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Why Giving Back Matters

This story takes me back several years ago, 8 to be precise. home at the time, NYC, for the trip of a lifetime throughout Southeast Asia. On rail, foot, planes, and boats I crossed borders and zig zagged through the jungles and cities of Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Japan, Hong Kong and Korea. Stimulating would be an understatement, my world, my bubble was upended and I would never view things the same. That is the beauty of travel, to view a different way of life and culture up close and tear away all of your preconceived prejudices. In Vietnam we rode motorcycles through the most idyllic rice fields and mountains you could ever imagine. In Hanoi, we sampled the french vietnamese culinary scene to the delight of our taste buds. In Thailand we traveled south to the islands and beaches made famous by Leonardo Dicaprio, and the unfortunate boxing day tsunami. The coral reefs were amazing and the pad thai and curries second to none. Crossing over into Laos was a throw back in time, and time itself seemed to stand still. The laotians redefined being laid back and knew how to relax, particularly compared to the frenetic pace of life in Bangkok.

Reminders of our past wars would surface whether in the newspapers of Ho Chi Minh reporting agent orange birth defects or our time hiking in Laos where little UXO’s (unexploded ordinances) dotted the landscape. In Cambodia we discovered the ruins of Angkor Wat and found a home volunteering at ACODO orphanage teaching English. The kids were excited to learn a new language that would give them opportunities beyond their borders.

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