It’s an accomplished feeling to note that I have physically made it to the other side of the world– and it truly is — 12 hour time zones ahead. Half the time I am in the future impaired to back home. The flights have Been uneventful so far which when traveling long distances, 23 hours in air, with two connections, is a good thing. I had a window seat with no one next to me on my way to Tokyo-Naratia except for the still guy one seat over. No joke, The Japanese American guy next to me barely budged the entire flight. He slept facing straight upright with his eyes lightly shut whether I opened the shade or not. He did not even rustle to go to the bathroom. I hopped over the top of him when I had to wee.
This being trapped, I slept majority of the way with wake ups for meals. We had a chicken dinner dish with a role and butter and brown rice. I am eating every morsel because I have not been positive when or where my next meal is coming from. The next flight snack was a surprisingly non-mushy turkey sandwich accompanied by a petite pint of vanilla gelato. Scrumptious

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Check out the recording here!

I endured the majority of summer escaping to this imagined moment in my mind. And now the moment is here- take off! I have made it to that very moment! Pinch! The pilot just announced they are closing the door to UA0081 ORD–>NRT. I’m settled into my seat 53A with no one next to me and the view of the world out the window to my right. I’m sitting on a pillow. the plane is huge and barely half full. The weather outside is rainy, cool and 38 degrees F which i believe is an OMEN that this is my  path- escaping this horrid Chicago weather to hotter, humid Jungle Climates of Chiang Rai. I have so few cares in the world right now. my to=do list priority is making it to my gate @ Tokyo-Naratia.  I should have about 2+ hours to find the gate in the same international terminal. So  I am taking in this peace and the strength  I have mustered to get myself to this chair. I am also extremely grateful for so many dear friends and family who’ve supported me through this time. There is a bit of tightness in my throat – that happy cry joy bittersweetness that bundles up inside of you. I’m so carefree and happy right now.

EEEEE the World!!!

Konichiwa le monde!

For this flight I plan to toast to my loved ones who got me to this point, then smile, pop an ambien and take next steps when I wake up! SO MUCH LOVE,

<3 Hallieeeeeeee





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The three hour bus ride from Pai to Chiang Mai is 736 turns of narrow winding cutbacks up and down the mountains. It’s so treacherous all 7 of us adventurers took Dramamine (motion sickness prevention tablets) prior to climbing into our private songataeow on the way there. The route to Pai was back and fourth and back and fourth across the cutbacks, but because it was dark we had no perspective of the mountain ridges we were bussing across. This drive today was spectacular!!! I wanted to shout eeeee the whole time and restrained from asking the driver sitting directly to my right to pull over several times to snap photos of the outrageous views of the jungle mountains. This is an example of the curves: (video) warning this may make you feel like you’re in a real life video game. The cliffs were thousands of feet down if we teetered too far beyond the rail which felt like inches from my door. My stomach was clenched as I constantly attempted to pop my ears. This experience was extraordinary and I’m so grateful this spontaneous early morning visit to the bus station resulted in my choice of the best front row seat ever!!

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 Since I’ve stepped foot in Thailand everything has been a balance of thrilling to the point where that bump wells up in my throat and I want to shout out “eeeeee!” in excitement (and I have!) to a completely slowed pace of life allowing time for peaceful reflection. Most importantly this will be an extremely cultural experience, as we are 20 miles from the nearest city in a small foundation camp at the base of the northern Thai mountains. Four hill tribes, the Akah, Lahu, Mien, and Karen occupy the area and we work to grant them equality as these indigenous people are looked at as below citizenship. Although preserving culture and their communities is the number one goal, speaking English is an important indicator of economic success in this world, thus several indoor volunteers rotate from 3 different primary schools, 2 child care centers, the hospital, orphanages and even private lessons to build the understanding of conversational English. The outdoor volunteers are sent to local villages daily to build mud slide damns, start sustainable water systems, terrace rice paddies all with machetes in hand!

More to come on sleeping in the airport, eating rice and spicy thai food for breakfast lunch and dinner, my day to day life here at mirror foundations and of course the relationships my heart is forming for this land and these people. Until next time, enjoy this video of my arrival- and yes I shared this songataeow with a live chicken we later prepared for dinner!

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There are experiences in life which will be talked about until my dying day and then live beyond because my loved ones will carry on the story. This story is one of them. The beauty of this evening spent with Sur’i’chi’s Village is so simple, sensory and joyful. This love affair with the squealing pigs, gaggles of wild geese, chickens, roosters, ducks, little chicks all clucking and honking to the orchestra of village life is a tune which will never be forgotten.
















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I’m sitting in the airport with a balsamic aftertaste in my mouth from the under par over priced “Nuevo niçoise” airport salad thinking what do I do? We wait so long to arrive at our destination and now I’m in this moment at the airport ready to board to Tokyo my first of three flights and I am just going to take in this feeling. It’s a bit more empty than anticipated and missing loved ones creeps In deeply more quickly than expected. But this is it! I’m officially on my way. I’m much more calm than I expect to be. Security guards were the only people in line at the United international terminal. Mom says its a good omen to have my trip start I such an uneventful note and I will listen to her. She cried a bit and I want her to know I will be aware of my surroundings everywhere I go. I feel very safe and compact in a window seat of the food court.
Lots of Asian people- I’m already feeling taller. Alright, when in doubt of what to think or do next, write: it will bring a smile to my face! Now I just gotta get on that plane.

I’m off! Allons-y!!! <3 Hallieeeeeee IMG_1654.JPG





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EEEvaluating preparedness. Sometimes there is no prepare. It’s just dare to, and do!

I should be lesson planning for my students right now. Instead, I headed outside to the Concordia bluff 2 miles from my house to bend my body into challenging positions in a rock balancing yoga practice. Breathing in mollasana, the sun burst from the Mequon mist as the waves crashed against the bluff and suddenly gratefulness overcame my spirit. I’m so thankful to have grown up along this Lake Michigan shoreline surrounded by loving supportive people. So many sconnie souls have gone out of their way to comfort me this summer and wish me well on this crazy journey to Thailand ahead. Thanks!

Preparedness has to do with time. How and when do you determine you are prepared for an important task ahead? I have time right now but I am so fulfilled by sitting alone reflecting on where I come from and where I am going. People preach that prioritization of time is what life is all about but I’m not so sure. What if time ceased to exist in your mind? Possible? This paragraph on Time I read last night before bed keeps bounding into my thoughts as I contemplate here.

“Try to imagine a life without timekeeping. You probably can’t. You know the month, the year, the day of the week. There is a clock on your wall or the dashboard of your car. You have a schedule, a calendar, a time for dinner or a movie. Yet all around you, timekeeping is ignored. Birds are not late. A dog does not check its watch. Deer do not fret over passing birthdays. Man alone measures time. Man alone chimes the hour. And, because of this, man alone suffers a paralyzing fear that no other creature endures. A fear of time running out.” – Mitch Albom, The Time Keeper

I’m just jibber jabbering around about preparedness because how can anyone prepare for their own life’s adventure? You never know what
to expect. I’m leaving in 48 hours and have followed the #IVHQ checklist to a tee. I’ve been vaccinated, packed, ticketed, visa’ed, farewelled- now I just have to go. Is there more I could read and prepare? Always. Part of this adventure for me is just about letting go, stopping the constant analytics racing through my brain, and just stopping. I do. I dare. I want to. I can. I will. And I’ll face the little Thai kids with a smile and a bow and take it from there…. And also if anyone has any teaching tips or travel to-do’s let me know!
Selah, Hallieeeeeeee







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“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was a light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.” — J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King

Can there be light without darkness or vice versa?

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For anyone that questions me, watch this–>

Faa Mai is a happy baby elephant that lives only miles away from the Jungle Town I will be living in.

Cannot Wait!faa mai elephant


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