WHY ARE YOU HERE?
Have you ever thought about all the events that led up to this moment in your life? Like all the people or things that have shaped who you are? Or why you’re here? Well when people have asked me about my trip to Thailand in 2022, I actually said, if there was ever a reason or a purpose for my life, it was amplified and affirmed in Thailand. I know that is a bold statement to make, but all the people and all the events in my life up to this point, “have” indeed shaped me and positioned me to be where I am today. That is why I say this trip was more than just an adventure, it was life changing.
TEAM WORK MAKES THE DREAM WORK
While I haven’t been able to fully process and document all that I have experienced, I could spend a whole blog just on the warmth and hospitality that my team and I received. From day one we were treated like royalty everywhere we went. From airport pickups met with signs, smiles and hugs, to just knowing that SOMEONE had our backs at all time, it was an incredible feeling.
Speaking of having your back, I was equally impressed with my own support team. I could not have done this trip without the support of my dear friends Jeremiah and Kathy Raible and my “ride or die” and best friend, my husband Vaughan. Honestly they were key contributors in this being the experience that it was, and am truly thankful they put their very busy lives on hold to support me. I also want to thank those who prayed for us or donated to help with cost for travel and accommodations. As the saying goes, “Team work makes the dream work.” So THANK YOU!
While you’ll definitely get to see and hear more about adventures of the “everywhere we went” in future videos and posts on social media, today I’m going to give an overview of why this trip was life changing through these few lived experiences.
You may have heard me say, that when I realized that my courage had the power to empower others, that was a whole new way to live. Well that impact was felt in Thailand more than I’ve ever experienced before. With each presentation or interaction I realized that I was not only there as a motivational speaker, I was there as an advocate for others in ways I’ve always dreamed I would be. Becoming an advocate for others, when for the longest time I wasn’t even an advocate for myself? Wouldn’t you agree is life changing?
In the midst of a full schedule which included;
– 20 speaking engagements
– 3 International schools districts
– a deaf school
– Community presentation (Parents of students and their community)
– Meeting the Canadian Ambassador in Thailand and having her attend two of my presentations
– The behind the scenes connections and interactions
– Our vacation and my parasailing video that went viral
– And my take on Thailand as a person with a disability and accessibility. Etc..etc..
I also had the privilege of meeting a group of students from the Invisiblities club, and interview 3 amazing individuals who are living with a disability. Let me share a little about these trailblazing individuals, but understand there WILL be more to come.
Starting with the Invisiblities club at the International School Bangkok. While we know that all disabilities are not seen, we know they are just as debilitating, and in some cases more so. They asked some great questions, and had some great conversations that I believe helped them build their confidence, and will help them in the weeks and months ahead, as they learn to advocate for themselves and others.
Another person I really connected with was a teacher who’s also a person with a disability, he stated that I’ve empowered him to speak up for himself and be heard in a way he’s not experienced before. The other two were students, who expressed that they’ve never known anyone with a disability with such a powerful voice to empower them as I have, and thanked me for being a role model and giving them courage to use their voice.
I also was inspired by Meg, she’s an incredibly courageous and talented young lady, who’s headed towards the Olympics. She was only 6 months post amputee when we met. Then Aly, a wise beyond his years young man, who lives with an hearing impairment. I believe you’ll see him as a strong advocate for those with disabilities, and likely see Aly on a TedX stage. (You heard it first here.) You’ll get to hear more about these trailblazers in future videos.
IT WAS MORE JUST AN ADVENTURE!
“The way that you’ve empowered and impacted our students and teachers is something that I can’t even fully express. Since you’ve been here we have seen students come forward to share their experiences who’ve never spoken up before. You have ignited something in them and it’s the most amazing thing to witness.
You have given them a voice in a way that I have not ever seen. As a result of your visit there were conversations that have been had for the first time. You have also giving us a lot to consider when we are thinking about what it means for accessibility and inclusion. You have opened a door I don’t believe we will ever shut, and we hope to keep the conversation going so that we can grow what we have learned to improve and make our school more accessible and be more inclusive to those with disabilities.”
Teacher – International School Bangkok
Photo: Left to right – Teacher Kerry Dyke (My high school friend who invited me to Thailand, Me and Canadian Ambassador Sarah Taylor
WATCH MY LIFE CHANGING EXPERIENCE - PART 1
If you ask me about my journey as a person with a disability I will tell you it’s not always been easy, but I will also tell you this, its been an adventure that I would not change for anything.
I’ve always said that I wanted to make a difference in this world, but I never expected that I would do it through being different. Different as a person with a disability. However, as a result I am able to become an advocate for myself and others. This trip was the most incredible life-changing experience that I have ever had. Thailand enabled me to have many amazing adventures, I hope you see a glimpse of how it was also life changing.
DIFFERENT - Micah Tyler
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