May 5th I started my very first journey to Southeast Asia. Although I had an itinerary in hand and what I thought was an extensive knowledge of the land, there was no amount of books or movies that could have prepared me for the beauty of this part of the world. The people’s warm attitudes and kind smiles are the only thing that could over out shine the surrounding scenery. I have completely and utterly fallen in love with Southeast Asia. I could go on and on and on about each and every incredibly amazing detail, but I don’t think the space in this blog would allow for it. Below is a highlight from each city my family and I toured.… CONTINUE READING »
One of Siem Reap’s many squatters’ villages is a short walk from the Journeys Within B&B. JWOC built its first wells there and I went to check it out with Brandon and some volunteer students from Loyola Marymount University. Brandon wants to get a business started that the JWOC scholarship students can run themselves, so we went into the village to research business ideas and assess the need for different services.
There are places blocked off where potential roads will go if they’re ever built, but for now the village is connected by a sequence of dusty tan trails. Some structures are built with corrugated metal or wood and seem relatively sound, while others are thatched with palm leaves or draped with tarps.… CONTINUE READING »
Our Vietnam guide training got off to a bumpy start this year. As Brandon pointed out, the positive side was we got to check out the response to an accident at the Siem Reap airport and we got to try out the SOS clinic in Hanoi, the negative side was why we got to try these out.
We arrived at the Siem Reap airport nice and early for our big trip. We loaded up the luggage carts and I checked us in while Narla and Brandon got ice cream with the kids. As I was paying the departure tax Callie came running up, singing her “we’re going to Vietnam” song. She grabbed the back of our luggage cart and swung. With all the luggage now out of it and only hand luggage on the top basket it was top heavy and crashed down on top of her.… CONTINUE READING »
People often seem to think that I am making up some of the stories I tell about Brandon. I am always talking about how he started the non profit and how he is now teaching at the local university and how we have more staff than we know what to do with because he likes hiring people. When you meet Brandon it is actually pretty easy to miss his sensitive side. He makes fun of people, he is highly opinionated and as we all agree, just a bit weird. I thought Brandon’s Valentine’s Day present to me shows the kind of person he is beneath the grumpy guy who hates being woken up and whose favorite hobby is getting kicked in the head.… CONTINUE READING »
It’s 3:00 in the morning, we’ve just finished the last leg of our 18 hour journey, we’ve landed in a foreign country, our minds are as disheveled as our bed head and Jet-lag has become a new four letter word. The thought of smiling was as foreign as the country we were now in – but that was all about to change. Waiting for our bags at the Bangkok Airport my soon to be 2 year old son Gavin had decided that the middle of the walkway was as good as a place to take a nap as any. While I was mortified and trying to maintain some sort of composure, an unusual thing happened. The local staff began surrounding us and smiling saying hello and asking “Can I take a picture?” .… CONTINUE READING »