To familiarize those reading with what's actually happening on this trip, lemme give you a rundown: around 1am the 3rd of August I flew out from Chicago O'Hare on Qatar airlines. I connected with two other members of the program- our final destination is the island of Phuket where we will be quarantining

It's called the sandbox program. The majority of the island is vaccinated, getting in is difficult and requires persistence in attaining all the proper paperwork. We'll get a covid test upon arrival and after we get the negative result we are then free to roam the resort, down onto the beach.

Yep, we are quarantining for 14 days at a mostly-desserted resort (covid kills tourism). I'm not altogether thrilled ( I'm not into resorts), but I'm hoping to find quiet. After quarantine we will fly to Chiang Mai where we will stay, study, and meditate at Chiang Mai university.

I anticipate this environment being fruitful, it's surrounded by temples, Chiang Mai is a moderately sized, wonderful city to stay in, and the cases in Thailand are on the decline.

Plans may change. India opening up means we go to Bodh Gaya India. The rest of Thailand opening up means we go stay at a monastery in the jungle. There are many courses of action that could take place from this point forward. Being here now at Baan Laimai, I readily await the next step in our journey.

It's only right that this first blog post be an expression of gratitude. I do not come from prosperous roots and this is an expensive trip. I'd like to thank the people at Fund for Education abroad, the people of the Carleton engagement program (especially Rob Quanbeck and Dr. Arthur McKeown), Todd Heidt and Lindsey Rogers with the Stellyes study abroad center at Knox college, Bren Tooley and Laura Bush for inspiring me to pursue this, the anonymous alumni family who contributed funds in lightof my inability to use funds from the Gilman Scholarship due to the covid situation, to my supportive coordinators at the Department of Rehabilitation services, Tom and Amy, and, naturally, to the many friends and family who have helped guide me toward this opportunity – my parents, my siblings, and my admirable friends. I intend to make the best use that I can of the support of all these people.

Thank you for reading and please take care.