Traveling through Southeast Asia has lived up to its promises of delicious food, beautiful scenery, and affable people.
Additionally, I’ve visited world heritage sites and heard breathtaking stories of empires and demise and fantastical tales of dragons shaping history.
Even with all that, it is clear that the friends I’ve made along the way have had the greatest impact on me. The relationships and interactions I had, however brief, create emotional experiences and memories that give my travel meaning and significance.
Sure, visiting these beautiful places is great, but the people you meet share a piece of themselves with you. That exchange is priceless. Here are just a few of those exchanges…
Happy is a rambunctious, playful, 7 week-old Asian elephant. She loves eating sugar cane, bathing in the river, and ramming the tourists in spirited fashion. In Thailand, I participated in Mahout training, which teaches you how to care for elephants, including bathing them in the river. Just imagine- 3-ton elephants rolling around, spraying their trunks, and wrestling with each other!
This incredible experience is made even more amazing when you realize that elephants are sentient beings; meaning they experience feelings, have empathy for others, and bond with their group. Watch my video with the elephants to learn more!
Lucky is an ambitious 20 year-old from Cambodia and was my tuk-tuk driver. He’s from a small, rural village, but moved to the big city with this older brother to make his own way. Together, they purchased 2 tuk-tuks (taxis/pedicabs) and are determined to be the best drivers in Siem Reap! At night, he’s taking classes to learn English and Chinese.
He’s youthful and excited energy was intoxicating and made our time with him so enjoyable. I was so impressed by his aspirations that I wanted to share them with you!
Friendly had such a calming and confident presence that assured me she could make a beautiful dress. Friendly is a tailor in Vietnam, whose specialty is custom tailored clothes just to your liking.
Friendly was so present and attentive when measuring and fitting me, and said she was willing to do whatever it takes to make me happy with the outcome. When do you ever get service and attention like that?
Friendly also loves her job! She said several times that she’s happy when she sees her customers happy with their new clothes. Time was no issue for her, as she was patient, mindful, and not the least bit pressured.
I learned so much from the way she works. I hope to incorporate Friendly’s attitude in my work and share her mantras with all of you!
I'm coming home soon! Make sure to contact my assistant Kirsten with any schedule changes at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'm looking forward to seeing you all again soon!