About Me

Welcome to Understanding Intent!

I’m Allison. I was born in South Carolina and studied in Nashville. I began my career as an investment banking analyst in Atlanta and San Francisco. I enjoyed living the big city life and sharing a bottle of wine with friends.

I felt, however, as if there were something missing. Weekend trips to Lake Tahoe and a window office overlooking the bay, all made me feel like I had somehow “made it in life.” What I couldn’t understand though was “why.”

Instead of pondering these thoughts from my charming, Victorian apartment in San Francisco, I packed my bags. All in search for the answer to the question, “what is the purpose of life?”


I began my journey in Kenya. I was consulting with businesses that had positive social and environmental impacts. I began to recognize the importance of change, by challenging preconceived notions and by understanding what was truly important in daily life. Then, unexpectedly, I fell in love with a handsome and philosophizing Colombian.

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Although I did not speak any Spanish, I decided to continue my journey to Bogota, Colombia. Together, we immersed ourselves in Colombian culture, as we learned more about love and life together. I started to understand how to love someone unconditionally and the joy of being welcomed into a family that wasn’t my own.

After another year, my journey continued to Brazil. Here, the love of my life and I lived like locals and took up Portuguese. I learned how to live life slower and more thoughtfully, sharing meals with Airbnb hosts and riding bicycles around new landscapes.

Now four years after I started this journey, I have moved back the U.S. and am living in Boston. I am thankful to be in graduate school studying public policy to learn how I can develop policies that improve the quality of life of citizens around the world. I am energized in the day to day by the lectures, readings, discussions and electrifying atmosphere of Harvard University.


I take life day by day. Moment by moment. Understanding intent is just part of how we make the most of these short and, at times, complicated lives we live.

I use this blog to share my reflections on life, as I seek to discover what it is we are all doing here. Please feel free to share your thoughts, while we all seek to understand intent and the purpose of life.

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4 thoughts on “About Me

  1. Hi Allison,
    I came across your page on an expat forum website — I work for ViaHero, a new online platform that connects travelers to local trip planners who create customized itineraries with local insights. We’re expanding to Colombia and we’re looking for locals who are interested in earning money planning trips. I’d be happy to send you more details if you’re interested — right now we have trip planners in Cuba, Iceland and Japan and we’re expanding to most of Latin America over the next year or two. Trip planners get paid based on the length of the trip they are putting together, and planners don’t act as guides or even ever meet the travelers in person, they simply put together a plan for the traveler to use while they are in-country. Anyway, let me know if might be interested — it’s a great source of extra income and it would be a way for you to help people connect to Colombia in a more authentic way.

    Thanks for your time and hope to hear from you —



  2. Hi

    My name is Joyce, I am a marketing executive at expatfinder.com which is a leading expat information and services website.

    I saw on your blog that you are and expat. I wish to interview you to further share some of your tips. The questions are mainly about the housing, the daily life etc.

    It just takes 5 minutes (or more depending if you have lots to say 🙂

    Of course, if you accept we can add a link to your blog or some of your website.

    If you are interested to participate at this project, please send me an email at interview@expatfinder.com.


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