To visit Thailand has been a dream of mine for many years. I LOVE everything about Southeast Asia - the food and the culture and everything in between. Thailand also is home to numerous Elephant Sanctuaries who help to rescue these beautiful elephants that are hugely mistreated for the sake of tourism and work. The Sanctuary workers clean them, feed them, bathe them and most importantly SAVE them from a life of starvation and mistreatment. SO - when the opportunity arose for me to visit Thailand AND volunteer my time at one of these sanctuaries - it was a dream come true. I jumped on the opportunity so fast that many of my friends were like, "When did THIS happen? I just talked to you yesterday!" Ha!
To do this story justice, I feel I need to backtrack a little. Everyone - this is Demi. When I was living in Charleston SC, I reached out via Instagram to her. She had the look and feel that I was portraying for my business and asked her to model some of my clothing. I had never met her in person, had no idea if she would even respond to my DM, but Boy am I so glad she did. She is the kindest soul - truly beautiful inside and out. Fast forward 3 years - My husband and I get stationed in San Diego CA and I finally get to meet her in person! How amazing is that! Here she is rocking my Inspirational Elephant Tank
I started to notice her posting about these trips she was hosting with a local company Mundo Adventures
. They were adventure retreats but with a purpose - Transformational if you will. Totally up my alley and peaked my interest so - I clicked that Follow button on Instagram!
In August, I notice both Demi and Mandolin at Mundo Adventures
post about a Thailand Trip coming up THIS December. It would be the first of it's kind - which is always a special experience. Demi would be leading us around her home country of Thailand to all her favorite spots and had planned a day to travel to Chiang Mai to the Elephant Rescue Park
. We are able to volunteer our time there and will be raising funds here at home to directly help these animals! I booked my spot 5 days later and SO glad I did because it sold out like lightening!
While I am excited about the trip as a whole (yoga, hiking, learning to cook food, snorkeling, ...), I am MOST excited about spending quality, meaningful time with one of my favorite animals AND help to raise money for a great cause! Here is a description given to me by Demi of what we will be doing!
"The monetary proceeds from retreat will be funneled directly into their rescue and rehabilitation program, including their food (of which they need a lot!), their medication and general healthcare, the maintenance of their shelter structures and watering hole, paying their human helpers and more.
When we visit the sanctuary, we will be helping them physically and directly with food and supplement preparation, accompanying their jungle walk to forage and getting down and dirty with their river mud bath. #hardatwork
Every single one of these elephants has been personally rescued by the sanctuary founder, Khun Kid. He has pulled them out of serious harmful circumstances: mostly the logging industry and tourist circus shows. He knows all their stories and will happily share them. This is only part of why, after a great deal of consideration, I fully trust and stand by ERP."
"There are numerous elephant sanctuaries in operation these days throughout Thailand - overall, this is wonderful. It's a huge improvement that steadily rose as I grew up here. However, there are many cashing in on the rise of eco-tourism and mindful travel by advertising themselves as rescues when in reality, they put on a marketing facade and prioritize profit. Elephant Rescue Park is run by people who ALWAYS put the elephants first. I dropped in on them over the weekend and it is palpable how much the staff love their elephant friends. They're knowledgeable in every aspect of optimal elephant care - I received a lengthy lesson on the ideal poop whilst there.
Khun Kid will be able to tell you exactly what your donation is going toward. Another thing I'm impressed by is how actively he undertakes veterinary courses to improve his care of the elephants and is all-round a true guardian of wildlife."
Here is where YOU can help. I have started a fundraising page. If you are interested in helping me raise funds that I will personally deliver to the sanctuary - you can visit my campaign HERE.
There are perks involved! If you donate $28 or more - you can get of one these beautiful Inspired Elephants Tanks! How fitting is it that Demi originally modeled these for me and now, I am visiting her, in Thailand to help ELEPHANTS! Nothing seems more magical than that.
Help me blow my goal out of the water!
I will be traveling there in December so check back here - or follow me on Instagram at @InspiredbyStephanieRose for updates on my trip!
Thanks for Reading.
As Always, Much Love and Light.