The Final Frontier

6 vaccinations

5 months of waiting

4 tubes of mosquito repellent

3 family members left behind

2 hugs at the airport

1 airplane seatbelt that I look at and muster the courage to buckle.

Today is the day that my adventure begins.

I am especially excited because I believe adventure is something that we, as a culture, have forgotten in our rush to modernize, gentrify, equalize, and hurry forward. Sure, we travel, we may even go to school in a different state then we are born in. But how many people today actually go on an adventure? A real adventure, where there is exploration, danger, excitement, and a vastly uncertain conclusion. Our old heros roamed the galaxy, explored star systems, and uncovered the ark of the covenant. But the super-heros we watch today simply seem to fight. Sure they fight for their cities, their friends, and (in recent media) against each other. This isn’t necessarily bad, but I believe the drive to explore to push boundaries to forget politics, race, religion, and to look towards the stars is a quality that my current generation has in short supply.

Now more than ever, as politics grind to a halt, as violence continues to erupt around the world, and as we continue to populate our planet and use its resources it would seem than there has scare been a more opportune time to imagine and dream of solutions. To explore. To have an adventure.

My adventure to India began like every great adventure, with a twist of fate. I stumbled across the flyer for the Summer in South Asia fellowship while searching through random documents that my Political Science professor had provided for our class online. Knowing my place as a lowly freshman, I decided to go through the process in my free time and use the application as a learning process for future jobs or internships and was floored upon being accepted as a Fellow.

I chose to volunteer on a one of a kind project known as the Lifeline Express. A team of medical professionals that navigate India’s extensive rail system in a train car that has been transformed into a surgical theatre. Volunteer physicians provide surgical and clinical care free of cost to those who cannot afford it or are unable to physically reach modern hospitals (A problem that seems to be taken for granted in our developed country). As someone who is pursuing pre-medical studies with a Political Science Major I wanted to decide on a research project that combined my two passions: Politics and medicine. So I decided on, “The safety, affordability, and effectiveness of mobile healthcare and its possible application in rural areas throughout the world” as my research thesis.

The changing world of health care is a vibrant issue in American politics as well as around the world. Addressing issues of healthcare access and affordability, especially in rural areas, is a vital part of ensuring proper standards and provision of one of the biggest and oldest professions on the planet and I hope I can contribute to the conversation.

During my trip I will explore in the cities of New Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, Siolim (Goa), Bengaluru (Bangalore), and Bhind to name a few. I will explore ancient ruins, modern cities, and barren deserts. Hopefully, I will even find an answer to the question I have posed for myself about the future of healthcare. I welcome all Facebook messages and emails you might have and I hope that through my travels you can renew your own sense of adventure.

I am not conceited enough to believe my trip is the “final frontier” of Star Trek the “Temple of Doom” that Indiana Jones braved, or even comparable to the expeditions led by the great adventurers in human history.

No, my adventure is more the Bilbo Baggins kind. An accidental adventure. Yet EVERY adventure is important. Not only do they all have a special and unique purpose, but they show us what we’re made of, help us grow, and let us see our world in a different way.

I am certain my adventure will change me for the better, and this blog may give you a chance to see that. Whatever happens, remember this: Never stop adventuring, always chase your final frontier.


Matthew Greydanus


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About Matthew Greydanus

Matthew is a freshman that is pursuing a degree in Political Science and focusing his studies on a pre-medical track. After graduation, he plans to attend medical school and has an interest in reconstructive plastic surgery. Matthew will be interning with IMPACT India, an organization which acts as a catalyst to bring together the Government, the corporate sector and existing NGOs in mass health programs of national priority. He will be spending five weeks interning on one of their chief projects, the Lifeline Express, which is the world’s first hospital on a train and is celebrating 25 years of service. The train has medically served more than 100,000 people in rural India, restoring sight, movement, hearing and correction of cleft lips, and many more types of surgery completely free of cost. Matthew’s final project will explore whether mobile health care is safe, effective and efficient and how this type of care could fill a needed void in rural outreach of health care systems in developed and developing nations alike.

2 thoughts on “The Final Frontier

  1. Well I must say, I’m inspired. The long-ago studied world explorers are a distant memory I left in elementary school (fifth grade was not my year), but this definitely gives reason to look up a few of those old names. It also inspires me to give The Hobbit another shot (sixth grade wasn’t my year either). It’s great you were able to meld your two passions into an experience that will push your boundaries on both, all while exploring one of the most amazing cultures on earth. I hope that you don’t encounter the Temple of Doom, but I’m sure you’re doing work that even Dr. Jones wouldn’t scoff at.

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