iraq.

The last month has been one of the most confusing and challenging times in my life. Here’s what has happened.

I received an email from the director of the International Medical Corps in Iraq (an email I had been waiting to receive for quite some time) stating that he was looking for an intern reporter to join his team, and was wondering if I was interested. HELL YES I AM INTERESTED.

I replied immediately, received a call from him the next day… and landed the job over the phone after a five minute interview. (Keep in mind, this is the TOP official for the IMC in Iraq… What he say’s… GOES.) I notified my parents, and that’s when the CHAOS and confusion began.

None of us knew what to expect, especially me. My father, who I have nothing but respect for, advised me to get packed and be ready to leave within two days. I am no rookie when it comes to picking up and leaving for a new adventure… as I would like to say “This wasn’t my first Rodeo.”

I was ready, excited, and eager to leave Missoula… head back to Raleigh to say farewell to my parents, and hop on a plane for Baghdad. Unfortunately, what I thought would be a simple process has turned out to be nothing of the sort.

First off: There was “an email problem” that kept me out of the loop for about a week.( I found this out later of course)

I was told I would be hearing from Human Resources the same day I got offered the job… I never heard from them. I asked my parents what to do, and was FIRMLY instructed to not bother HR in Washington and to be patient. The last word, in that last sentence, is something I am so very not.

I couldn’t wait any longer. Against my parents FIRM instructions, I packed my car extremely impulsively at around 8pm on a Friday night and began the long trek from Montana to Raleigh. I drove into the night and through the morning for about 14 hours ecompassing  some of the West’s most desolate country; until I reached a small town in bumf*** South Dakota the next morning. I found a hotel and hunkered down, and called my parents to let them know that against there will I was coming home. This didn’t go over well with them. After getting blown out by my father, I found myself extremely emotionally shot… My mind wasn’t in the right place, and I made one of the worst decisions I will ever make on that sunny summer day. In a moment of weakness, I made one of the hardest decisions I will ever make. I killed my dog.

I was instructed by my father to get back into my car and head back to Montana until I got a call confirming my departure date. I said F*** that and stayed put. I had no job (I quit it for this opportunity) I had no home (I “quit” my lease in Montana) and I didn’t have a dog anymore. I was a mess to say the least.

The next morning I woke up to my phone ringing. It was a strange number that I did not recognize. I picked up groggily, fresh from a bad nightmare. A man with a strong british accent was on the other end of the line, he said “Steele, I am so sorry we have not gotten in touch with you sooner… There was a confusion regarding your position in Iraq and how to reach you, are you still interested.” HELL YES IM STILL INTERESTED.

From that moment on the ball started rolling; Fast.

Let’s just say this trip isn’t like going to Disney Land. First off, they don’t send interns to Iraq… So, to my benefit, I was offered a full time consulting position. I accepted immediatly. My job title officially reads “Reporting Consultant for the Country of Iraq.” The Contract is for one year, pays incredibly well, and offer’s me freedoms that I did not expect, and will not get into. I will have a security team with me at all times, and trust me… judging by the pictures I’ve seen… They make the secret service look like mall cops by comparison. My journey begins now. The past is behind me, and the future is wide open. I am not doing this to prove that I am “tough” or to improve my resume. The money is an after thought. The reason I am doing this is because I believe in OUR GENERATION. Just look at the Arab Spring, and look at what a bunch of people our age did… Dictators resigned or were killed, and people’s voices were heard. We are unique, and what we do will change the world. Heres to our future. God willing.

Steele Carrington Williams