Written By Duncan, Latitudes ’19 Thailand

Adjustment is an understatement when it comes to my life here. Coming from the city of Charlotte, NC and diving right into farming in rural Thailand, I had to deal with the culture-shock and the solitude, all while maintaining a strong work ethic. I’m not gonna lie, it took some time for me to get settled, but once I finally found my place here at Pun Pun Organic Farm, it was extremely rewarding.

The kind of work we do here at Pun Pun encompasses everything from earthen building and milking cows to sorting seeds and gardening. Whatever the work may be, the volunteer community here approaches it with incredible initiative and intentionality. I’ve learned to embrace this sort of attitude in my time here and it has helped me see the true value of putting effort into your community.

After a few weeks of following the work schedule, I was able to determine my strengths and preferences. So, this week I’m starting at the Pun Pun coffee shop with hopes of learning more about the whole process and meeting new people that come from around the world every day. Already, I’ve met people from Venezuela, Cambodia, Germany, France, Italy, Brazil, Argentina, Vietnam, Japan, China, the UK, Belgium, and Thailand of course. There is so much to learn from people around the world, and I think it’s really special that everyone came here for their own reasons, and we just happened to cross paths.

During off time, when I’m not relaxing appreciating the beauty of the landscape over a cup of coffee, I’m going into the city of Chiang Mai, or taking day trips to nearby temples, lakes, and villages. I even got the opportunity to go to a music and arts festival near Chiang Dao called Shambhala. My time so far in Thailand has definitely been memorable, and important in my self-growth. When traveling alone there will inevitably be curveballs thrown your way, and it’s okay to miss home, it’s okay to cry sometimes. But just know that staying positive and learning from the hard times is essential for growing and developing as humans. I’ve been able to experience this first-hand, but looking back on my first month in Thailand, I know that this kind of experience is what this trip is all about.