In keeping with the laid back spirit of southern Thailand – where we are right now – Hayley and I (the two Youth International team leaders who have had the privilege of traveling with this incredible group of young adults through Asia for the past three months) have decided to give our travelers a break from having to write a final blog post, and I (Nathan) will offer my reflections instead, to accompany the many photos Hayley has taken and archived below.
Hayley taking in the spectacular sunset on our private beach
Life is really tough here 😅
First of all, you parents and family members of these young adult travelers have every reason to be immensely proud of your sons and daughters! They have grown tremendously over the past few months – every single one of them! They came to us in Colorado three months ago a little skittish, a little nervous, a little apprehensive about what this adventure would bring, and you ought to see them now! Grown, confident, young men and women who are confident and savvy travelers and who have seen parts of the world and experienced things few their age have!! They have been a pleasure to travel with (for the most part…! 😉) and I am sad that our time together is ending.
Charlie working on the shrimp
What a spread!
I can honestly say that we have had the good fortune (or good karma from past lives?) to experience a corner of the most beautiful place on the planet. But this is a planet that needs our help; a planet that that is choking from greed and waste and over consumption. We have seen this too, in the empty plastic bottles that line the roads here, in the trash floating aimlessly in the ocean, in the coral reefs damaged from overuse and rising ocean temperatures. My sincere hope is that as a result of these experiences we will all be more responsible travelers, more responsible stewards of this one beautiful planet we live on, more conscious of our impact on the people and cultures we encounter as we travel the world, and more aware of the privilege we have as travelers, a privilege which the next generation may not have.
And after 😅
Thailand has made me acutely aware of all of these issues, but in reality the entire trip has through Nepal, India and Thailand. And I hope that in some small way both, Hayley and I, have modeled some of these values and helped our team – your sons and daughters – to be more conscious and responsible travelers themselves. As our trip comes to an end, we now entrust them not to you, but to themselves and to each other. For this is who they will need to rely on from tomorrow evening when we all say goodbye to each other as we get on the airplane from Bangkok back to our respective homes and our lives after this incredible trip!
Conor attempting to pirate Tom and Sophie’s mighty vessel
Clearly, zero fun was had 😂
May the blessings of this trip continue to ripple out in all of our lives.