Traveling is by far one of our most favorite things to do. Just the thought at taking in new experiences by exposing ourselves to new environments is something Sarah and I always try to take advantage of. We've been to
many places since we've been together, but one place that sticks out greatly is our trip to Thailand. This trip was special for me in a number of ways. One, Sarah's family has a history with one of the
most amazing orphanages in the world. Two, it's on the other side of the globe. If you ever want to truly experience life different than you have, make it a point to take an excursion across the vast oceans. Three, most importantly, it was another amazing
journey with my wife. Life only comes around once, so what better way to spend it than with your favorite people along for the ride.
When we found out that we were going, we were super excited until we
found out about the near nineteen hour flight. I thought to myself, wow how will I ever keep busy. Great thing is, it wasn't as bad as we thought. Sure you get a little bit stir crazy and your feet swell, but once you realize what's ahead of you, patience
and jubilation set in all at the same time. After a stop for a few days in Hong Kong, which was amazing, we made our way to Bangkok. To be honest with you, the last time I heard about Bangkok was in the Hangover 3 film. Needless to say, I knew it would be
interesting regardless. We got off the plane and immediately the weather was so beautiful. "Sawadika!...Sawadika!" The expression for hello in Thaiis uttered politely and consistently by the natives.
The initial vibrational expression of generosity is apparent after being in the country for only five minutes. It was extremely hot at the time and every person I could see had sweat spots on their shirts. I'm not a huge fan of the heat, but I instantly realized
that it could be a lot worse. Not to mention, there was always a lovely Thai woman or man handing out water to us, so that really made a huge difference. If I learned nothing else from this trip
thus far, I've learned that kindness is an awesome ice breaker.
We hop in our car and we are off to Pattaya. As we travel along the freeways you notice all of
the building development taking place. In a way it's good to see a country evolve into a more modern state of living. What's interesting is that for every building that's constructed, there is still
the beautiful natural reserves of Thailand. The trees are lush and green, the soil is full and red and the wildlife seems content for the most part. There's so many emotions that permeate through you
as you ponder what's ahead, but being able to stay in the moment and frequently express gratitude can keep you calm and seeing things from a good perspective.
a two hour drive, we reach our destination, the Dusit-Thani Resort. I look at Sarah and realize we have just hit paradise. I think to myself, wow I can see why this is my father-in-law's favorite place to stay. From plants, trees, to marble fountains, this
place had it all. Often what's most important to us is the vibration of the place. Does it breed happiness, love, peace, joy, tranquility? It had all of these! When we reached our room, the first thing that catches your eye is the ocean. Up to this point in
my life, the only body of water I had been exposed to was the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific Ocean. My eyes lit up and in a small calm voice, I heard: "YOU BELONG HERE, ENJOY IT!"
didn't waste anytime experiencing all that Thailand has to offer. From zip lining to bamboo rafting down a jungle river, to snorkeling in water that feels like your taking a warm bath, we did it
all. Each adventure gave me a chance to step out of my comfort zone. One of the most memorable experiences would be snorkeling. Although I'm not the greatest swimmer, having my wife and mother-in-law,
who are phenomenal, has helped me immensely when it comes to the water. Six months earlier, an unforgettable life lesson was taught to me in South Florida. I finally felt tired of being afraid. I stood on the edge of a boat in Key West staring at the Caribbean
colored water. This was it. I made my move and plunged into it. As I opened my eyes underwater, it seemed as if I was cleansed of my fear. Clear, quiet and cool I embraced the water as it surrounded
me and floated back to the surface. To say I was completely elated was an understatement. Throughout the excitement, the lesson I learned was: "WHEN YOU'RE WILLING TO TAKE A LEAP OF FAITH AWAY FROM YOUR FEARS, YOU DISCOVER A POWERFUL PART OF YOURSELF AND THE
After visiting the Phi Phi Islands, the site infamous for Leonardo DiCaprio's hit movie The Beach, Sarah and I were excited to hit the water
for snorkeling. Once we reached our destination it was like we stepped into a painting. It was beautiful! Sarah felt right at home in the middle of the sea. She didn't hesitate to jump in, and all
you heard was laughter and excitement. I was ready to go off the side, but then I paused. With my wife having the time of her life cheering me on, I stopped and thought about what I had learned six months ago. I regained my confidence and leaped into the unknown waters. What I saw was not only a whole new world but a dream come true. As I swam around and watched the intricate design of the coral reefs, the unique colors of the blue and yellow fish
and the transparent view of the water, I slowly realized that we were experiencing heaven on earth. This is why you travel. This is why you long to experience the wonderful creations of God.
The beauty of this trip was that it was comprised of so many elements that make us who we are as a couple. Having Sarah's parents there for half of the trip was wonderful. They are two kindred spirits that are generous, loving
and grounded in so many ways. This trip was full of education. We learned so much about the Thai people and their culture. There are values they shared that we still carry with us today. The food
was delicious, flavorful and GMO FREE! Amazingly enough, I lost 15 pounds on the trip because the of the food, and working out of course. There was adventure! Snorkeling was only one experience. We actually
fed monkeys, zip lined, rode ATV'S, bathed elephants, hiked mountains and rode a bamboo raft down a river in the jungle. Needless to say, this was absolutely an unforgettable trip, but the most memorable part of it all was the Pattaya Orphanage.
For a lot of the children in Thailand, rough goings early on in life is, sadly, a prevalent thing. You can't even
imagine what these kids go through just to survive. I won't get into details, but just imagine you or your own kids being beaten, raped, cast down, left to fend for themselves or even sometimes
left for dead at a very early age. It's shocking! When you meet these little angels, somehow they still seem to keep their love and innocence at the forefront of their existence. As soon as we walked in, they made us feel so welcomed. Personally, I'm a hugger
and let me just say, other than my wife, I've never experienced such pure true love. So many kids rewarded us with gifts from their own belongings. To think a child has only two toys in the world, and they willingly give you one of them is the most profound
act of generosity that I've ever seen. No one knew my name, no one knew where I was from, no one really cared. All they cared about was that we were there and receptive to their adoration. Once again, I felt right at home. From a soul level, I knew we needed
to be here.
As I grew more in love with Sarah, she opened up more of her life to me. This was one of the biggest aspects of that journey. The Pattaya
Orphanage is a place that was very special to Sarah's brother Jody. He loved every bit of it. So much so, his family became involved. I'm sure he is beyond ecstatic to see how far it has come. Although I didn't have the chance to meet him, his spirit looms
in the hearts of everyone who frequents this establishment. His love, kindness and generosity is commemorated by a statue that stands proudly in front of the orphanage.
Journey to Thailand was a phenomenal trip to say the least. In the twenty days we spent in this country, we learned that love is not something that comes from what we see, but rather what we feel
from a soul's perspective. We don't ever have to know anything about anyone to love them. It's what we were put on this earth to do. It's important for us to take the best aspects of other cultures and implement them into our
own lives for our continued evolution to a greater existence of humanity. This is why travel is so important.
Shaun Robert Grant
CEO Uplifter Entertainment