» When in Laos...

A brief recap of a five day Donor Trip in Laos. 

The humidity that hangs in the 80 degree air is sticky and transports my mind to memories of tropical vacations past. Getting my body used to a new climate and my brain to a new currency are the most undisguised habits to form when traveling as much as I do. From the airport, walking 50 paces and stepping foot on the grounds of the Managua Best Western was a rather easy first stride to make in my new country. Furthermore, my smattering of Spanish makes for interesting communication that allows my knowledge to grow into the healthy and well-rounded temporary resident that I am. How exciting to be so independent! 

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It’s been nearly 6 years since the beginning of Twitter. I always rued the day that I signed on board for another beast of social burden. It seemed obsolete. Just another way for people to post wholly dissatisfying life updates that no one really cares about. It seemed to attract the heralds of pointless Facebook statuses and overwhelmingly emotional AIM away messages. Emo. Self-serving. Not my ideal use of time.

To this day, I still don’t use Twitter nearly as much as the rest of the teenagers and socially isolated folks who keep their heads buried in their smart phones to send obligatory sports and/or political tweets. But I do use it. And I am thankful for signing up, as my timing happened to be rather fortuitous.

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The word “novelty” beckons a feeling of originality and “freshness.” Having been in Luang Prabang for a week now, something so simple as driving a motorcycle is, I must say, novel. I don’t foresee it ever getting old. This thought catalyzed my desire to comment on the novelty of traveling to new places in developing countries.

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Scouting for potential Pencils of Promise locations included riding in flatbeds of pick-up trucks, having meetings in empty schoolyards, and documenting it all. 


It’s funny the way things work out. Friday afternoon I expected to leave school, have a bitchin’ weekend with friends, and return to elementary school as a Fifth grade Teacher’s Aid bright and early Monday morn.

When morning came on this much-too-early Sunday, I woke up with the hopes of starting a new job in the next couple weeks. A few phone calls later and by noon, my flights we’re booked.

I’m currently waiting at the gate at Los Angeles Int’l Airport to board a near midnight flight to Guatemala City to make stops in Cincinnati, OH and Atlanta, GA. These early morning hours are the ones during which god only knows why I can never catch a snooze on the plane.

I’m going to head down to Guatemala for two weeks to tell stories with the help of my trusty camera, film equipment, and select team members of the young, New York based nonprofit, Pencils of Promise. This organization and I have been in touch and in dialogue for many weeks now. From my end, I have been trying to show them why I can fill their need for a “badass digital storyteller,” and now this persistence has come to a head: I begin herein the form of a stint in Central America. We shall see what happens henceforth. I can sense this is only the beginning.

This is another case of everything seeming to happen for a reason. And hopefully this is a lesson to everyone out there who continues to pursue opportunities across the urban and suburban spaces that span the globe. I waited until the right thing, couldn’t get a restaurant job for the life of me, and took as much personal time as possible. And then there were two stops and twelve hours later until ¡Guate!