Why Volunteering was the Best Thing that I’ve Ever Done

IMG_0786This past summer I was blessed with the opportunity to volunteer for a couple weeks in Thailand. Volunteering had always been something I wanted to do but I had a hard time figuring out what kind of volunteering was right for me and finding an organization to volunteer through. After a lot of research I found an organization called We Are Bamboo.

Bamboo has many different volunteering and adventuring programs, but the one that I chose was their Elephants to Islands tour. I spent a little over two weeks traveling from Chiang Mia to Bangkok stoping at Ko Samui and Ko Tao in between. While in Chang Mia I spent 4 days living in the middle of a jungle volunteering at a elephant sanctuary. During my time there I lived in a bamboo hut and helped take care of the elephants by doing things like planting bamboo for them to eat and bathing them. The sanctuary is run simply on volunteers and donations. They rescue elephants from circus’s and other places where elephants are being mistreated. Working with such amazing animals and knowing that I was part of the reason they got to live a peaceful life where they would always be cared for was an incredible feeling. ppetmp

After leaving Chang Mia we spent a few days touring Ko Samui before heading to Ko Tao. While in Ko Tao I spent the week volunteering at a school. My friend Claire and I taught three different classes English. The experiences and feelings I felt while being at that school are indescribable. I was the teacher but they taught me more than I feel like I taught them. Being able to not only experience their life but make a difference in their lives was the best decision I’ve ever made.

I can truly say that my trip to Thailand changed the way I live my life. In America there are a set of social standards that define happiness and success for a person, there is a certain way of doing things that a person is told they have to do to be considered “successful” such as; going to college in order to get a good job to make money. Success and happiness are taught to go hand in hand, if you don’t make enough money you aren’t considered successful and your amount of success is supposed to determine your happiness. We are raised from a young age to believe these things. IMG_1064

In Thailand things are completely different, money is only important to them because it is essential to surviving. A person is considered successful if they are living a happy life, doing what they are passionate about, surrounding themselves with their loved ones, and constantly helping one another. Their kids are raised and taught to be kind and to work hard at what they love, whatever that may be. They are not pressured to go to college and get a high paying job.

19While teaching at the school something that really stuck out to me was the smiles on everyones faces, and how excited the kids were to just be there. These kids lived hard lives compared to most kids in America, they came from small homes usually with no air conditioning, most kids had to walk fairly far to school every morning and home every afternoon, but every single one of them came to school so eager to learn. Even at the elephant sanctuary, the elephant’s caretakers didn’t get paid much but still dedicated their lives to making sure these animals lived the best lives they could. No matter what it was the people in there were doing, they did it with love and compassion.

I originally went to Thailand with the intentions to give back to people in need but they ended up giving me more than I gave them. My experience there taught me to throw all standards that society has forced on people and focus on the things that are truly important in life: helping others, being kind, and doing what you love.

 

2

Advertisements

Stay Close to People Who Feel like Sunshine

Processed with VSCO with c3 presetHappiness is determined by the quality – not the quantity – of friends a person has, according to a study published in the American Journal of Phycology and Aging. There is even a theory called the “Dunbar Number” that says that the human brain only has the cognitive capacity to maintain stable relationships with a limited number of people.  It’s easy to see people with tons of friends and maybe wonder why you don’t have that many friends or start to question yourself. In almost all cases the more friends a person has makes the quality of their relationship with each friend decrease. IMG_0562

Close friendships/relationships are good for us: The intimate and personal relationships we have with people are actually extremely crucial to our wellbeing. Friendships are beneficially for us in a number of ways, for example: they increase your sense of belonging and purpose, boost your happiness and reduce your stress and improve your self-confidence/self-worth.

I realized after moving away from my family and living on my own how much I really needed my friends and how different my life would be without people like them in my life. It’s the most reassuring feeling knowing that no matter what is going on I always have people there to support me and give me advice when I need it. Life gets really tough and lonely at times which is why everyone needs people in their corner to lean on when things get tough and to celebrate with when things go right. ppetmp-2.jpg

Friendships and relationships can easily become toxic, which is why it’s so important remember to surround yourself with people who are constantly pushing you and motivation you to be the best person you can be. The best kind of friends are the ones who tell you what you need to hear instead of what you want to hear. Friends should be each other’s biggest fans. Hang onto the people that bring out the happiest and best version of yourself and never let them go!

Introduction

TESS1814Hi! My name is Tallie, I’m starting this blog as a project for my Fundamentals of Online and Digital Media class. I have never done anything like this but am very excited to try it out! My plan is to use this blog to share some of my experiences and give advice on how I try and maintain a happiest and healthiest life I can. I hope to inspire people of all ages to live a life they love and constantly seek adventure.

At my age I have found that it is extremely easy to get overwhelmed with your future and to forget the importance of living in the moment and finding time to do things that make you happy. A lot of people don’t realize how detrimental your mental state is to your health. Recently, I’ve taken time to sit down and really think about what is truly important to me and makes me actually want to get out of bed every morning. I definitely don’t have all the answers but, I’m going to share some of my experiences varying from my travel adventures, diet, and other things I try to do to live the most fulfilled life I can.

Majority of this blog will be me sharing stories of experiences, things that are important to me and have had a positive impact on my life. My goal is to either improve someones way of life or give them ideas on ways to possibly improve their lifestyle. I’d be lying if I said that every single day is a good day, but I do honestly believe that there is something good in every day. If YOU don’t enjoy your life who will?