Welcome to my first blog post! First things first let's address the title. As some of you know, sometime last year, in a fit of self- absorption, I changed my Instagram bio to an original Molly Lipman quote. I would describe it as an inspirational comment on the 2000's hit Who Let The Dogs Out by the Baha Men. I chose to focus on the root of the problem that these so called Baha Men were singing about instead of playing the blame game, as I thought they were doing. The Instagram bio read "'Stop worrying about who let the dogs out and start trying to get them back' -Molly Lipman." Now as you might imagine by the wisdom of this quote, it was a frequent point brought up in discussions among friends. As I was looking for a title for this blog, I was persuaded by my roaring fans (shout-out to Maggie and Akash) to incorporate my defining quote. I digress (another shout-out to Mr. Frese for the awesome saying).
So here I am in Thailand! After a long 27 hours of travel through Hong Kong, Singapore and finally Thailand, we arrived in Chiang Mai, a city of about 400,000 people in the north of Thailand. Overwhelmed by beautiful mountains and a scary language barrier, the nine of us (seven girls and two program leaders) managed through some hefty jet lag. Our first ten-ish days were spent at the Imm Eco Resort for what Thinking Beyond Borders (TBB) calls orientation. We got to know the city, visited with some partnering organizations, learned some Thai, and were introduced to seminars. These are discussions that are a part of the ever wise TBB curriculum. We will be continuing seminars regularly for the rest of the program as we make our way through the agriculture unit in Thailand and the education unit in India. On our last day in Chiang Mai, we had the privilege to visit Jeff Rutherford's Faith Earth Farm and learn about the history of organic farming and how important it is today. I suggest the movie The Worm Is Turning: Ecological Farming The Real Revolution for anyone (skeptics and believers!) interested in learning more about the topic. This morning we drove five hours out of the city to a facility run by the Upland Holistic Development Program (UHDP). We will be here for about five days working on the farm, learning about seed banks, natural feed and more, and working on our Thai. Then we will be going to a rural village and doing home-stays for about three weeks with a family that has an organic farm. Here at UHDP we are very lucky to have internet access, but I can't promise any amount of frequency for this blog after we make our way to the village. After Thailand, the next stops on our voyage are Ankor Wat, Cambodia for a week and then Dehli, India for five weeks. I'm so excited to be able to have this opportunity to work with such an amazing program, and I'm ready to take on the challenges and excitement of these next two and a half months!
p.s. I suggest to anyone looking into a gap year to check out TBB's website and what they're all about https://www.thinkingbeyondborders.org/