“To see the world, things dangerous to come to, to see behind walls, draw closer, to find each other, and to feel. That is the purpose of life.” (The Secret Life of Walter Mitty)
For the next six weeks, I’m going to be traveling throughout Southeast Asia on a sabbatical of sorts. My goals for the trip are three-fold: 1) To volunteer and do some good for the world, 2) To learn firsthand how climate change is affecting people on the opposite side of the planet, a part of the world I am totally unfamiliar with, and 3) To self reflect, to meditate, and to come home loving myself.
1 ) Go Light Our World: I met a young woman on Instagram who runs her own nonprofit that works to diminish poverty in rural regions of developing countries with solar solutions. She’s also a yogi—a beautifully genuine and reflective one. So I reached out to her, told her that something in the universe was telling me we had to meet. She was so warm and invited me to join her yoga retreat-workshop in Bali, Indonesia at a discounted rate. We’re not sure of what kind of collaboration might be in our future – maybe I’ll provide some written content for and about her nonprofit, or maybe the two of us will simply brainstorm on communication efforts.
Elephant Valley Park: An elephant sanctuary in the jungles of northeast Cambodia, this place was recommended to me by my boss at the Environmental Investigation Agency as a potentially worthwhile organization to volunteer with. So for one week I’m going to be working with elephants and the organization’s day-in-day-out operations. Afterward, I promised to write about and make a short video about their work.
Free the Bears: A bear sanctuary outside of Phnom Penh, Cambodia, this sanctuary rescues bears from abuse and exploitation. Currently the sanctuary is home to sun and moon bears, and for a few days, I’ll get to learn about them and support the organization’s daily operations. Afterward I’ll also write about and create a short video about their work.
2) Often a theme these days when I travel anywhere new, I’m going to ask local people if they know about climate change, and if they do, if they see it affecting their lives and livelihoods. Do they think their government, their community is doing enough to address it? Do they know how they can help? What kind of problem is this to them?
3) To keep this brief, because this could be a long entry, I’ve grown restless and dissatisfied with where I am both professionally and personally. I obsess over being perfect and it’s become debilitating. I’m using this trip as an opportunity to go off-grid, remove myself from the pressures of the “reality” I live in where I feel the need to constantly perform. While I realize I’m living a life many people only dream of, it’s become exhausting to be me. My parents say that I’m not going to suddenly love myself while on a vacation, and I think they’re right to an extent. But on the other hand, when I travel, I feel free. I am wildly me when I travel: fearless and beautiful. It’s almost as if I channel Her.
So follow along with the journey here. I’ll be posting here and on my social media as often as I can. Until then, adventure is out there. xo