Three short weeks in Montana with a list of things to do longer than Mel Gibson’s police record and somehow it all managed to fall into place. Not without much effort I might add, and the help of many others. I arrived in Zootown the first week of July essentially broke from six months of DIY volunteering in northern Thailand/Burma. I had just enough money to get home. But I had so much more than money: a one-year contract working in human trafficking prevention, health insurance, paid training and the ability to return home to the U.S. to prepare for it all. Three weeks of paperwork, seeing friends and family, selling my possessions, seeing doctors, booking flights, applying for my visa, running mad errands, et al. It felt like a three-week Montana marathon and I was busting ass to the finish line.
Three things were essential and time-sensitive: securing my visa, booking a return flight and selling my car. If those three things didn’t fall into place in a timely fashion, the whole gig was off. I needed $500 to apply for a one-year Thai visa and I didn’t have it. But then I received a donation via GSW in just that amount. Coincidence or serendipity? I needed to secure my visa and had 14 business days to do so. To the embassy in Portland, Oregon: your turnaround time is amazing. Five business days!!! Fastest visa EVER. I needed to sell my car before I could book a return flight. It sold to two incredible friends (thank you Doug and Hodie!) within ten days. I cashed out my 401(k) and it arrived less than 12 hours before my departure. Now maybe it’s just me but there seemed to have been a lot of synchronicity with everything falling into perfect place at just the right time. My fortune and luck is not lost upon me.
You may think I’m insane to sell the remnants of a three-bedroom house, my only motor vehicle and cash out my retirement account. Perhaps I am. But working in Southeast Asia in human trafficking prevention this last half-year has meant more to me than barware from IKEA and quarterly dividends. Letting go of the majority of my stuff was liberating in a way I never imagined. A big thank you to everyone who helped out while I was home. I literally couldn’t’ve done it without you!
Being home was of course incredible in that I was able to see the ones I love, eat incredible food, and take in the astounding beauty that is Big Sky country. Make no qualms about it, I ♥ Montana! There is no place in the world with skies like hers. To all my wonderful friends and family: I love you all so much. I truly savored every moment we had. Parting is so bittersweet…
Now it’s August 1st and I am reporting live from the Mad Monkey guesthouse in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. I’ve been traveling for what feels like days (MSO to SEA to ICN to BKK to PHN). A huge thank you to the uncompromising Henry Cheng for putting me up in Bangkok for the night and helping me along the way!
Tomorrow starts my first day of a two-week training course with Volunteers in Asia (VIA). I have no idea what to expect but I’m going in open-minded. I am one of 10 volunteers being placed throughout Southeast Asia. I’m a little different from the rest in that I’ve already been working at my post for six months so I know what to expect to a degree. I’m curious to see and meet this new network of people and learn about the kind of work they will be doing. I’m also excited to spend more time in Cambodia as it is a truly incredible country.
Thank you again to everyone who helped make this possible and to the continued and amazing support I receive from so many of you. It is wholeheartedly appreciated.