Thank you David Bonderman!

Because of Mr. Bonderman's generosity, I have been given the opportunity to travel the world and learn about culture. As a Bonderman Travel Fellow I plan on traveling through Western and Eastern Europe, East Africa, Northern India and Southeast Asia. I am excited to experience new and amazing things that will better enable me to empower and inspire the next generation of young students.

ALSO!!! If you are interested in following the nasty development of my beard and hair....you can follow it at

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Intentionality in all things...

I think its important and healthy for us, as christ-followers (aka human beings trying to figure out what it means to live in true love and joy), to move towards a place of making EVERY decision (no matter how small or big) with intentionality. This means seeking the spirit (Truth) in love, weighing the consequences and taking action.

My thoughts are geared towards facebook right now...I don't think facebook is completely and entirely wrong (for everybody). BUT I do think its important that we intentionally make healthy decisions, weighing the pros and cons, for things as seemingly unimportant as facebook.

here is a beautifully written and brief article on the subject.

ENJOY

Godspeed

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Homeward Bound

It's time to start the long awaited journey back to the northwest...thank the Lord!!

I like to think that I'm similar to Chance in the acclaimed movie about two dogs and a cat making their journey home...but some would say I'm too "sassy" to be Chance

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Angkor Wat with Baby Crames

We biked the whole day. Super fun!














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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

There is a God

And He gets three thumbs up...



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Friday, June 10, 2011

Cambodian Kids..two different stories

Story 1:

I went on a run yesterday through some parks and then along the mekong river in Phnom Penh. It was nice, it was sunny and it was early in the morning so the masses weren't out quite yet. At the end of my run I stopped in at a public park to do push-ups, pull-ups and stretching...earlier in my exploration of the city I discovered a jungle gym station that was PERFECT for a variety of different pull-ups..I took advantage. I arrived at the park at around 9 am only to find swarms of kids all over the place. I tried to mind my own business and bee-line for my jungle gym...i was successful. BUT within 4-5 minutes I had gathered a crowd of 10+ children that were ALL under 8-yrs-old. They were asking me questions about my hair, where I'm from, why I was wearing certain clothes (particularly my shoes...), how old i was, etc., etc. Before I knew it 3 of the boys had starting imitating everything that I did...they would do the same stretches when I did them..they would do pushups with me...they'd even attempt pull-ups whenever I did them...it was adorable. I MADE LOCAL FRIENDS!!!! Yesterday morning I said, "Its pretty easy to talk with locals if theyre under 8-yrs-old because theyre definitely not trying to scam me!" So great

Story 2:

BUT THEN....as I was crossing the border from Cambodia to Vietnam yesterday (later in the afternoon) I needed to go to the bathroom so I took a few minutes to find a toilet. Found one instantly. When I got to the door I noticed this little 7-yr-old girl sitting at a table outside the bathrooms collecting money from users. VERY normal. I also saw a sign above the girl that read "2000 D or 'foreign-language-squiggly-line'00 Riel"...which means it either costs 2000 in vietnamese currency or an unknown amount in cambodian...well, i ONLY had cambodian, so I gave her 2000, thinking it was definitely enough. It was enough and she tried to pay me 1000 D in return..cheating me big time (now I know she was cheating me 30 cents!!!). I told her NO way! So she proceeded to to stuff the massive wad of vietnamese currency back into her pocket and then reach down her lack-of-cleavage into her shirt/bra area (remember this is a 7-yr-old girl) and pull out an enormous wad of cambodian money...so weird. She gave me two 500 Riel notes. Each note has english numbers on them and cambodian numbers...I matched the cambodian number 5 with the squiggly line on the sign and immediately realized that the bathroom only costs 500 riel and this little girl tried to cheat me out of an extra 500 (thats 12 cents!!!). I WASNT HAVING IT. So I made her give me all of my change. I'm not getting ripped a single penny anymore...

I take back all previous claims about young children being innocent and ignorant of scamming tourists...theyre definitely out there

Cambodian Delight

It was actually SO good...



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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Walking 'round the city

Mekong River



Some cool temple


Independence monument


They have all kinds of people here....buddhists and cripples


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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Phnom Penh, Cambodia (Cambodia is the one to the left of Vietnam, to the right of Thailand and below Laos...)

- I'm on day 319 out of a total 334 days being deprived of the Great Pacific Northwest..

- Its the 240th day (out of 243) of this whole Bonderman experience...it'll be 8 months since arriving in South Africa on June 11th!

- My beautiful darling little sister becomes my travel companion on June 13th and we fly home together from Bangkok on June 23rd.

- Today is gorgeous, cloudless and very warm...phnom penh is surprisingly beautiful with city parks scattered throughout town and the mighty Mekong River quietly rolling past towards the east.

- This morning I did my best to emulate Caleb Van Essen's run and workout routine, failed miserably, but still got a GREAT workout (for me). I'm trying to train so that I can compete in the inevitable sporting events that will ensue on June 25th in Cashmere, WA...

- Despite the hard statistics surrounding home-deprivation and the fact that I AM LITERALLY ALMOST DONE!!!!!!! I'm doing very well. Very well, indeed.

Pictures of this unexpectedly pleasant city will come soon....

Monday, May 30, 2011

Wilson and I




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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Coffee is the answer...elaboration

Before leaving Seattle in July 2010, I would've said coffee was AN answer. Just another answer. An answer to questions like, "whats the first thing you do in the morning?", "whats your favorite liquid, besides mercury?", "what makes you happy in February?", etc. Coffee was just coffee. And it was good.

But NOW....oh now. Things are different.

Coffee is THE answer. Not just an answer, the answer.

Coffee has become a multilayered, multidimensional part of my inner being and daily life. Coffee isn't just a liquid...it's consistency in a world of unncertainty, it's cultural connection amidst cultural barriers, it's quiet time every morning, it's quiet time every mid morning, it's quiet time every noon, it's quiet time every afteroon, it's quiet time on an occasional evening, it's Seattle, it's passion, it's yummy, it's home.

Coffee connects me with people EVERYWHERE. It brings my home into their home. My love to theirs. Our passions collide. Because when you LOVE coffee, you really love coffee. And people all over the world love coffee.

So, as you can see, coffee isn't just coffee anymore. ]

I can't put it into proper words...hopefully you understand a small glimpse of the faint shadow i'm trying to illustrate.

Bottom line...i love it and it loves me

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Monday, May 23, 2011

Walking Man Walks

Although I've been absent from the blog, I've been fully alive in Thailand. I've adopted the habit of walking EVERYWHERE. Whether it's a destination two blocks away or six miles away, I walk. It's been great. Not only am I completely exhausted at every day's end, I come across some very cool "hidden" gems that aren't necessarily in the Lonely Planet or any other guidebook/internet source. I'll elaborate on a few examples.

Today I needed to straighten out passport/visa stuff, so I walked from my guest house all the way to the embassy. It is a solid five mile walk and completely out of any touristy areas. On the way, I stumbled upon a very cool park! Lumphini Park was exclusively filled with Thais and I didnt see a white person the whole time I was there. Great opportunity for curious Thai people to practice their engrish on me ;) then on my way back from the embassy I stumbled upon som Thai street ballers....not the ballers we see in America, but ballers nonetheless. They were playing this 2 v. 2 game using a miniature soccer ball on a badminton court...very intriguing indeed. The ball couldn't hit the ground and each team had three hits (no hands!) to return the ball to the other side of the net. I wish I could play, but I'm nursing a foot owie. Maybe I'll return in a few days to show em what I got. Then, to top off the long walk, I randomly stumbled upon friendly china town...great food, great people.

Walking is giving me life.


YouTube Video


Sunday, May 15, 2011

Lame blogger...

Sawwwweeee...that's my lame way of saying "sorry" for being a bad blogger, mom and dad. Not sure who else deserves an apology (specifically for my lack of blogging...I owe pretty much everybody an apology :)...but for reasons other than being a bad blogger), however I DO know mom and dad deserve an apology!

I arrived in Chiang Mai yesterday after a 15 hour overnight train that left at 10 pm and arrived at 1 pm. I checked into an awesome place called Awana House (www.awanahouse.com), was able to scope out the new city during the afternoon (good food, motorcycle rental, coffee, etc.) and enjoy the Sunday walking market in the evening. At the Sunday market I followed my nose straight to the food area and gorged on $0.30 pad Thai, $0.20 sushi, great fruit and a big bottle of fresh squeezed OJ...I never pass up on fresh squeezed orange juice :)

Today I slept in very late, got my coffee from black canyon (I'm trying new places left and right) and casually went down to Tony's to see about renting a motor bike. The 250 cc Honda Phantom was my answer...very fun :) i immediately took it out into the "mountains" and, despite the rain, had a beautiful 70 mile ride. Along the way I stopped for some Wawee Coffee (impressive) and pet some massive tigers.

Next: going for lunch/dinner at Libernard Cafe once the rain stops..I'll let you know how the coffee compares

The Phantom



J Lo and me



Saturday, April 23, 2011

Not To Beard....for now

The beard in the south of Thailand was a little too much. Too hot. Too amazing. Too sexy. Just too much. So it had to go....but its already coming back, thicker than ever. I can't wait for the Great Pacific Northwest. I'm ready.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

To beard OR not to beard?...that is the question

The beard was beautiful, accepted and comfortable within the borders of Nepal and roaming through the Great Himalayas....but I'm an outcast in southern Thailand. It doesn't belong...which means I don't belong. Should I go or should IT go?? Only time will tell. Pray for it.


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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Loknath Timilseena

Today was motor bike day...





On the way up to Sarangkot a man yelled at me for a ride...his name was Loknath






I gave him a lift, he gave me a tour of Sarangkot...





Showed me his buffalos...





And goats...





And treated me to tea with fresh squeezed buffalo milk...yum





His house was prime time location. View over phewa tal and pokhara





Good day

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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

15 days, 150+ miles, elevation 17770 ft, Annapurna Himalaya Range

It was epic.

15 days might be a little too long to be in the mountains "on my own," but wow was it worth it. I can imagine that if I was hiking with someone else or a few others I could spend months in the shadows of these giants. Simply put, it's where I belong.

I put quotations around "on my own" because I was never truly on my own...I met and bonded with 20-30 amazing people from all over the world. For two or three days I'd join up with different groups of hikers or other solo hikers. My main companion was a 68-year-old Danish man named Ole. He was a stud! I met him on the first day of the hike in Bahundanda, hiked with him on day 5 for a bit, took a side adventure to Tilicho Tal with him and then went from manang to ledar with him on day 9. Great roomie, companion and friend on the trek! I hope to see him again in Pokhara while I'm here...or in Portugal, if I decide to cash in on the open invitation to stay at his olive farm.

I crossed the pass, unexpectedly, on March 16th, Day 10 of the trek...I started in the morning at 9am from Ledar, planning to have a short day to Thorung Phedi and then cross the pass early the following morning (March 17). But I reached Thorung Phedi in great time and decided to try my luck for high camp. I reached high camp at 11am and seriously contemplated crossing the pass. I knew that everyone crossing the pass leaves between 3am and 6am in order to reach the summit before noon and before the winds become too bitterly cold. But I disregarded the warnings, went with my gut and took off for the pass at 11:15am (a full 5 hours after the last person departed from High Camp). I reached Throung La (5416 meters, 17769 feet) at 1pm and IT WAS BEAUTIFUL!!!! I was the ONLY person within miles, the skies were clear and the wind was calm. Unbelievable. I'm really glad I left so late to avoid the masses. Unreal.

I reached muktinath at the end of the day and heard the stories of all the other trekkers crossing the pass in the early morning...sounded cold, windy and VERY crowded :) once again, I'm very glad I left so late! I realize, now, that if something happened to me on the pass, NO ONE would have come until the following morning...leaving me at 5,000+ meters overnight. Oh well, I'm okay and I'd do it again if I had the chance.

Pictures and videos to come.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Trekking...

My original plan for Nepal was to do a couple of very short treks (2 or 3 day-long treks) and then head east to spend time in the Chitwan National Park and the Kathmandu Valley. BUT after meeting some very very cool people in Pokhara, I've been convinced to alter my plans a bit. Annapurna Circuit Trek, here I come!!! Tomorrow I'm leaving pokhara in order to start on this 14 day behemoth of a hike. It winds through the heart of the Himalayas and reaches a maximum altitude of 5416 meters (17,770 feet) at the Thorung Pass. I think it will be quite epic! I think I'll cut out Chitwan from my itinerary and still spend a good deal of time in the KTM Valley.

The bad and good news is that I won't have any internet access throughout the whole trek...so no blog updates or picture posts. There will be fantastic photos to upload at the end though :)

Godspeed!

Friday, March 4, 2011

FINALLY...Nepal

First glimpse of the Himalayas from tansen...it was a spiritual experience. WOW!





This morning was the first CLEAR day for seeing the mountains..pictures will never do them justice





Sunset from the top of a hill looking north towards the cloud covered Himalaya range. A few peaks stuck their noses out to say goodnight to the setting sun...unbelievable





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Monday, February 28, 2011

Varanasi

Sunrise from the Ganges



Main Ghat


THE typical Varanasian having a real good time


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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Good day in Mt Abu!!

Rented a motor bike and took it to the highest point in all of Rajasthan: Guru Shikhar





View from the very top of Guru Shikhar





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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Mt Abu


The fearless hiking guide


Toad rock


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Saturday, February 19, 2011

Italian/German couple





Ripcity







Doin work





Lunch in udaipur





God is good





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Indian Friends

I've been in India for 10 days and I've made lots and lots of friends...wonderful! It is a little discouraging though, that my friends consist of two Brits, two Germans, two Canadians, four Italians and an Australian. It's really hard to accept this immense wall made up of culture, color, money, living expectations, and much much more. Watching a beggar pass up ten Indians on the street and then approach me or a group of white tourists is numbing. Its sad. When children come up to me and ask for money I've started asking them for money also..its been a great solution! A situation that starts out as "White=Give and Indian=Recieve" turns into a funny, laughable situation where i feel a small sense of connection and relationship. I like it when they laugh at me. It breaks down the walls.

I'm starting to really understand and love the fact that Jesus only went as far from home as his feet could carry him. Simply disrupting his own culture had eternal ripples. What he did in his life continues to disrupt cultures all over the world today. He didn't need to travel to Seattle, Washington to grab my heart. I like that.

I just finished a three night stay in Pushkar. SO NICE!!! After a hectic start to India (Delhi and Agra), Pushkar was calm and so relaxing. I'd definitely go back there if I needed a deep breath amidst the craziness of Rajasthan.

I am currently in Udaipur, which is apparently "The Venice of the East" and I can see why. Beautiful buildings that back up onto Lake Picholo (i think??) and a romantic feel...being here with a lucky lady would be nice ;)

Next stop: Mt Abu to do some hiking. I might leave tomorrow, but we'll see.

I need to figure out the picture situation. I'll work on that today.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Inja!!

Solo travel in Delhi is MUCH MUCH MUCH different than Paris with your mommy....

Hard transition, but I'm making it work!

I landed in Delhi on February 10th at around noon and went straight for the Aircel counter to buy an Indian sim card...thank the Lord I did that! Because, right afterwards I bee-lined for the taxis, found one and asked them to take me to Hare Rama Guest House in Paharganj (a pretty well known place in a very touristy part of town...). The taxi driver said sure and we hopped in and made our way into town. However, about fifteen minutes into the ride, he turned to me and said that he did not know where this quest house was and Paharganj is MUCH bigger than you think...as he was saying this he was pulling over to a "tourist information center..." bad news! Basically, they all lied to me and tried to say that EVERY guest house in Delhi was full because it is festival week and there are a lot of tourists. They said that I wouldn't be able to pay less than 60 dollars for a hotel that night. They tried to sign me up for a week long scheduled trip that would ONLY cost $100 per day...they tried to scam all of my money and stress me out... But thanks to my steady and amazing contacts on the ground who walked me through the stress (you know who you are), I didn't bite the hook and pay $60 for a hotel. I escaped the trap and paid $6 at a perfectly suitable guest house in the under crowded Paharganj...I'm learning quickly!!

I was in Delhi for three nights. One of the days I RANDOMLY ran into a British couple that I met while in Mozambique!!! SO STRANGE!! Lucy, Giles and I shared a beer the night before they departed for Bangkok and I departed for Agra.

The following morning I hopped on the train to Agra and immediately met a cute little couple sitting next to me. The guy is Italian and the girl is German...they were also heading to Agra to see the Taj Mahal. Francisco and Sophia are an adorable couple that are learning the ropes of India along with me! It's nice to have other people to learn with. The three of us went to the Taj this morning...

Tomorrow morning I head out on a train to Pushkar! "NOT the Yoga capital of the world! Because Rishikesh is :)" please don't tell Mark Driscoll or he might not let me come back to Seattle

Ooookkkkkaaaaayyyyyy

I've been pressured into updating this thing... So here are some pictures from Paris

PARIS WAS NICE...I'm going back soon, I hope

Monday, January 31, 2011

A Parisian Hiatus

Im in the transition phase of my long journey (going from Africa to India/SE Asia), so I decided to spend some time in Paris with my amazing mother!!! Paris with mom is SO nice after 3.5 months of tromping through Africa....not that Africa was bad (I definitely miss certain things and people in Africa more than I wish to explain)...but I'm not complaining about the Eiffel tower, the Louvre, fresh French pastries, tasty wine, creperies, cold weather and much much more... :) life is good right now

PICTURES TO COME....

Friday, January 7, 2011

Piki to the Masai

As I've said in previous posts, pikis (swahili for motor bikes) are an essential part of adventuring through the Great Rift Valley just below Kijabe, Kenya. I've been able to see uncountable zebras, giraffes, dik diks, antelope and gazelle and thoroughly enjoy some African beauties that would otherwise be unreachable...one of these beauties was a remote Masai town called Awaso (sp?). John and I mounted the pikis expecting to travel deep into the valley and summit one of the many mountains littering the area. But about halfway to the mountain we realized it was WAY to far and WAY to big....so, we decided to travel another 9 km through deep sand, hellish dirt roads and herds of cattle to the Masai village.

The Masai Tribe is one of the biggest and most well known tribes in all of East Africa...their tribe stretches through Northern Kenya and down in Tanzania. They were strong enough to resist all European colonization in the past. The Masai are still very traditional: many don't speak english, they still live in their mud huts, they brutally perform woman circumcision, most men and women stretch their ear lobes and ALL of the women wear lots of beads.

John and I arrived in the town ready for an adventure and found that we were the only Mzungus (white people) out of nearly 1000 people. We decided that we were probably the only whities within a 10 mile radius. With luck, it was a monday and the outdoor market was set up with about 30 venders....John and I bee-lined for the guy making and selling tire shoes (incredibly durable and well-made sandals made entirely out of used car tires). We each bought a pair for 150 KSh (less that $2) and decided to grab a cup of tea and a soda at a nearby Duka.

Walking through the town and meeting the Masai was a well needed breath of fresh air after struggling through Africa for the last three months...It is easy to get discouraged when 10-20 Africans , every day, try and take advantage of you: venders trying to charge white people 5x more than they would Africans, bank officials lying to you and trying to steal a mere $10, police officers abusing you and expecting a bribe, etc. BUT in the Masai village, every vender was straight with us, nobody asked us for money and people were genuinely interested in talking with us to exchange stories....it restored my hope a little bit and made this next month much more enjoyable.

Tomorrow a bunch of people are riding pikis out to Mt. Longonaut and climbing to the top...exciting

Godspeed and Good Fortune