Service and Growth: My Month Alone in Thailand
This summer I had the privilege of traveling to rural Thailand on a service trip for a month. It was my first time in Asia, and I was traveling on my own. Even though I was given the option of traveling alongside a friend, I chose to embark on this new adventure solo. I have always loved traveling on my own and had done a short trip to Boston by myself the previous summer and loved every second of it. Although the quick three hour plane ride does not begin to compare to the strenuous three days of travel to Thailand, there was something about hopping on a plane by myself completely surrounded by strangers that excited me and inspired me to be brave.
Throughout the trip I was able to apply myself in an effective and exciting way.Twenty six other girls and I had the privilege of teaching english at a few elementary schools, working on the construction of a new floor for the elementary school, and learning the proper care of elephants at the Sappraiwan Elephant sanctuary. In addition, I had the honor of meeting many new amazing people such as the Mahuts, who dedicate their entire lives to caring for the elephants at the sanctuary, and the head of the sanctuary, a close friend of Jane Goodall. Staying in such a majestic and beautiful country, working on service projects everyday, and disconnecting from technology, all aided in the process of my self growth in the short span of a month.
I never thought that leaving so much of my life behind would lead me to discover more of myself and who I truly am and want to be. Although it all sounds painfully cliche, traveling changes people. It pushes people outside of their bubble and forces them to experience the new. Even though I was away from family, friends, my hometown, and all of the things that I thought made up the person I was, living out of my one duffle bag, in a new country, with new friends, really opened my eyes to what I find to be the truly important pieces of life. Those things are service, sharing, loyalty, kindness, laughter, friendship, and love. Aside from my duffle bag these were the only other things I had during my time in Thailand, and it altogether made for one of the most memorable months of my life.
In the end, my trip allowed me to recognize that doing service for others and helping out wherever I can is what I truly love in life. It is what gives me a sense of purpose and undeniable happiness that I cannot achieve from anything else. No matter where you go or who you are, there is always an opportunity for service and the chance to be helpful towards others. The act of service and helping others is universal and has no barriers. It is not reliant on language, race, and ethnicity. Service is simply dedicating part of your time towards being kind to another person in their time of need.