Jourdan Boyd, 24, is leaving behind the comforts of home to spend 11 months traveling to 11 countries where she will let love shine as a volunteer.
"For these 11 months, I have to pack everything I need, including my tent, to live out of for the year," said Boyd of Charleston. "The purpose of the trip? To love. We will be going and loving on people in the world who need it most."
Her work will include visiting orphanages, helping with feeding programs and building houses. She will show compassion to people suffering from AIDS and talk to those caught in the web of human trafficking.
Boyd will be participating in Adventure in Mission's World Race, a mission program geared for those ages 21 to 35.
On Oct. 12 she will leave for a training session in Georgia with other participants where there will be drills and simulated situations that could occur on the journey that is to begin in January.
The week of training may include anything from sleeping on a bus to hiking or eating fish head soup, she said. Participants must be physically fit and emotionally ready to face the unexpected.
Boyd believes she is up to the challenge - even if she's asked to eat an unusual food.
"In some cultures, if it's offered it's offensive not to eat it," she said. "I can eat anything if it's necessary."
She will quit her job at National Travel and put her belongings in storage to take the journey. Her parents will watch her dog while she's gone.
She'll live with what she can fit into a backpack - and it must weigh less than 50 pounds to take it on the plane. However, she wants it well below that weight because she must carry it wherever she goes.
"I will carry my tent, a sleeping pad, clothes for a year, and necessary medications, such as enough malaria medicine to last a year," she said. "I will take pictures of my family and my dog. I've bought a West Virginia Mountaineer pillow pet. That will be my pillow for the year so I can have a little piece of home."
Boyd grew up in Chesapeake and attended Cross Lanes Christian School before heading to Florida where she majored in marketing at Southeastern University near Orlando. While in college, she worked at Disney World, where she portrayed Mickey Mouse, a character that fit well with her five-foot frame.
Her parents, Jeff and Kathy Boyd, live in Dallas, Texas, where her father is a pastor at Gateway Church. Her sister, Olivia, also lives there with her daughter, 18-month-old Layla. Olivia is a single parent and Jourdan's best friend.
Boyd said it will be hard not seeing her family for nearly a year, but she will stay in touch through social media whenever possible.