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Greetings from Quang Ngai

Wow – can’t believe it’s been almost a week since I left the states.  It seems like it’s been a lot longer, but that’s probably because we have been very busy since leaving Hanoi on Sunday morning.

I could write a long narrative describing what we did each day, instead I’m going with a brief recap of each day, complete with maps to show where we’ve been.


Long travel days are long

Finally made it to Hanoi.  We’ve been here for about 2.5 hours and I’m currently settled in at the Hotel Celia for the night.  Tomorrow we get to sleep in a bit and then head out for a tour around Hanoi to give us an overview of the city.  Can I just mention that I’m excited for some awesome food?  I just want to eat pho 24/7.

Seeing as I just spent 20+ hours on planes and in airports, I’m pretty exhausted.  I’ll end this post with some random observations from the trip over here:

  1. Nyquil does not make me sleepy. At all.
  2. Hearing Emma Watson speak with an American accent is odd. (I watched The Bling Ring on the flight to Seoul)
  3. Traveling with stuffy sinuses hurts.
  4. You can’t get Dunkin Donuts in Minnesota, but you can at Incheon International Airport in South Korea.
  5. In-seat USB chargers on long flights are the best thing ever.

Here are a few photos from my phone of the long trek over here. . .

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More tomorrow once I have some coffee and sleep.


Why I am going – Part 2

I had hoped to write a bit more about this yesterday, however packing took me a bit longer than I had planned (*shakes fist at allergies or cold or whatever is causing me to be stuffy and cough*)

Long story short – as many of you know I’m involved with People to People International.  Through this organization, my mom (who is in her local Chicago chapter) met the head of Children’s Library International.

This trip is the 38th mission for CLI, and during the trip we will be opening a learning center in My Lai.  We will also be visiting some of the other learning centers the group has opened, visiting orphanages, and doing a bit of typical tourist stuff too.

I am excited for this trip and looking forward to seeing a new part of the world.  Not excited to be on plane with stuffy sinuses, but I will be attempting to take meds to make it less painful.

Some background reading:

Now it’s time for me to start getting ready for a long day of travel ahead of me.  Wish me, and my sinus pressure, luck!


Why I am going – Part 1

As I approach my departure date (tomorrow!!!!), I keep getting asked variations on the following questions:

“Is this a vacation?”  Kinda.
“Are you going on a mission trip?”   Yes, but not that kind of mission.
“Why are you going there?” 
Why not?

Throughout my life, I have been blessed to have opportunities to travel – both domestically & abroad – which has allowed me to see some truly wonderful things, meet a wide variety of different people, push myself beyond my comfort zone and most importantly learn about myself and the world around me.

I am going on this trip for reasons that are both practical (to be covered in part 2 on this topic) and personal.  I’m looking forward to helping make people’s lives better (something that drives my career as well) and seeing a new part of the world.  As I’ve often said, when you look around and truly look at the lives of others – the struggles, triumphs, emotions, and dreams – you begin to realize that we aren’t all that different from each other.

Traveling also makes me thankful for all that I have in my life – the good and the not so good.  I take these opportunities to reflect on things going on in my life; the distance from the noise of everyday life helps provide some clarity and insights I otherwise may have missed.  I can recharge my batteries and gear up for the tasks ahead of me with a renewed energy and (hopefully) passion.

While I sit here freaking out about all I have to do before I embark on my journey to Cambodia, Laos, and Vitenam, I know that at the end, it will be worth it.  I just have to let myself be open to the experiences and take time be in the moment.

More to come on the more practical aspects of why I am going on this trip later. . .