“It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.” – Ernest Hemingway

Growing up in an immigrant family, I heard stories about the great journey my family endured for a better life in America. We would begin our pilgrimage from Russia, then reside in Italy until our paperwork was completed and then finally to the United States. Requiring patience and sacrifice, the lessons of this long journey didn’t end on the shores of New York. And while I would continue to witness my parents’ journey after settling down in this new country, my own adventure would be a passage in cultural assimilation. I wasn’t ready for a new country, a new language, a new school and brand new customs. At five years-old, I remember locking myself in the bathroom so as to avoid my new American school. I didn’t want to go to a school where I wasn’t able to speak the language or communicate with my teacher or peers.

How quickly you forget this journey as an adult. Now, I speak both Russian and English fluently, am immersed in both cultures and communities, and call California my home. Seldom do I look back at my family’s journey to America or what it was that has brought me to this point in my life. It’s rare that we look back at a journey and think about all of the mile markers or stops along the way.

It wasn’t until I started dreaming about starting my own venture that I began thinking about my family’s expedition. How would I record or chronicle this new adventure? How could I ensure I wouldn’t miss the small lessons along the way?
Beginning with the purchase of my first Two Wings journal, I filled the pages with notes from meetings, ideas for future programs, and wisdoms gleaned from conferences. By referring back to these notes and ideas, I vowed to never forget what I had learned along the way.

My first entry—not at all what I thought it would be—was a To Do list. How would I learn something valuable from this post? I was determined for my next to have substance, so I waited. I began to curate my entries to include only important meetings or thoughts to ensure there was something worthwhile to come back to. My journal became a well-manicured story with little focus on the small, gritty details that makes the Two Wings’ story unique.

It wasn’t until I attended a conference where a non-profit had boldly addressed the need for transparency in the good and bad areas of organizational work. While transparency was a core value of our non-profit, in my mind, that didn’t mean tell our followers that we had come up short in certain programs and projects! Scary.

But by only writing down the good, the joy of enjoying this experience together had fizzled out. At that point, I made a new decision: write it ALL down. The good, the bad, and the ugly. If we came across a triumphant story, we would share it. If we had failed miserably in a new endeavor, we would let everyone know. By sharing our successes and our failures, we want others to join in on our story.

So, as Two Wings continues to grow as an organization, I want to invite you all on our journey. We promise to be honest about what we learn along the way, to be completely candid with the facts and to always share how this experience continues to change all of our lives.

Get ready for a crazy ride.

Written by Elena Bondar. Follow this series on the LIVE58 Blog.

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