July 26, 2018
Hello one last time!
We have wrapped up our last activity of rock climbing in Chiang Mai and are both sad and excited to be home soon. It all went by way too fast! After finishing the bamboo rafting at the end of the last session we made it back into Chiang Mai and left the next morning to go rock climbing just outside of the city. Ethan helped to keep all of our spirits up with his excitement about the activity, and his enthusiasm was contagious! Everett’s determination was also amazing during climbing, and even though some of the climbing routes were slippery or difficult, he persisted! Later that afternoon we made our way to the hot springs lodge where we stayed for the evening. Everyone enjoyed walking around the peaceful natural springs and we even got to cook our own eggs in the hot water! This didn’t go so well for Alice and Caroline, because their egg was still a little gooey when they tried to open it. It left quite a funny mess but they were troopers and kept cooking until they got their eggs just right.
On our last day we got the chance to go caving and had to climb into the cave and then rappel over 100 feet down in order to get into the cave. Briggs was the biggest help and carried our lunches down into the cave so that we could have a picnic by headlamp once we had descended. We came across all kinds of things (read: spiders!) inside the cave but Dabney was such an encouragement to everyone and rallied the girls to walk into the pitch black caverns! Madden was able to conquer her fear of rappelling and finished off the day by zip lining and then repelling down with everyone! The caves were beautiful and it was crazy to think we were so far underground!
That night we made our final trip to the night market so everyone could get all of the souvenirs and gifts they needed. Chris continued to impress us with his bartering skills as he made some hilarious purchases. If Chris couldn’t get the price down, nobody could get the price down. Mia and Abby Kate discovered the Thai rolled ice cream stand and waited all night to get some just before we left. They were not disappointed that this was their last Thai dessert! Tommy and AC were our final leaders of the day and led us in an incredible last Moonup! It was full of so many fun reflections on our time together. We can’t believe that the trip has already wrapped up! We had the greatest time adventuring around Thailand with each other and we will miss all of the laughs so much! We’re so thankful for the wonderful trip we had, and we know it’s because the students were so amazing!
Thank you for sharing your loved ones with us!
All the best and baai baai!
-Zach and Taylor
July 23, 2018
Hello again everybody!
We are coming to you live back in Chiang Mai. We just wrapped up the service section of our trip in the Karen Village and we got the chance to meet some incredible people, eat amazing home cooked Thai food, and spend lots of good quality time together! This section of the trip started off with a long hike up the mountain into the village led by Uncle Chai, our local guide for the service section. He had plenty of wisdom to impart on us during the hike, including learning about local hill tribe religions, a lesson on how to make a bamboo walking stick, and how to have fun with a bunch of different leaves. He sure kept us entertained on our trek! The views along the hike were stunning, and although we were all a little out of breath we were captivated by the northern mountains of Thailand.
Upon arriving to the school where we would serve for the next few days we learned that our service project would be painting the whole exterior of the school. In a few short days we transformed the brown wood into a rainbow of pastel colors. Ethan was especially helpful for this because he repeatedly offered to get on top of anyone’s shoulders or balance on just about anything in order to paint the tops of the walls. He might be coming back home with a few newly decorated articles of clothing…Mia was just as helpful as her work ethic just shined this week. We never saw her take a break until the job was done and she was a big motivator for our group. We also got the chance to draw and play with some kindergartners one morning and we all discovered what an incredible artist Dabney is! Our group agreed that she had drawn the best flower we had ever seen, and she even got her artwork hung up in the classroom.
On our first morning there Alice was eager to help (and eager to eat) and generously helped prepare breakfast for our whole group with a few teachers who were graciously cooking for us. She easily made the best toast of all time. During our downtime Madden could always be caught wandering around with a bunch of little girls holding her hands and braiding her hair. Everett also loved to spend time with the kids and even met a few boys who were able to teach him some Thai. He was a quick learner and loved to joke about us in Thai with his new friends. Tommy made some friends of his own and although we weren’t in water, he was stoked to get to finish our last afternoon off by playing soccer with all of our neighbors in the village.
When we had finished painting the school we hiked a short ways to a different place in the village so that we could help with a few different projects. Caroline showed off her artistic talent by painting a Moondance 2B sign on the newly constructed pavilion we were helping to decorate. AC discovered her knack for painting sea creatures and had a whole section of a wall covered in sea life – Uncle Chai loved it! In the evening Uncle Chai taught us a game where the loser’s punishment was to sing a song to the group. Sweet Abby Kate had to sing for us several times, but we didn’t mind because she has such a beautiful voice! Briggs also impressed us with his guitar skills that he showed off after dinner as we all hung out on our porch overlooking the mountains.
We ended this section with a bamboo rafting trip down the river and Chris loved it so much that he just hopped right in the water and swam alongside the raft. All in all, service was wonderful and our group got to spend a lot of time together in close quarters. From hikes, to painting, to late night dance parties with all of our neighbors and everything in between: we love the Karen Village! It’s hard to believe we only have a few short days until we say goodbye to this incredible country, but we are going to make the most of it while we’re still here. Here’s to all the adventures, laughs, and yummy food these next few days can hold!
-Taylor and Zach
Dabney: Hey heyy fam! We are in Chiang Mai and have gone to the market, rock climbed, and stayed at the hot spring. Soo much fun! I am not ready to leave Thailand, but I miss you guys! See you soon. XoXo, Dabs
Madden: cherishing my final moments Thailand! really enjoying it but really missing y’all!! service was so inspiring, and I will miss the Karen people. don’t worry about my blister (named Gloria) she survived and btw dad it was not from my hiking shoes LYTHAB!!
AC: hey everyone!! We’re in Chiang Mai rn and are wrapping up our final days! So sad to leave but I miss y’all and have so much cool stuff from the market to show you! See y’all in a few
Caroline: hey y’all! We are on to the last days of our trip!! I’ve got a lot of stuff to show you from the market! Can’t wait to see y’all!
Alice: can’t wait to see everyone! Thailand was amazing and I love my group! See you all soon
Tommy: Hello mom, dad, and Rob hope all is well in f8 or clt wherever you are. Rob must be enjoying his time away from siblings and in the complete limelight of parent attention. All is well here looking forward to the final days in Thailand and procuring copious amounts of presents back home. Can’t wait to see Will, Tommy and Kayla again. See ya later!
Everett: hi see you in 2 days. I have been having a great time. Love you!
Chris – cherishing my final moments Thailand! really enjoying it but really missing y’all!! service was so inspiring and I will miss the Karen people.
Mia- hey mom and dad!! Don’t want to leave but excited to see y’all soon!
Abby Kate- Hey fammm!!!! Loving my last days in Thailand but really missing you guys… can’t wait to see y’all! I have some interesting story’s to tell!! Xoxo
Ethan – Hey mom and dad. I had a great time and I’m excited to see you soon. Tell ya all about it in a few days!
Briggs – Hey mom and dad. I can’t wait to see you guys back home in a few days but I also don’t want to leave Thailand so soon. I have been having a blast here and can’t wait to tell you all about it.
July 16, 2018
Hey friends and family!!
The past few days we have been having so much fun climbing in Krabi beach! There has yet to be a boring moment with this terrific group and we are trying to enjoy every second we are here together! We have climbed up to 30 meters, soaked up some rays on the beach, and had endless laughs that we know will not stop!
When we started our first day of climbing, Mia showed us the ropes (pun intended) by not only climbing every possible route, but even asking the instructors if she could attempt to complete the most challenging one on the entire wall! It was very cool to see her show that initiative. Tommy was then able to show us that he could climb one of the routes in 46 seconds!! We are convinced that he is part monkey. Briggs also found his passion the past couple days by reaching the top of every route he attempted. It was very cool to see how much he enjoyed this part of the trip! Even when we weren’t climbing, Chris and Everett kept everyone laughing all day with their hilarious impressions and uncanny cleverness. Never a dull moment with those two. That night we had a delicious dinner of very authentic Thai food and Madden found a delicious chocolate shake, and of course everyone else had to follow her lead!
The next day, Abby Kate did such a great job conquering her fears while repelling! She was able to go down the mountain side while enjoying an unbelievable view of the Indian Ocean. Dabney and Caroline creatively fashioned together a Moondance sign on the beach so everyone could get a great picture! While we were caving, AC couldn’t help but enjoy the beauty of the caves and how cool it was that we were able to hike through them! While others were climbing and getting a great workout, Alice organized a workout of her own for any and all to participate! It was very cool to see the group together, and definitely a great end to our time at Krabi Beach.
After our very busy travel morning to Chiang Mai, we ended up touring the beautiful Wat Phra That Doi Suthep temple on top of a mountain! It was such a beautiful spectacle to witness and I know the entire group got a lot out of the cultural experience. Our next day we had the very rare opportunity of playing with and bathing the elephants! Ethan even had the chance to walk his own elephant down to the river! It was quite humorous and impressive that he was able to get such a beautiful, gigantic creature to follow him to the water! Seeing the elephants has definitely been a major highlight of the trip thus far.
We have been having such a remarkable time, and we cannot wait for all of our future endeavors coming up!
Until next time,
Zach and Taylor
Briggs – I’m having so much fun in Thailand and I love you so much mom and dad. After rock climbing for two days I might need to go to climb Nashville when I get back. -Briggs
Chris- having a good time. Miss y’all
Abby Kate – Still having the time of my life!! Miss y’all tons tho.. dad you better be scuba certified when I get home! Hope Anna beths party went well , sad I couldn’t be there. Love y’all lots and can’t wait to see you <3
Mia: I am loving it here! Krabi Beach was so cool!
Ethan: I’m having a great time here, but I Miss you guys a lot. Hope you are having just as much fun as I am!
Make sure to give boo some love too. See ya soon!
Tommy: missing the water where I was dubbed ‘fish man’ but l’m looking forward to the service. Tell Ben Paige and Co. I’m missing them a lot and can’t wait to see them again.
Everett I love you mom and dad I’ll see you in two weeks having a great time here in Thailand
Alice: heyyyyy! Miss you guys so much! I tried rock climbing… you can guess how that went. Everywhere in Thailand has banana milkshakes so that’s been amazing now we are going to the elephants! See ya soon
Madden – Hey hey from krabi beach! just finished rock climbing and now we are headed to Chiang Mai. JP I hope you had the best time in Cali- can’t wait to hear all about it. tell the littles I miss them LYTHAB
Dabney: Heyy hey fam !!! We are all having a great time and are now headed to Chang Mai. Hope everything is good in Memphis. Miss you guys lots! Xoxo, Dabs
P.S. Tell Stu and Clai I say hey
AC: hey everyone! I’m having so much fun and am headed to Chiang Mai rn! Miss you all and love y’all! Xoxo
Caroline: hey family! Miss y’all so much!!! We are in the airport going to Chang Mai right now! We’re all having a great time here in Thailand! Love y’all! Can’t wait to see y’all!
July 13, 2018
Sawadeekah friends and family!
We just wrapped up our four day scuba diving session in Koh Tao and it was incredible! After a whole lot of travel on planes and ferries and trucks the students arrived in good spirits ready to dive! The first night almost everyone had their first experience with authentic pad Thai and they were thrilled. We had some beautiful sunny days and everyone had a blast! The mornings were full of scuba theory videos and quizzes and the afternoons were spent practicing skills in the water, and the last day was all fun dives. Everyone was certified and Tommy even received his advanced certification (ask him about his shark sighting!). Ethan was also able to point out a giant grouper to everyone during a dive which we all loved seeing.
Mia and Abby Kate impressed the instructors with their quick learning and by the end of the week they was using the least amount of air during the dives (a sign she was really comfortable and relaxed). Dabney was a natural in the water from the beginning and wowed us all with her instant skills and eagerness to dive. Madden was also a natural, and got the chance to serve as one of the first Leaders of the Day. She got up extra early to help prepare breakfast for everyone so they could sleep a little longer. Alice and Caroline were in a dive group with one of our instructors, Quico, and they always managed to have the longest dives!
We’ve gotten the chance to try many local Thai foods for dinner (all have been delicious) and Chris has been one of the most adventurous eaters. He’s always asking what a good Thai option would be so that he can experience the local cuisine. AC has also been quite the adventurous eater (she had an interesting experience with pad see ew), but has still remained our most loyal Nutella fan. One night before dinner Briggs showed us all his dance moves and we were both shocked and impressed. On our last night in Koh Tao we had a traditional Korean Barbecue to celebrate the students success as new and advanced divers. Everett got the chance to be the DJ after dinner and everyone was enjoying his music selections (even the European dive instructors who weren’t too sure what the American music was). We are so excited to start climbing in Krabi and are really hoping this trip slows down!
Talk to everyone soon!
-Zach and Taylor
Abby Kate: miss y’all!! I’m having so much fun!
Madden: hey mom dad and sibs! having the best time in Thailand! it is incredible! miss y’all so much! LYTHAB PS mom please make a hair appointment
Tommy: Hello mom, hello dad. I hope all went well in F8 and I hope that Mary is adequately packed for her trip. Looking forward to the future and bountiful amounts of Chic Fil A. -TS
Ethan: hey mom and dad I miss you guys. Everything’s all good and we’re very safe. PS- Ryan is going to have a great time, he has nothing to worry about.
Mia: hey mom and dad! I’m having such a great time here! Love y’all!!
Everett: Hi I love yall. See you in two weeks.
Chris: miss y’all I’m having a good time.
AC: hi mom and daddy! I’m having the most amazing time! Can’t wait to show y’all all my pics. Tell Josie to remember to feed the fish! Can’t wait to see y’all. Xoxo
Alice: hey everyone! Miss you guys but things in Thailand are pretty great! I’ve eaten so many Nutella banana crepes I can’t count. Scuba diving was awesome. See you soon love ya. Ps- wish you came cathy
Caroline: hey! I’m having a lot of fun! We are now scuba certified. Miss y’all so much! Can’t wait to see y’all!
Dabney: Heyyy hey fam. I am having a blast I’m Thailand. It’s sooo pretty and so fun but I miss you guys. See y’all in 2 weeks! XoXo, Dabs
Briggs: hi mom and dad, I’m having the time of my life and I miss you. I’ve eaten so much good (cheap) food here and I love it so far. Tell Wil I said hi. -Briggs
July 6, 2018
Hello Thailand Families!
We heard from our leaders, and all of your students have arrived safely in Bangkok. We cannot wait to hear more about their adventures!