In August 2007, I boarded a flight for Bangkok, Thailand completely unaware of just how much the next 10 months would change my life.
Honestly, I was in a bad place before I left. A broken relationship, growing up, college graduation, worries about the future…it had all really gotten to me. I knew I needed to just get out and away from it all. And well, you can’t get much farther away than Bangkok, which is approximately 8,337 miles from my parents’ home.
Teaching English at a bilingual school was good, although I realized I lacked a certain thing called ‘patience,’ and teaching was not my calling. However, the traveling was AMAZING!
First, it was China and Laos over fall break…
spot the outsider at the local market in Old Kunming, China
posing with riding a tuk-tuk in Luang Prabang, Laos
…then the islands of Thailand over Christmas…
enjoying the warm waters of Koh Samui
…before my time abroad came to a close with a trip across the border to Cambodia.
the amazing Khmer temple of Angkor Wat by sunrise
just hanging out at the Suor Prat towers
Traveling not only helps you grow as a person, but it gives you an appreciation for what you have.
For the first time in my life, I saw with my own eyes serious, pervasive poverty. This is not to say the U.S. doesn’t have its own socioeconomic issues, but the poverty I saw in Southeast Asia was unlike any other. I really cannot explain just how little so many people have there. The very foundations of life – shelter, water and food – are practically obsolete to too many.
Why am I suddenly bringing this up?
Why, thank you for asking!
Last week, my boss asked us to write our Christmas lists so she could go shopping for the holidays. I opened my mini notepad, grabbed a pen and began to brainstorm. The only thing was, I couldn’t come up with much. My list looked something like this…
- French press
- tabletop bamboo compost bucket
- digital converter box (for my TV)
As I racked my brain for more ideas, I looked at the list and well, here is my truth,…
I don’t need any of it.
Would I like those things? Sure. Do I need any of it? No.
I have a full-time job, have some side projects that kick in a lil’ bit of dough and all-around have a good life. I get to enjoy my two favorite things – healthy, yummy food + traveling – and happen to have a pretty awesome circle of family + friends.
So, instead of presents this Christmas (and birthday!), I am asking for donations to help build a well in Cambodia. Did you know 2/3 of Cambodians don’t have access to clean drinking water? By building a well, not only are we giving a community that gift but also putting local Cambodians to work in the process.
And if you are so inclined, I would be honored if you all would help me out.
I know money is tight for all of us, but the minimum donation is just $10. In our foodie world, that may mean cutting back on buying a new nut butter or two at the grocery store or perhaps skipping Greek yogurt for a week or two. In the grand scheme of things, that’s but a blip on the radar.
If you are feeling merry this holiday season,
please click here to help me build a well in Cambodia!
If you feel so inclined, please link back to this on your blog or encourage others to donate. Again, I am hoping for $1000 by Christmas so we can provide clean drinking water to rural Cambodians living without such basic necessities.
Thank you all so much – y’all are the best, and I promise regular posting shall resume tomorrow!
Love to all.