design your life

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

TRAVEL IS EDUCATION FOR LIFE.

Grand Canal | Venice, Italy

Grand Canal | Venice, Italy

People often ask, why do you travel so much? 

TWO WHY's:

  1. Travel is education for life. It exhilarates, liberates, feeds, challenges, and teaches me.

  2. I am an explorer and it allows me to learn about myself and connect with others.

But how do you do it? How do you sustain work and travel?

TWO HOW'S:

  1. First, you have to consciously CHOSE this life. It’s not for everyone and it’s not all glamorous, it can be ridiculously frustrating and exhausting. You must tune into yourself and really get clear on your vision for your life's journey. My end game is to live a life rich in life experience and so for me, the juice is worth the squeeze. Take the time to determine what's right for you. 

  2. Second, look for companies that value Freedom. Seek forward-thinking organizations that are designed to give you the autonomy, flexibility, and trust to do the work.  More and more organizations are getting that the best employees live full, whole lives and aren’t robots. They want people who are passionate and purpose-driven. They get that Go-Getters who are also Go-Givers are the real future. If you can’t find a like-minded team, keep putting it out there, it will come. If all else fails, build it. To learn more from on how many organizations are rethinking work and wellbeing check out Arianna Huffington's post here.

An important thing to note is this way of life didn’t open itself up yesterday. Three years ago, this was not my reality. Three years ago, Phoenix was my city, my community, and I was hellbent on seeing it flourish.

That said, I had a vision beyond my known world.

I believed I could be a Global Citizen and a part of many communities. I believed I could design a life where I was paid to be myself. I believed I could work with an organization that would see my passionate curiosities and personal interests as assets rather than distractions. For me, it wasn't about "Millennial entitlement", I knew if I couldn't pour my whole self into something, I would be disengaged and average at best. Centered in this vision, I've been designing my life ever since and while it certainly wasn't clear looking forward, the dots have miraculously connected looking back. 

The key I have found is unlocking your vision, listening to your callings, and building your own personal curriculum from there.

Aegean Sea | Hydra Island, Greece

Aegean Sea | Hydra Island, Greece

It feels good to be lost in the right direction. — Unknown

A few resources to support:

VALUES

  • Values are a tool for helping you make decisions big and small. Once you can clearly articulate your values, you can determine what LIVING those values looks like. For example, one of my top values is Freedom and one way I live Freedom is by traveling :]

  • Knowing your values will also help you direct your energy more towards what's important and redirect your energy from what is not.  (Email me for the Delivering Happiness Personal Values Exercise: kelsey@deliveringhappiness.com).

VISION

  • The Vision Conversation - This organization hosts workshops and writes about manifesting your vision. Founder, Kristin Hayden is a true Visionary who speaks all over the world (read her blog).
  • Ideal Day Vision Exercise by Martha Beck - Very useful visualization meditation to help you picture your ideal day, which allows you to see it, feel it, and then plan backwards.

TRUE COMMUNITY

  • HIVE Global Leaders Program - This was a really powerful program that includes workshops on Designing Your Life and Finding Your Purpose. I've written about my experience here. If you're interested in going I am happy to connect you with their Community Team. For a discount, use HIVEALUM for $200 off tuition.
  • StartingBloc - For social innovators and changemakers, this is an amazing global community of people who want to dedicate their lives to doing good and also want to be able to support themselves financially. At present, they have four institutes a year in the U.S. - New York, New Orleans, Washington D.C. and Los Angeles. 
  • Under30Experiences - I am new to this community but WOW, this group is full of digital nomads, adventurers, and life enthusiasts. They see travel as a vehicle for transformation and meaningful connection. They facilitate group travel excursions worldwide from Costa Rica to Iceland, Bali to Peru. 

Much love on your journey. Safe travels and happy learning!

With gratitude,

Kelsey Lotus Wong