Final Reflection on Thailand from Joe Cardomone

As of today it has been almost a week since I departed from Bangkok, Thailand on January 15, 2012. The remarkable thing about returning home from such an intense, other-side-of-the-world trip like one to Thailand is that one finally realizes everything that they have gained as a result. In other words, while actually in the experience itself, I was so busy having fun and exploring this colorful, refreshing culture that I had hardly any time to reflect or even recognize how I was growing and learning so rapidly with every step I took in this unknown land. It was not until I first began to see my close friends and family after I landed in Minneapolis that I was knowledgeable of what this trip really did to affect the rest of my life.

I have always viewed life simply as a bunch of “stuff” that happens to me. I never understood the role I played in my own story or the fact nothing or nobody has an impact on my life more so than myself personally. For some people, this fact is probably obvious. However, for me, it took traveling over twenty hours to a country that is so deeply rooted in its own meaning and spirituality to realize this idea. I have learned all of the factors of our lives are merely a result of our relationships with ourselves and the outside world. I feel that the phrase “mind over matter” is a completely truthful one, and I have seen my compounded strength as a result of knowing how much I am capable of overcoming the negative shadows of my life. I now seek only positive, insightful experiences and I can truly say I have only the wonderful “Land of Smiles” to thank for this. Someday, I plan to return to Thailand and become active in the volunteer circuit, specifically in the slum childcare area of development. Until then, I am just a boy looking to go on a new adventure and packing with his luggage all of the amazing life’s lessons he learned from the last one.

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