Video: Bangkok – Ayutthaya

The ancient capital of the kingdom of Siam, Ayutthaya was a breathtaking day trip! When you find yourself next in Bangkok, don’t leave without seeing this incredible piece of history for yourself.

Enjoy this video the hubs made! I’m so glad for his ever-patient soul, never complaining when his wife runs off to take “just one more” photograph.

Click here to watch a video at Wat Pho Temple!

Click here to read more about adventures in Bangkok!

 

 

 

 

Video: Bangkok – Exploring Wat Pho

We had so much fun in Bangkok! One of our favorite temples was Wat Pho, home of Thailand’s largest reclining Buddha, the birthplace of Thai massage, and just one of the most breathtaking temple complexes I’ve even seen.

As promised, here is a short video of us exploring Wat Pho! Between my photographs, and the hubs’ video skills, we are unstoppable when it comes to travel documentation.

To read a full post on adventures to have in Bangkok, read Bangkok: Things To Do!

Click here to watch a video of us exploring Ayutthaya!

 

 

 

 

 

Bangkok: Things to Do

In summer 2015 we took a two week trip to Thailand. It was one of the most memorable experiences I’ve had, and I can’t wait to share some details with you in a series of blog posts!

Today, let’s talk about Bangkok.  This is a city that gets a mixed review from travelers.  While planning the trip, I was very unsure whether to skip Bangkok entirely and head for the hills (Chiang Mai) as soon as we landed. We decided to give it a chance, however, and I am so glad we did!  Besides the delicious food, bustling street life, and colorful tourist shopping typical of all locations in Thailand, Bangkok offers some of the most astounding temple complexes, interesting local markets, and a large variety of day trips.  Below, I’ll outline three categories of things to do: (1) Temples, (2) Markets, and (3) Day Trips. I’ll detail my favorite example of each category, and then list others you should check out too!

1. Temples

 Wat Pho – Wow this place was insane. When you research Wat Pho, the typical image that appears is a reclining Buddha the size of a cruise ship (not quite, but yeah). A reclining Buddha represents entering into Nirvana, and the ending of all reincarnations. This is one of the largest Buddha statues in Thailand, so it’s definitely worth checking out! Maybe the best part of the statue are the feet, which are covered in beautiful engravings and mother-of-pearl inlays.

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After seeing the statue, now you can wander around the temple complex! It was incredible, we spent about 2 hours meandering, and still didn’t see it all!

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Click here to watch a video of us meandering around Wat Pho!

Other temples to check out:

2. Markets

Amulet Market – Another cool place to check out would be the amulet market.  Open every day of the week from 7am-5pm, the amulet market is a great opportunity to get off the beaten path of tourist traps.

Thailand is one of the largest producers, sellers, and exporters of amulets. From warding off sickness, to finding true love, to obtaining monetary fortune, Thais place great trust in these manufactured trinkets.

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Chatuchak Weekend Market – This place was INSANE. Never ending maze of stalls, organized into sections based on product type.  This market was a well-oiled machine.  Grab a map of the market (available on site or here!), otherwise you will get seriously lost in this massive tourist trap treasure hunt. Oh, and make sure to grab a smoothie! Fresh fruit smoothies are a highlight of street food life in Bangkok. At 50 Baht (or $1.50) a pop, I was slurping these down morning, noon, and night.

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Other markets to check out:

3. Day Trips

Ayutthaya – Wow, just wow.  This day trip surpassed all of my expectations. Thailand wasn’t always called Thailand. For a larger portion of its history, this part of the world was known as the kingdom of Siam. On this day trip you will explore the ancient capital of Siam: Ayutthaya. Built in 1351, this city represented the every-growing power of an ancient kingdom. However, ruthless Burmese armies eventually invaded and destroyed the city. The heads of all the temple statues were severed, leaving the once beautiful city a place of ruin.

This trip is an all-day affair, as there are more than a few various temple complexes to explore. Grueling, but so so worth it.  The ancient temples look, at times, almost alien. And the freedom you have to mill around and explore will more than satisfy your inner Indiana Jones adventure spirit.  (Tip: if you’ve spent more than an hour drooling over photos of Thailand during your travel planning, you’ve probably seen images of the famous Buddha head wrapped in tree roots. This is in Ayutthaya, so keep your eyes peeled!)

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Click here to see a video of us exploring Ayutthaya!

Other day trips to check out:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pure Hike: Our First Giveaway!

give.away.blogIt’s time for our first Pure Hike Giveaway! We are so excited to share a little bit of East Asia with you, seeing it’s been our life for the past 11 months. Here is how the giveaway works:

All pledgers get an equal chance at winning the giveaway! If you have previously pledged, your name has already been entered into the drawing. If you have not pledged, you have until Monday, January 25th to make your pledge and be entered in the drawing!

Description of items: Cute character socks, popular Korean ramen, strange and fruity Japanese candies, “instant” ice cream, a tiger facial beauty mask, and lots more!

ANY pledge will get you entered in this giveaway! Every little bit helps! Wether it’s 1 cent per mile, or 1 dollar per mile, everything is appreciated and everybody will have an equal chance of winning.

Thank you for your support, you are saving lives with every penny you pledge!

Click here to make a pledge and be entered into the drawing.

Click here to learn more about Pure Hike.

We want to thank our amazing sponsors! Ahnu has amazing shoes for active adventurers wanting to get lost.

If you’re looking for quality camping gear that gets the job done without weighing you down, Big Agnes is the best you will find.

Every adventure includes some risk. Be safe while out in the wild by carrying a Spot GPS. You family and friends will be able to follow you along on the trail, and if you get into trouble, just press the SOS button and help will be on it’s way.

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A Year in Review

It has been a crazy twelve months, filled with new adventures, new places, new struggles, and new joys.  It’s easy to forget the many examples of God’s refining love being poured on our lives throughout the year.  So we’ll use this space to remind ourselves, as much as you, of His goodness towards us in 2015. On a very cold Valentine’s Day morning at the KCI airport, these two youngsters said our goodbyes and headed to our new home: South Korea. Our reasons for moving were many. We wanted to get involved in a ministry overseas.  We wanted to teach ESL.  Finally, we wanted get first-hand experience with the struggles of daily living overseas. Thus far, it has certainly been a challenging experience. But this has been, without a doubt, the most growing year of our lives.

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Leaving for Korea!

Our town is the tiny farming community of Waegwan.  So obscure, Google seemed reluctant to provide us with any information when we first got here.  We teach at four schools. Hannah teaches at a public middle school, and a private boys Catholic middle school. Brady teaches at a public elementary school and a tiny country school outside of town. Life as a foreign English teacher (“Waygook”) is never dull!  Each day in Korea brings new life lessons. Managing a classroom of 30 hooligans who don’t speak your language–and REALLY don’t want to learn it–is a lesson in creativity.  Taste-testing traditional Korean delights–sometimes voluntary, often-times forced–is a lesson in open-mindedness.  Being the only foreigner in your workplace–trying to read memos in Korean, navigate Microsoft programs in Korean, laughing at office jokes in Korean–is a lesson in patience.  Just navigating daily life as the foreigner–figuring out the public transportation systems, paying bills, finding frozen chicken at the grocery store, using a squatty potty and never having toilet paper in public bathrooms–is lesson in humility.

 

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Hannah’s middle school boys

One of our favorite memories of the year was meeting Hannah’s brother Josiah for a Thailand summer vacation!  Our experience in Thailand was incredible.  From jungle trekking with elephants, to snorkeling on coral reefs, to climbing waterfalls, to cuddling tigers, and eating tons of street food, we couldn’t have asked for a better experience.

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With Josiah in Thailand!

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At year end, we can honestly say life abroad has been an incredible adventure.  We’ve been given so many new experiences. Through His gentle guiding, we’ve gained clarity this year on the passions and skills He’s given us.  More than anything, we’ve gained passion for life abroad, and can’t wait to continue our pursuit of overseas ministry. We are so excited for this new year, and the potential each day brings. We’ll miss our Kimchi family, we’re thankful for the blessing our time here has been.

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These past few months, we’ve been preparing for a new phase of life abroad.  In March 2016, we are setting out on a 2-month hike-a-thon across the length of Israel.  Raising money for Samaritan’s Purse water initiatives, we are raising awareness for the global water crisis. We can’t wait to grow in compassion for those who spiritually and physically thirst. If you’re interested in supporting the cause, you can learn more here!

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We are warm with thankfulness for supportive family, encouraging friends, and our loving Savior.  Many blessings to you this holiday season.

All our love,

B & H

Why We Care & How to Help

Pure Hike: Why We Care

& How to Help

|| Why We Care ||

We’ve always known about the water crisis. It’s one of those things you see in a video clip, depicting the impoverished woman making her daily trek to retrieve water for her family. The video always leaves a knot in your stomach, big enough to cause discomfort as you take a sip from your ice cold glass. But small enough to be forgotten as soon as the clock hits noon and you rush to a lunch date. At least, that’s been our experience.

This time, however, the knot never left. We’ve been wrestling with this pit in our stomachs all year. The daily routine of our Western lifestyle has, instead of dulling the discomfort, only made it more defined. While we pour out the lukewarm leftovers of the drinking glass, 650 million people walk for miles to the nearest water source. While we enjoy comfort, safety, and health, 900 children die daily from diarrhea caused by unclean drinking water.

That’s a child every 2 minutes, dying from something that’s just an embarrassing annoyance for the rest of us.

The solutions to these problems are typically very simple. A class instructing people to wash their hands with soap can cut the chance of diarrhea in half. Teaching families to build a simple water filter with accessible materials can impact an entire community. In fact, clean water programs are one of the most cost effective ways to save a person’s lifeAccording to Water Aid, it only takes $22 to provide clean drinking water to someone who otherwise wouldn’t have it.

For the cost of eating at a restaurant, you could be saving a life.

So we’ve decided to do something to help, and we want YOU to be a part of it. We have partnered with Samaritan’s Purse, an acclaimed humanitarian organization doing a variety of relief work across the globe. You might be familiar with their program Operation Christmas Child (where you fill a shoebox with Christmas gifts for children in developing countries).  On their laundry list of international relief programs, Samaritan’s Purse has an impressive history of clean water initiatives in over 30 countries. These programs are saving lives, and it’s time for us to join the cause.

So we started this thing called Pure Hike.  It’s a hike-a-thon style fundraiser bringing awareness and support to the water crisis. In March 2016, we will start our 620-mile trek across the length of Israel.  And we don’t plan on stopping until we’ve walked every last one of those miles.  

We need you to be a part of this.

By committing support, you will help save lives with every mile.  By pledging pennies, nickels, and dimes, you will alter the future of entire communities.

Along the way we will post photos, videos, and updates. Through social media, you can follow our journey, encourage us, and watch your pennies turn into life-saving water.  As if this wasn’t enough motivation to participate, we’ll also have raffles and giveaways along the trail.  So yeah. No excuses now, right?

|| How to Help ||

| Pledge | Pure Hike is a walk-a-thon style fundraiser, meaning you pledge an amount of money for every mile we walk. The trail is 620 miles long, so the total possible amount you could be responsible for is:

(pledge amount) x 620

So, if you pledge $1 per mile, the maximum you could end up donating is $620. However, if we hike for 10 miles, break our legs, and have to come home, you only donate $10.

| Follow | You’ll want to follow our Instagram pictures, Facebook posts, and blog entires, because this hike will take us to incredible places. The Dead Sea, Jerusalem, the Sea of Galilee, and Bethlehem…just to name a few. We’ll be sleeping under the stars in the Negev Desert, staying in the homes of local Israeli families, and experiencing nomadic life with Negev Bedouins.   

We just partnered with SPOT, who has provided us with a GPS tracking device. Every 10 minutes, our current location is sent to an online map, allowing pledgers to track our progress along the trail!

| Donate | The trail takes between 40 and 60 days. We plan to cross the finish line in late April. We will then send out an update to each pledger, with the total amount of miles we hiked, and the $ total of your pledge. From there, you will donate directly to Samaritan’s Purse. We will give you with a link that provides an easy and secure way to donate.

So that’s why, and that’s how.  Now, let’s do something big together.

With love,

Brady & Hannahclick.here.

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Pure Hike-A-Thon Q&A: Part I

Hello friends! In June, we announced our upcoming fundraiser, Pure!  We are excited to give you more information about what we are doing.  Please read our Q&A below:

Q: What is “Pure”?

A: Pure is the name of a fundraiser we are doing from March to May in 2016.

Q: What are you raising funds for?

A: The support we raise will benefit clean water programs that educate developing communities around the world, providing the infrastructure needed to ensure safe drinking sources. All support raised will go towards Samaritan’s Purse, an acclaimed humanitarian organization pursuing clean water initiatives in over 30 countries.

Q:  Why did you choose clean water?

A:  Every day, 6,000 people die from lack of clean drinking water.  With a few simple tools, villages around the world are able to develop healthy environments through the services Samaritan’s’ Purse provides.  Digging village-wide wells, installing household water filters, and providing hygiene education are the key factors in this organization’s work.

Q: What kind of fundraiser is Pure?

A: Pure is a “hike-a-thon” style fundraiser, similar to “walk-a-thon” fundraisers such as Relay For Life. Donors make pledges to give a certain amount of money for every mile we walk.

Q: Where will you be hiking?

A: We will be hiking the Israel National Trail. A 620 mile trek winding across the length of Israel.

Q: Israel? Won’t ISIS kill you?

A: No. Israel is extremely safe and we are keeping in contact with people on the field to make sure that we will be safe. No hikers, foreigner or Israeli, have ever been attacked on the trail. The trail avoids all areas of the country with a history for causing trouble (i.e. Gaza).

Q: Won’t you just die in the desert?

A: It’s unlikely. About 1/3rd of the trail is through the desert, but there is an excellent support system in place to keep hikers safe and well supplied. First, you have small towns along the trail to make pit stops at. Second, hikers arrange for businesses to drop water and food along the trail to keep you supplied in between towns. These companies will make sure you have arrived at your campsites on time and can pull you off the trail if you need help. Third, it’s a popular trail and we will be hiking in the busiest part of the year, so there will be other hikers on the trail to help us if we need it. Fourth, we are hiking at the end of winter, so the weather will actually be really nice.

Q: What if the situation in Israel changes and it’s no longer safe? Will you change your plans?

A: If we feel Israel is no longer safe, we will change our plans. Our Plan B is to move the hike to the Camino de Santiago, an old pilgrimage that runs across France and Spain.

Q: Why do a hike at all? Why not just ask for money?

A: First, these types of fundraisers are much more effective than just asking for money. It’s exciting to follow along the progress of the trip, the donor is included in the experience, and the person fundraising is given an opportunity to demonstrate their passion for the cause.  

Second, it’s important to use your passions for the greater good. We are passionate about the need for clean water, and we absolutely love hiking. Combining the two is a no-brainer. We hope to inspire others to use their passions in creative ways to help others.

Q: How much of our donation is going towards Samaritan’s Purse?

A: 100% of your donations will go towards the organization.

Q: Who is funding the hike, as in, who is paying for airfare, gear, food, water, etc?

A: Funding for the logistics of the hike is coming from two groups: us and corporate sponsors. We are partnering with a handful of companies to provide gear and trail essentials. Any extra expenses will be covered by us, out of pocket.

Q: Can my company sponsor Pure?

A: Of course! We would love to partner with you! From monetary support, to specific hiking gear, we are welcoming any company to partner with us.  Send us an email at purehike@gmail.com.  We can talk about how this opportunity can be beneficial to both of us.

Q: When can I make a pledge?

A: Soon. We will be announcing more information within the coming months.

Q: In the meantime, what can I do to help you?

A: Thanks for asking!  First, we need help spreading the word!  Please share this post on Facebook. Keep an eye out for upcoming promo materials (photos, videos, etc.) for Pure.

Second, we are still actively seeking corporate sponsors.  If you or someone you know would be interested in partnering for a good cause, contact us at purehike@gmail.com.  

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Have additional questions?  Please comment below!  We will answer new questions in Q & A Part II.