For as long as I can remember, I've wanted to explore the world. Not only explore the world but help people and put smiles on their faces as I am doing it.
My dream has always been to go to untouched lands & tiny villages. I want to go places where the children have never seen people like me, where the ant hills I crush without thought are their mountains. I want to bring smiles to children's faces, and help with projects in their local communities.
I am a graduate from Western Michigan University with a degree in Travel & Tourism as well as Global & International Studies, In the meantime I got a job in a medical office, running a section of the clinic. As much as I loved the people I worked with, and loved helping patients, I never lost sight of my goals and dreams of traveling with my back pack on filled with 5 sets of outfits, a camelback, bug repellent, my passport and a unknown journey ahead. I began to realize that there is no one stopping me from living this dream but me and my own fears. The fear of failing, and the fear of the unknown when I return.
So with that said, August 1st...I will be facing my fear and live this "crazy dream life" that I have always wanted. SOLO, with no one on my side.
Me, myself and I will be packing a backpack and traveling to Southeast Asia volunteering to help educate children & young adults as well as orphaned children by helping their communities with projects hoping to improve their living conditions and making their environment a more sustainable place.
FIRST STOP: a small village called Nathong in the country of Laos!!
I have been researching hundreds and hundreds of Volunteer programs abroad. I have run across programs that consist of volunteering for 6 months to a year at a time and that are asking for thousands of dollars. All of these volunteer programs were not appealing to me due to the high expectations, crazy application processes and insanely long waiting lists. These programs in my opinion are doing just fine.
It was not until last week that I came across the SAE LAO Project. The SAE LAO Project is located in the Nathong Village of Laos. Since this project has been started in 2008, they have had only about 400 volunteers in the last 5 years.
The SAE LAO Project is very small with no major funding or grants. The small project is ran by a kind hearted local man named SengKeo who has been contacting me through constant emails. I was accepted by SengKeo to come help him in the village of Nathong. With nothing but volunteers, he has been able to start a school to help educate children and young adults as well as many small projects to clean up the village and make it a much easier place to live.
With the living conditions being the way they are in Nathong, I will be living just like the locals do. I will be sleeping on a floor, covered in a mosquito net with one pillow and one blanket and my lizard friends (living package 1 on website).The leader, SengKeo has a local cook who prepares our meals that consist of sticky rice, fresh vegetables, meat and sometimes fish. I will be showering in cold water, washing my clothes in the local waters and scratching my mosquito bites and smiling while doing it. This probably does not sound appealing to you, but to me...I've never been so excited and anxious for something like this in my life. All I want to do is get to Nathong Village and put a smile on every single face. I want to impact every single person I meet and that is exactly what I will do.
To get to the Nathong Village in Laos, I will have to take the long 44 hour journey. An 18 hour flight from Chicago to Bangkok, then a 24 hour cramped but very exciting bus ride from Bangkok to Vietienne (the capital of Laos). Where I will be picked up by Sengkeo with any other volunteers for another 2 hour ride to the village of Nathong.
And thats where my incredible journey begins.
I will be documenting my travels and experiences with my own travel blog that I have been working on. This blog will allow you to follow me on my journey. It will be like you are traveling with me (bug-free and an air-conditioner). I will be posting pictures, videos and stories as much as I can. Once the blog is fully up and running I will post the link to this page!
With your help, I will be able to get to Laos and other villages to volunteer in Southeast Asia. I will be able provide some much needed love and supplies (school supplies, building materials, toys) to the people of Laos and any other village I come across. I am hoping to raise $2,000 which is about a quarter of the cost of my trip. Any sponsorship to reach my goal would be greatly appreciated. Your support, whether it is financial or not, means the world to me. I have been blessed with such incredible family and friends and I cant wait to tell all of you about my solo adventure in Southeast Asia.
Please be sure to email me your mailing address at [email redacted]
For any donations sent through mail:
1085 Cloverhill Lane
Elgin, IL 60120
Thank you again for all the love & support,
Please check out the new website that was created by a volunteer.
Follow @saelaoproject on Instagram that was created by one of my favorite backpacking bloggers @desadventures
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