I started traveling abroad when I was 21. I've learnt so much about myself and my strength with regards to, just figuring things out "on the fly". Of course there are so many curve balls thrown at a traveler and inspiring moments. I have many memories of many differnet adventures since I started to travel. I would like to share one that really stands out and how that motivated me to create a different reality for myself than what I had previously been experiencing.
I was 24 years old and traveling around Australia and South East Asia for 6 months. Well, then this thing happened, where I was on this tiny little island in the phillippines and after a day of scuba diving I walked into this shady little bar. What I soon realized was the bar was actually a front for the child sex trade. Men /perpetrators from around europe and north america where purchasing these girls. Still thinking about it now, makes my heart sink, I felt sick to my stomach and I got mad again. really really mad. Don’t underestimate the power of anger. If you put it to good use, you can change the world.
Because, you see, when you start leaving your comfort zone, meeting new people, seeing the world places and people you can sometimes start to move beyond your own circumstances. It puts your past to good use. You start to learn about courage, experience adventure, and have the world stop you in your tracks. You get this different perspective and AWARENESS about yourself and your circumstances.
After I walked out of that “bar” I could not stop thinking about those girls. I think because of my childhood ( being a survivor of sexual assault by a family member and peer ) this maybe hit home more for me because I couldn’t forget about it. I’m telling you, after that I really didn’t think my LIFE SUCKED. My life rocked, I felt so blessed to be able to come home to Canada and my awareness shifted about myself and how I could use the passion inside of me to make a positive change in the world.
I started using my new awareness about the injustices towards children and I did a lot towards the local & global issues surrounding sexual assault.
First of all, I found out about this group in Thailand called S.H.E..
SELF HELP EMPOWERMENT. This group was successfully getting girls out of brothels and teaching them a new trade, chocolate and jewellery making. They would ship the jewellery to me and I would have these big house parties and sell their jewellery for them.
I then spent the next few years building a brand called PASSIONATE FORWARD - it was fundraising events that raised over $30,000.00 for the Central Alberta Sexual Assault Centre. They have used the money to deliver a program called C.A.R.E which stands for Challenge Abuse Thru Respect Education. I worked with Theo Fleury a NHL Hockey player that had been abused by his hockey coach…we worked together to shatter the silence that shrouds sexual assault. SEE VIDEO ATTACHED TO THIS BLOG.
Walking into that little bar on that little island really opened my eyes and helped me put my past under a new perspective, I could move past my history and my hurt by helping these girls that were being victimized. I didn’t realize that they saved me. When you look beyond your own circumstances and notice others are suffering too, sometimes possibly even worse, you can use that knowledge to empower yourself and start helping others.