Journey to Freedom: Life in a Thai Karen Village

Thus far, my time with the Journey to Freedom program, Elephant Nature Park’s “premier volunteering experience,” had been incredible.

Even though the weather had been wet and dreary, this couldn’t stifle the raw excitement I felt of actually getting to interact with Asian elephants in their natural habitat. While this is definitely the major selling point that convinces visitors to fork over 15,000 THB (about $425 USD) for the 7-day excursion, there is another aspect that had me just as excited. As part of the overall experience, volunteers spend 5-nights embedded in a small Northern Thai Karen village, providing a unique perspective not offered by other programs in the area. Read More

My Week with the Journey to Freedom Elephants

Squeezing through waves of banana leaves and thorny roots, I’m able to find it – the perfect angle to capture this small herd of Journey to Freedom elephants.

Preoccupied with all the Thai jungle foliage, they could care less about my presence. I make the mistake of looking away for just a moment, only to be startled by a loud crackle-pop that echoes through the treetops. As my vision through the viewfinder comes back into focus, I have only a half-second to snap a picture of a large banana tree as it tumbles towards the rest of my group.

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Video: Celebrating Independence Day in Myanmar

Whew, it’s been quite a while since I’ve posted a new video hasn’t it? Like, almost 2 months!

If you ask me, that’s just WAY too long. The truth is, this last one was an absolute beast to edit down and find the exact story I wanted to tell. But, after weeks of rewrites, repeated voice recording sessions, and alternate cuts, I’m thrilled to finally be able to share the final product.

Celebrating Independence Day in Myanmar! Read More

Discomfort in the Cambodian Ruins of Angkor

“Please, no pictures of me. I do not want trouble for what I am saying…”

Only an hour into my exploration of Siem Reap’s Cambodian ruins and things had already gone from calm and casual to disturbingly uncomfortable. A few seemingly innocent questions had opened the floodgates into some deeply personal territory for my local driver. A fresh wound that had yet to, if ever, heal.

One thing was clear though – it was time to put my camera down and just listen. Read More

Myanmar Travel Advice to Help You Explore in 2017

Have I mentioned how much I loved my overall time in Myanmar yet? Oh, I have? Like, multiple times?

Well it’s all true. I found Myanmar to be absolutely magical and established a strong connection to this developing Southeast Asian country by the time I had left.

As is usually the case though, I still encountered numerous small hiccups and misunderstandings that I wish I had been better prepared for. So, continuing on with my advice from earlier in the week, here are 10 tips that I picked up during my time mysterious Myanmar. Read More