Travel Necessities

Long Flights. They are a necessity for arriving in exotic destinations where adventures await, but it's often knowing you'll arrive eventually that get's us through the trip. I am currently sitting in the Toronto Airport waiting for my 15+ hour flight to Hong Kong. This is my second last flight in my journey to Chiang Mai, Thailand. I've eaten a Gorp Energy Bar, a few dried cranberries, am charging my cell phone for maximum battery life (mostly so I can listen to Christmas music during my travels), and my water bottle is full. So aside from being well prepared with snacks, and obviously not forgetting your phone charger, what other ways can you make an long travel day more enjoyable? Here are my top travel necessities: 1 - A good book. I know, I know, how generic! A good book?! Seriously?! Yes, I am serious. You can't tell me you've [...]

2016-11-10T05:28:35+00:00

Dreams Come True!: Thailand

“Dreams come true!” Ask anyone I am surrounded by on a daily basis; I say the above statement quite frequently in regards to the silliest, simplest things. Example: At work a co-worker will leave chicken for me to use on pizzas. She’ll say something like “Aelea, I left you chicken for pizzas!” and I’ll respond with “Dreams come true!” Another Example: At work a co-worker will have taken out the compost already and my response will be “Dreams come true!” I don’t know when I started saying it, I really don’t know why I say it so often, but a good part of me guesses it’s due to the whole ‘choosing positivity in every situation’ thing I try to do. Anytime something good happens I respond with “dreams come true!” It’s like giving an extra shot of enthusiasm to the little things that help make life awesome. When I think [...]

2014-06-05T15:30:00+00:00

Greenhouses & Elephants: Thailand

One of the best parts of Hero Holiday trips with Live Different is the ‘building project’. This project will vary depending what trip you happen to be attending. In Mexico and Dominican Republic you will build a house for a family, in Haiti you help build a school. The building project in tThailand is a little different. Our volunteers only travel once a year to the children's home which also receives sustainable funding from other organizations. This makes a ‘year after year’ project a little more difficult. So, this year, we built a greenhouse. A greenhouse, you ask? Your first thought is probably ‘cool’. Then you really think about it and question why, in a place so hot year round, we would build a greenhouse. Well, this particular greenhouse is almost the opposite of what we are used to in Canada. Our Canadian greenhouses are designed to keep heat in, allow [...]

2014-06-03T15:43:00+00:00

Courage: Thailand

Hearing stories have this amazing way of transporting us from eager listeners to supporting characters in the words being brought to life before us. I am currently addicted to the show “Once Upon A Time”. A friend of mine and I are both into the show and can’t get enough of it. It’s to the point where when I sleep at night, I dream about the characters—their lives, stories, where the plot is headed, and I happen to be involved somehow. I’m never a major character, but someone who is around viewing the happenings eager to lend a hand, an ear, or sometimes, even a little magic. Magic, as people say, is all around us. I guess it’s what we view magic to be which varies. The idea of magic can be described as the whimsical beauty in the creation around us. The grand ideas people have, the way they [...]

2014-05-20T22:52:00+00:00

The Girl In The Picture: Thailand

Myanmar. What an interesting place to travel to. When you cross the border they take away your passport and give you a temporary piece of identification that becomes your lifeline. It contains a picture of yourself taken that day by the border security, your passport number, name (excluding your last name), birthdate and a number. That number is your connection to your passport the government is now holding. Upon leaving Myanmar, you hand in this piece of paper and retrieve back your oh-so-valued Canadian passport. This process leaves many volunteers feeling vulnerable and, to put it quite honestly, kind of sketched out. You have been told all your life how precious your passport is—keep an eye on it, never let it leave your side when you are travelling, lock it in a safe when you arrive at your destination, keep a photocopy in your luggage, take a picture. Your passport, [...]

2014-05-15T21:04:00+00:00

Others First: Thailand

Did you know I’m not really a ‘kid’ person? I don’t consider myself someone who really enjoys being around children. Being the one who has to entertain a child for really any period of time, and the idea of having one of my own, just seems so ridiculous I often laugh at the idea of it. Why am I not a kid person? No reason in particular—I’ve never had a bad experience with children and there have been no traumatic events. I treat children like humans (as they are) and they generally respond well. Any child I tend to be around kind of understands I am someone they can sit with, but if they want to play around a bunch, they should find someone else. Bottom line, if there were a hyperactive child around who yells, runs, and is constantly up to shenanigans, I would choose to not be around.  [...]

2014-05-12T18:57:00+00:00

From The Heart: Thailand

In very roughly translated paraphrasing from ‘The Art Whisperer’,  “Everything you do needs to come from the heart.” The past few days we were involved in a Creative Arts Camp with the children at the home. It was an interesting mix of fun and games, intense meditation leading into spurts of heartfelt art forms and even creating musical instruments! Live Different sponsored the camp and, as part of our contribution, we helped the kids with sketchbooks, which were used to express themselves and share their stories. One little boy I’ve spent a considerable amount of time with these past few days is the most affectionate and enjoys the simple things—just a cuddle, holding onto your arm and sitting together. One of our amazing translators, Pim, was sitting with this little boy as we the children were working on their sketchbooks. I asked her to translate and share with me about [...]

2014-05-05T15:37:00+00:00

Back To The Beginning: Thailand

“The adventures of a humanitarian striving to keep Love at the root of it all.” While the original tag line of my blog still rings true I find it has evolved from a place for friends and family to read about my humanitarian adventures into a place where I write about my passions, dreams, experiences, bring light to important issues and share what inspires me in hopes it will inspire you. Thinking back to the beginning of this blog, it never would have started if it weren’t for people mentioning I should write so they could keep up with all of my travelling adventures. Upon arriving home from places like Haiti in 2010 after the earthquake, or leading students in Dominican Republic various years, people in my life were interested in what happened on these trips. Sit down chats were often had, stories shared, pictures shown on phones and laptops… [...]

2014-04-28T15:00:00+00:00

Security

Security. As per usual, the above word can draw many pictures in the minds of those it is spoken to. We think of everything from the security guard we see every day in the mall we frequent, to our friends and family who spend their lives working towards the pot of gold they call security for their loved ones because of the all too common belief, no matter what might happen, the money stored up can provide the sense of safety they need. Considering I am currently in a place where no malls exist, and my unemployment leads me to have no incoming pennies to store into my ‘pot of gold’ for the unexpected, we can agree that my idea of security is coming from another image. Opening the door to his new home with many happy volunteers and excited members of the community watching this amazing moment! Check out [...]

2013-08-25T19:54:00+00:00

Where You Least Expect It

When was the last time something was in the first place you looked? Often it's in the last place we expect... and it's probably time for a change. My wonderful husband and I are spending two months in the Dominican Republic with the humanitarian and youth empowerment non-profit Live Different (www.LiveDifferent.com) as leaders on Hero Holiday trips. These trips are often the first time youth will engage with the global community-- realizing how fortunate they are, what conditions the majority of the world lives in, and takes them through an intense roller coaster of emotion, leaving them as individuals who head home to be beacon of change and passionate about sharing their experience with those around them. While most individuals argue about whether sending only money is more beneficial to aiding a community across the globe, the youth taking part in these amazing trips will tell you nothing compares to [...]

2013-07-20T19:32:00+00:00