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I'm Tara.

I'm just a silly little girl who likes to go places and tell her silly little stories.

SLK documents the adventures I've had across 5 continents & who I've become on my journeys. 

You can read my full story here!

giving back, not looking back

giving back, not looking back

I took a dream job that ended up being part dreamy, part smoke-and-mirrors. And that's made me more determined than ever to find organizations to partner with and promote that are as transparent as I aim to be. Because being open and honest are qualities I envision everyone's best self to possess. Am I the only one? 

I had major anxiety after arriving back in the U.S. from Laos. Not only because I left something I loved without a Plan B, but because I had no Plan C or D or Q. Where would I go? New Zealand wanted me to jump through more hoops and my legs were a bit tired. How can the place that feels most like home and houses your family of friends possibly make you feel like an outsider banging on the fucking door? I don't know, but it did. For the first time since 2011, I didn't visit New Zealand and my friends are still shocked by that. I always make my yearly pilgrimage. I must have seriously been exhausted of fighting immigration, aye? 

We all know how the rest of the story goes. I applied. Turned down position with NGOs that offered too little or got rejected by dreamy gigs. Took a temp job. Found a job in Seoul. Backed out for what felt like a more challenging, less-done adventure in China. Blah, blah, blah. And we're still watching it play out. Not a day goes by when I don't miss Laos. It was sticky and hard and hilarious and simple and wonderful and stressful and incredible. But looking back never did any good, aye? 

I try not to look back at the hard realities of that job in Luang Prabang. I prefer to remember nights spent with friends on verandas eating Indian and laughing. Student breakthroughs. Events for the Women's Empowerment Project that went smoothly and were deemed a success. Brainstorming sessions with Touk who taught me more than any official mentor ever could have. Moments when I absolutely nailed my job and felt 10000% in my element. Because I know that's what I'm meant to do-- dilute the shit of this world by promoting stuff that actually matters. 

That philosophy translates into much of my life. I try not to look back at all the mistakes I've made as a traveller. I'm learning, slowly, to focus on what I've learned and how to avoid those lapses in judgement again. I try hard not to set my mind on how much damage every flight I catch does to the environment and instead attempt to make up for it with the details of my life {utilizing reusable, eco-friendly products, working with sustainable brands or companies that try to do good in even the most minor of ways}. 

Knowing that, you can imagine how proud I am of my sister who took a job in Zambia with African Impact to help coordinate volunteers. I totally understand the hard efforts and massive payoffs that come with managing volunteer projects, so I'm always silently cheering for her successes, of which there are many. 

Which brings me to this post. 

My sister's project in Zambia, is raising funds and awareness by asking people to pledge to walk 11 miles on August 11th. It's a distance that many children walk to get to school. More shocking, and humbling, than that is the fact that a quarter of a million children in Zambia aren't even enrolled in school. That's a quarter of a million too many.

When I read up on African Impact and the educational opportunities they are trying to provide children across the continent, it reminded me of the students in Laos I worked closely with. The girls who fought for equal access to the education many males receive. The Novices and Monks that Luke formed such special relationships with, dedicating much time and effort into teaching and organizing. The students from Nam Thuam that adored Dora because she made learning so fun. All of them, grateful and enthusiastic learners. And suddenly, I realized I could help my sister by using this silly little speck of a blog to help promote all the work her and the team of wonderful people she works with are doing on the other side of the world. 

I'm not asking you to donate, though that would be rad too. I'd like you to dig deep into the pockets of your Compassion Jacket and see what you can give. Maybe it's a social media share and maybe it's walking to and from work for a day. There is so much bad in the world. And, worse yet, there is so much bad disguised as good. Let's set our eyes forward on ways we can help. Ways we can take action instead of just talking about it all. 

Maybe African Impact doesn't tug at your heart strings. That's okay too. We all have the causes that turn our gears and pump our blood. But, maybe if you're out there looking for something good to give to. If you're wanting to drop kindness into a bucket and aren't sure which bucket to pour into, you could consider clicking or sharing this link. Maybe you'd like to join me and my friends on Friday as we walk 11 miles? 

Instead of looking back, let's start giving back. 

If you decide to walk 11 on the 11th, please take a photo and use #walkwiththem and tag @africanimpact if you use social media! Special thanks to Kaley, Brandi, Sammy, and Jen {alongside my momma!!} who have all pledged to walk already. I know it means the world to Kristin, as this organization is something truly meaningful to her. 

The dress I'm wearing in this post was bought secondhand, because recycled fashion is an eco-friendly alternative. The sunglasses are courtesy of Nectar, a Charleston-based company who donates money from every pair sold to TheBeeCause and BeeThinking to help save the world's bee population. I did cut my hair, and 7.5 inches are on their way to Pantene Beautiful Lengths. 
life lately: 11

life lately: 11

5 reasons why Amsterdam is not just another city in Europe

5 reasons why Amsterdam is not just another city in Europe