I’m sure you have heard the phrase, “life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” Well if you haven’t I am here to tell you that this statement could not be more true. My comfort zone is a teal toned room at the corner of Knox and 21st street in Bellingham Washington. My entire life I have been stuck in my comfort zone. Not forced to stay there by anyone but myself. However, this summer when I boarded a plane to Cambodia to meet 6 other people I did not know, boy did the adventure begin.
This adventure was actually an EDventure. Cue the laughter. Get it? Not only was I embarking on an adventure but I was also going to be learning a lot about leadership and the world around me. There for, an educational adventure. I was more than excited to get the opportunity to work with elephants, and to test the waters of teaching English to young Cambodian children. The part I had not thought much about, was all that I would learn from the other people on the trip and the people we would meet along the way. I made life long friendships over the course of three weeks and got the chance to look at life from a different lens. As for the individuals we met over the course of the trip, including, Hongda, Sarath, and Jemma, I have never been more inspired to live my life differently. These three individuals gave me more than I could ask for. From Hongda, I learned what it is to be happy. Everyday he would come to work, which was driving us in his Tuk Tuk, with a smile on his face and a new story to tell. He was never not smiling and was always making the people around him laugh.
Now happiness is something I struggle with, so to be surrounded by someone who was so effortlessly happy with the simple life that he lived inspired me to be happier with the small things. From Sarath, I learned to value my education. His story and his goal with “Why Not School” moved me. Every day he would be excited to teach and every day the children would be excited to learn. I have been in private school my entire life and am currently attending university. I go to class, do my homework, and take my scheduled exams. But I never really am thankful or happy to be in the classroom. This year that is going to change, everyday I attend class I will think of Sarath and the children at “Why Not School” and I will be happy about the education I am so fortunate to have. Finally from Jemma, I learned the true meaning of hard work. Never in my life have a sweat so much or done so much for another that cannot giveme anything in return. This other I am referring to was much larger than me and came with a trunk and some pretty big ears. Yes I am in fact referring to an elephant. We relocated banana trees (which are either oddly shaped or quite heavy), planted jackfruit seeds and worked long days in the hot Cambodian sun. But it was all worth it. The joy that these wonderful creatures bring to the world is much larger than their size. It was a long week full of hard work, but it was one of the happiest and most rewarding weeks I have ever experienced. While I won’t always be able to remember what the humidity felt like, or what the food tasted like, I will never forget the wonderful people I met over the course of my adventure in beautiful Cambodia.
EDventure has given me the greatest gift, not only was I able to change the world a bit, I was also able to positively change my life and myself. Now that I think about it my teal toned room, where my comfort zone lies, has nothing on the adventures that are out there.