Tides of change

This week, Blue Dragon’s Kim Miller writes a guest post for Life Is A Long Story. Her journey – and the challenge before her – are an example of true courage.

By my desk sits a postcard that starts with the words: ‘Pick the path that lights you up.’

I’ve come to believe that happiness and fulfillment, the ‘light’, doesn’t arrive in neat packages of peace and contentment. 

Rather, I feel most alive and alight in the moments of grit; when I’m being challenged, when I’m working towards something new, and when I can see a way forward that’s possible, but not necessarily a given, that it will be successful. 

Since 2014 I’ve felt that feeling of fulfillment most through my work with Blue Dragon. 

Every person on our team inspires me in their own way and makes me want to be a better person. 

I’ve seen the worst of what can happen when vulnerable young people are left to fend for themselves. I’ve also seen the powerful impact that a single person can have when they provide the care and scaffolding needed to support a young person to go from surviving to thriving. 

And the power of us working together to create the sort of change needed to do something as momentous as ending human trafficking? Unstoppable!

In 2020, yes mid-pandemic, I left Vietnam, where I was living, to return home to Australia. I still work for Blue Dragon, but I commenced a new hybrid role working mostly remotely from Sydney. 

I felt joyful to be closer to my Australian family and friends and I was excited about the impact I could have for Blue Dragon by collaborating alongside our Australian supporters… But I was left with a Blue Dragon sized hole in my heart from the absence of living and working at the epicentre of the action. 

In time, I learned to (mostly) fill that hole with ocean swimming (combined with semi-regular trips back to my Hanoi home).

Only in the ocean do I find the same level of immersion, challenge, perseverance, mindfulness and grit that I feel through my work. 

Qualifying for the English Channel swim involves spending long hours in frigid waters to prepare for the gruelling conditions in reality.

So what better way to combine these two passions than to use my passion for swimming to keep vulnerable young people safe from human trafficking? 

This July, I’ll swim 34 kilometres across the frigid water of the English Channel for Blue Dragon. I’m aiming to raise $200,000 AU, which is enough to protect 70,000 people from the horrors of human trafficking. Right now, I’m close to halfway towards that goal.

And when the swimming gets tough, as I know it will, I won’t stop, because it’s such a privilege to be able to choose our challenges in life – a privilege that victims of slavery and human trafficking aren’t afforded by the people who exploit them.

I want every stroke and action I take in life to bring someone else a little closer to that same freedom. 

You can donate to Kim’s Big Blue English Channel Swim here; and you can follow her blog, LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram or email: kim@bdcf.org.