bangkok

WE ARE [DSIL] GLOBAL CITIZENS

Phom Phenh, Cambodia | Captured by Zachary Habayeb

Phom Phenh, Cambodia | Captured by Zachary Habayeb

There are some who “believe it when they see it”, who make a plan, trust in rationale, and take that leap only when they have the proof to validate the risk.

There are others who “believe it before they see it”, who have a vision, trust in their intuition, and take a leap of faith, risking it all for the great unknown. 

While I come from a culture that follows the former, I am living into the latter.

Bangkok, Thailand | Captured by Phan Dara

Bangkok, Thailand | Captured by Phan Dara

One big belief I have is that you can be a global citizen.

A global citizen is someone who doesn’t belong to one place or one community but belongs to every place and every community. A global citizen cannot be defined by what language they speak or where they come from. A global citizen speaks from the heart and every heart is their home.

Frangipani Living Arts Hote l | Phnom Penh 

You will know a global citizen when you meet one because they will disarm the default conversation. They will not fit into a single box. They will not walk a prescribed path.

A global citizen lives in MULTITUDES.

To live in multitudes means to be multidimensional; to encapsulate multiple identities, to hold multiple perspectives, and even to be in multiple places at the same time.

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Over two weeks, I had the priviledge of exploring the many multitudes of 15 global citizens as a part of the DSIL Global Course hailing from Costa Rica, South Africa, Hungary, Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, Canada, U.S.A., and India.

And it is these unique humans, which we now call “Sensei16” (Sensei meaning “Teacher” in Japanese) that have set my soul on fire.

You see we shared something truly special.

With the founder of the  Zero Baht Shop  - a shop that exchanges trash and recyclables for food | Bangkok, Thailand

With the founder of the Zero Baht Shop - a shop that exchanges trash and recyclables for food | Bangkok, Thailand

Together, we leaned into our learning edges, stretched beyond our limits, and leapt outside our comfort zones to discover a whole new realm of possibility. From Bangkok, Thailand to Phnom Penh, Cambodia, we traveled together, designed together, and lived into insanely curious, wicked questions together.

We touched and were touched by life itself.

Collecting trash with the Trash Pickers Association at the  Zero Baht Shop  | Bangkok, Thailand

Collecting trash with the Trash Pickers Association at the Zero Baht Shop | Bangkok, Thailand

We heard the stories of local Thai and Cambodians who lost everything, their homes, their families, their faith and who rebuilt (and continue to rebuild) their lives from the ground up. We used our entrepreneurial mindsets to work with local social enterprises like My Dream Home Cambodia, Koonsoor Kampuchea Training Academy, and the Zero Baht Shop in Thailand.

Collecting trash with the Trash Pickers Association at the  Zero Baht Shop  | Bangkok, Thailand

Collecting trash with the Trash Pickers Association at the Zero Baht Shop | Bangkok, Thailand

We failed forward learning about design thinking, conscious leadership, and inclusive development in realtime. We heard each other’s stories, tales of defining moments that have shaped who we are today and dreams for who we’re destined to be.

I can only stop, stare, and try not to blink. Did this really just happen?

They say you have space in your heart for people you haven't met yet.

Call it synchronicity. Call it destiny.

Ma:D Hub  - a club for a better society | Bangkok, Thailand | Captured by Mo

Ma:D Hub - a club for a better society | Bangkok, Thailand | Captured by Mo

Better yet, as Global Citizen Lili Camacho says, call it SYNCHRODESTINY (and a lot of hard work, thanks DSIL Global Team!).

No matter what you call it, there is space in my heart for you all and I sense there is something important for us to do together. And while I can only begin to imagine the infinite possibilities, I’ll allow the purpose to reveal itself.

So for now, I leave the DSIL Global Course with an expanded vision and a greater capacity to love.

I have a vision of social transformation and planetary regeneration. Where we transform broken systems of exploitation and oppression into generative sources of justice and liberation. Where we value people and planet over process and profit. Where we dedicate our lives first to our inner worlds and self-realization and then to exploring our passionate curiosities and sharing our gifts sustainably

Bangkok, Thailand | Captured by Phan Dara

Bangkok, Thailand | Captured by Phan Dara

I dream of a wiser, weller world where we return to our hearts.

In this vision, I aim to be an integral part of crafting transformational learning experiences that uplift and inspire. I want to create wildly, express colorfully, and weave a divine tapestry of togetherness.

While this vision may sound idealistic and a long way off, I have been blessed to travel around the globe meeting hundreds who ripple out touching thousands of people who are catalyzing their own part of this very vision and building a new world. 

As Global Citizen, Musa Nxumalo says, "Your dreams must be greater than your excuses." at  Ma:D Hub  - a club for a better society | Bangkok, Thailand | Captured by Mo

As Global Citizen, Musa Nxumalo says, "Your dreams must be greater than your excuses." at Ma:D Hub - a club for a better society | Bangkok, Thailand | Captured by Mo

Yes, many of the problems we face are gravity problems (ones we will not solve in this lifetime) but that doesn’t mean your energy and efforts are not worthwhile.

And while this way of living is not always graceful and it can be truly exhausting at times, the Global Citizen looks inward, lives their truth and moves forward, onward and upward anyway.

Phnom Penh, Cambodia | Photographed by Zachary Habayeb

Phnom Penh, Cambodia | Photographed by Zachary Habayeb

So here’s to you Global Citizens, my friends, my family, my teachers.

May you live your wildest visions and design forward your wildest dreams!

With an everexpanding and open heart,

Kelsey Lotus Wong

See full journey photo album and apply for the DSIL 2018 Course with field immersion in Thailand and Cambodia on August 24-September 2nd. 

Ma:D Hub  - a club for a better society | Bangkok, Thailand | Captured by Mo

Ma:D Hub - a club for a better society | Bangkok, Thailand | Captured by Mo

COLDPLAY: A HEAD FULL OF DREAMS TOUR

Last night I fulfilled a longtime dream of seeing COLDPLAY LIVE.

Words can hardly express what their music means to me and to be in the right place at the right time, to see them in Bangkok on their "A Head Full of Dreams Tour" was UNBELIEVABLE!

When we lost Max two years ago, the only sounds that could soothe me were Coldplay's album, Ghost Stories. Max loved Coldplay and was listening to this album during his final days on earth.

Rest in Joy, Max Mendoza [1989-2014]

Rest in Joy, Max Mendoza [1989-2014]

"Call it magic, call it true, call it magic when I'm with you..."

Magic. Ink. Sky Full of Stars. 

The waterfall of tears I've cried listening to Ghost Stories could fill an ocean. The hope, the beauty, the spectrum of colors that flood my heart when I hear their album Mylo Xyloto or A Head Full of Dreams is enough to light up a double rainbow.

And last night WOW, they delivered a TRUE EXPERIENCE! The lights, the energy, the fireworks, the bouncy balls, and the sky full of confetti stars was PURE MAGIC. Lead singer, Chris Martin was so gracious. He honored every single being in the audience, the entire band, crew, security, he even dedicated "Everglow" to the recently deceased and well-loved King of Thailand. It was beautiful.

What I find so powerful about Coldplay's music is the way they utilize it as a platform for creative expression. Their storytelling takes you on a journey and through that journey you are heard, seen, loved, whole. Watching them perform and share their gifts, I was stunned thinking about what it must be like to create something over 21 years with so much magnitude that it impacts millions of people around the globe. Music is one of those magical mediums that transcends languages and boundaries. Coldplay's music elevates our collective consciousness and unites us in the human experience. Calling it EXTRAORDINARY is an understatement. 

As I danced and belted out each song, I looked up at the moon and felt Max dancing and singing with me. When they played "Everglow", I howled into the night and shed tears of joy thinking of him.  

"Oh they say people come, say people go
this particular diamond was extra special
and though you might be gone, and the world may not know
still I see you, celestial
like brothers in blood, sisters who ride
and we swore on that night we’d be friends til we die
but the changing of winds, and the way waters flow
life as short as the falling of snow
and now I’m gonna miss you I know
but when I’m cold, cold
in water rolled, salt
I know that you’re with me and the way you will show
and you’re with me wherever I go
and you give me this feeling this everglow
oh, what I wouldn’t give for just a moment to hold
yeah I live for this feeling this everglow
so if you love someone, you should let them know
oh the light that you left me will everglow"
— "Everglow", Coldplay

Someone recently asked me how I honor and celebrate Max's life. Sharing his story and living my life to the max is the best way I know how. To me, living a life to the max means sharing the inner workings of my shy soul, opening my sensitive but courageous heart, and pursuing a life of adventure.

Max inspires me everyday to be a woman who follows her dreams and who's dreams follow her too.

Thank you for always believing in me, MAXIMO.

And an extra special note of gratitude to Nori, Scott, and their motley crew of ex-pats who manifested an extra Coldplay ticket and invited me to join their party bus! THANK YOU for that most generous gift. I'll treasure it for a lifetime.

xoxo,

Kelsey Lotus Wong

#AHFODTour #coldplaybangkok #alifetothemax