John Williams

lake placid, new york

To me, “Give’r” means seeking and committing to adventure in mind, body and spirit. “Give’r” is a process; it’s doing whatever you are doing with purpose and passion. It’s people who continually embrace challenge with contagious enthusiasm and unbreakable determination.

Growing up in Baltimore, MD, I looked forward to spending every summer in the White Mountains of NH. After graduating from Colgate University in 2010, I pursued a lifelong dream by moving out west to ski for a season in Alta, UT, teaching me the value of doing what you love. 

Itching for my next adventure, I accepted an invitation to serve as a Peace Corps Volunteer. That decision has led me to where I am today, living in Suriname’s tropical rainforest in the Saramaccan village of Ligorio, which I reach by traveling two days inland up the Suriname River in a motorized, hand-made canoe. In Ligorio, I try to “give’r” by engaging in local traditions (such as speaking Saramaccan, fishing for piranha and building dug-out canoes) and have come to realize the joy in empowering others to achieve their goals. Living two years with people who I used to call foreigners but now friends has been transformative, and has expanded my definition of “give’r” to include the way we approach our relationships with ourselves and others.