My life was changed forever when I went to Thailand for three weeks in October of 2009. I had never been outside of the United States. I chose Thailand because I had been intrigued by Asia and the mysteries of the Orient for many years. I found that, as with most things in life, Thailand is a complete and total paradox. It is a place that has been heavily touched by Western influences, yet it still retains its cultural uniqueness. It is a place where you can both lose and find yourself. You can lose yourself in the chaos of endless traffic and in the streets overflowing with merchants. However, you can also seriously ponder your future in the quietness that washes over the city as the late night turns to dawn or as the unbearable midday heat turns to a cooler dusk.
After traveling to Thailand in 2009, I was hooked. I returned to Thailand the following year for almost two months. I also explored the Philippines for the first time as well. Then, in 2012, I made a return trip to the Philippines, staying for 6 weeks. In both of these countries, I saw sunsets and beaches that took my breath away. I saw poverty that made me cry inside. I saw red light district as far as the eye can see. But, above all, I saw that, although I was from the other side of the globe, I was connected to these places on a deep human level. I saw that everybody is connected to each other no matter what your ethnic origins are or where you come from.