2015 Reflections of Gratitude

“From His fullness we all have received Grace Upon Grace” John 1:16 As I reflected on this past year, I was reminded of God’s goodness to us in so many ways.  My dear friend, Cindy, shared the above verse and it mirrored our sentiments exactly.  Much of His goodness has come in the shape and form of people!  God has surrounded us with so many warm, loving, kind-hearted generous souls who have opened their homes and hearts to us throughout our year on the road.  While I would love to list each and every one… Read More

Day 366: Time Flies…One Year Already!

Unbelievable! Today, June 16th, marks our Round the World one year anniversary! It’s difficult to believe a whole year has passed, and yet here we are in Vienna, Austria, making plans for our return.  Over the last few days, I’ve been putting together a “Year in Review” with photos and commentary, but as I progressed, I realized it would take much longer than I anticipated.  Perhaps I will save that for our return. In the meantime, as I was reflecting on the past year, I was reminded of God’s goodness to us in… Read More

Day 288: Zoe and Sex Trafficking

This is my second post on victims of trafficking.  By now you may have guessed that these men, women, and children have a special place in our hearts.  The brutality they’ve had to endure, and the deep wounds their abuse has caused remains heavy on our hearts. Our journey to Thailand was much anticipated.  Yes, there are gorgeous beaches, so beautiful that Leonardo Dicaprio starred in a movie set on one of them (The Beach). And the food is outstanding, with fragrant spices, savory meats, rich soups, and a variety of noodles to accompany them. But… Read More

Day 286: Destiny: Hope for Victims of Trafficking

I got brave and had my first haircut on the road since leaving Chicago almost exactly nine months ago. It happened in Chiang Rai, a beautiful city in Northern Thailand, close to the borders of Laos and Myanmar (the Golden Triangle). Was I nervous that my hair dresser could not speak one word of English? Well…maybe a little. Did I feel any anxiety that one of the two ladies working on my hair was in training and a bit unsure of what to do. Yes! But it all turned out well in the… Read More

Riding Elephants with Ryan

Riding, cleaning and feeding the elephants in Thailand was an experience I’ll never forget. We started by listening to one of the workers there give us a quick (10 minute) talk about safety, like not standing behind an elephant when it is unaware of your presence. We also talked about facts, and how the number of elephants in Thailand is skyrocketing (or should I say ground rocketing) downwards. There were over 100,000 elephants in Thailand a couple of years ago, but now there are only 3000 left! After the quick talk we had about the elephants,… Read More

Danny and Mecan

Patara is a nice place where the people give you lessons on how to treat, and take care, and ride elephants.  For the day, you get your own personal elephant to bathe, ride, and feed.  My elephant was called Mecan, and the way I remember Mecan, is the word mechanical. In the first 20 minutes, you feed your elephant bananas and sugar cane.  When you wanted them to open their mouths, you would say:  “Bone”.   And if they obey, and eat what you give them, you say:  “Dee dee”.  Deedee means… Read More

Phi Phi Photo Blog

Bangkok by Ryan

Bangkok, which was originally called Bang Makok, means “City of the Wild Plum”.  Why is it called that? I don’t know, but if by “plum” they mean traffic, than the name would make a lot of sense, because Bangkok is a city of wild traffic. Just like in Indonesia, scooters weave in and out of the smallest gaps in cars, and they’re either really lucky or really good at driving the scooters, because I haven’t seen any crashes so far. Maybe it’s a bit of both. Trying to cross the street? You… Read More

Day 278: Elephant Nature Park

Our experience at Elephant Nature Park was also really nice, but a lot less hands on.  Most of the elephants here have a history of abuse, exploitations, and neglect.  It was sad to see the many injuries and even blindness caused by man, but it was also encouraging to know that there are people who care enough to help make it right. At Elephant Nature Park, you will not ride the elephants, but you will learn about them, feed them, and watch a video that teaches you about the abuse they experience… Read More

Socializing with Thai Elephants

In Chiang Mai, my family and I visited two elephant organizations.  It was our first time actually getting to interact with elephants…and it was pretty amazing! The first place we went to was at Elephant Nature Park where they took care of abused elephants.  Many people have abused their power over the animals and have taken it way too far, leaving the elephants wounded, severely scarred, and damaged for life.  The owner of this organization is an incredibly sweet lady who has taken in these poor elephants and mended them with her… Read More