Summer of Travel: Part 2
After I finish the Camino, I will have a few days back home to prepare for my next epic adventure— Thailand. There I will study Buddhism and conservation through a graduate program called Earth Expeditions.
Back in December I applied to the program through the graduate school of my alma mater, Miami University. The program, through Project Dragonfly exposes students to global conservation efforts and inquiry-based learning at sites around the world. For teachers looking for graduate credit, these courses are a steal of a deal for seven credit hours. Moreover as a traveler and lifelong learner, this is an incredible opportunity to introduce me to the other side of the world and learn something entirely new.
The online class began back and in April and ends in December. While I have been packing and prepping for two trips, I have been simultaneously reading my course reader and writing a research paper on the topic of Mindfulness and Contemplative Education which I somehow managed to connect to walking the Camino de Santiago and managing teacher burnout.
The ten-day class will take us north of Bangkok to Thailand’s oldest national park, Khao Yai, where I hope to see some of the hundreds of wild elephants that call the park home. We will spend time at Buddhist monasteries practicing walking and sitting meditation along with a number of forest wats (temples) where we will engage with the community in their forest conservation efforts.
After the course, I will spend another two weeks seeing more of Thailand (and Cambodia) with some of my classmates. Here’s a little preview…
Cambodia (Siem Reap & Angkor Wat)
Southern Thailand Beaches (Krabi & Railay)
I have heard nothing but amazing things about Thailand— from the people to the cuisine, I have no doubt this will be an amazing trip. Even the idea of sleeping on a straw mat in a Buddhist monastery is thrilling to me, because really when will I ever have an experience like that again? And I get to capture it all on my new big girl camera that I finally purchased.
Let’s hope August doesn’t come too soon. Now I just need to learn a few Thai phrases…
Have you been to Thailand and Cambodia? What are your must-sees?