Lindsey Chapman's Travel Blog


Planning A Fund Raiser

I recently planned my first fund raising event to raise money for VE Global’s annual campaign that is taking place right now.

It was a lot of work but it was also a lot of fun and turned out to be a big success.

Since it was my first fundraiser, I didn’t have high expectations but it went very smoothly and I found that people are very willing to help out for a good cause if you take the time to ask and explain about the cause.

Booking vendors, venue and entertainment

In the beginning stages I had to meet with possible vendors for the event. I had a short list of places where I knew there would be a mix of both gringos and Chileans.  I ended up choosing California Cantina, a place where they were willing to donate a percentage of drink sales, prizes for our raffle and give me contacts to find live music.

California Cantina also has a bar down stairs with televisions showing every sport playing at the moment around the world, and an open air patio upstairs where the band could play.

I found a band that was willing to play for free, called Zorro Martini. They were really awesome and didn’t hesitate to lend their services when normally they would get paid a decent wage.  All they asked was that we covered their food and transportation for the evening.

Soliciting raffle prizes

The next objective was to find people to donate prizes for our raffle. I asked all of the businesses with which I had any connection to so we ended up getting donations for complimentary meals, some English classes, Spanish classes, a bottle of Pisco, bike rentals and tours, and some wine.

People were very generous and wanted to help out in whatever way they could.

Outreach

I emailed every person I knew and asked a good friend to help me spread the word. We had a couple events on facebook advertising the event, inviting over 1000 people and from this we had a great turn out.

Success!

The place was packed on a Monday night. I made a couple of announcements from the stage about the work we do at VE Global to encourage people to buy raffle tickets.

Everyone enjoyed the live music and almost no one refused buying raffle tickets.  Thanks to a bunch of fellow volunteers and friends assistance the evening was a really big success. I had a lot of fun doing it and I am so thankful to everyone who helped out and contributed in any way.

If any of you have any questions about planning your own fund raiser, don’t hesitate to ask. Buena suerte!!

 

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Book Review: The Road Less Traveled
January 31, 2011, 2:42 am
Filed under: Chile | Tags: , , , ,

Travelers are always seeking a road less traveled. Sometimes you travel to embrace new challenges.  Other times you travel to escape current ones. Either way, the act of journeying to another place lends itself to finding truth. It takes you away from your day-to-day routine, and forces you to ask yourself hard questions.

I recently read The Road Less Traveled by psychiatrist and M.D.M. Scott Peck. The book is broken up into four main parts: discipline, love, personal growth and religion, and grace. Regarding personal spiritual growth, Peck shares some pretty incredible insights about how to achieve it. His main premise is that pain and suffering in life should be welcomed because you cannot achieve spiritual growth without it.  They go hand in hand. “We must always consider our personal discomfort relatively unimportant and indeed even welcome it in the service of the search for truth. Mental health is an ongoing process of dedication to reality at all costs,” he states. Sometimes you may resist the truth because it’s not what you expected or were hoping for, but achieving balanced mental health is seeking and recognizing that it is, in fact, truth nonetheless.

He also says, “If your goal is to avoid pain and escape suffering I advise you not to seek higher levels of consciousness or spiritual evolution. You cannot achieve them without suffering. Then why desire to evolve at all, you may ask. If you ask this question, perhaps you do not know enough joy.” I think the average traveler can relate to this point in some form or another.

But perhaps my biggest takeway from the book was related to love. In a philosophy I’ve gathered for myself, I’ve realized that love is not the dependency of “needing” someone or something. Love is wanting someone to flourish as an individual so much that you are willing to do anything within your power to aid them in their person growth and development, no matter the cost. Even at the cost of your own happiness.

Talk about a selfless love. From living and volunteering here in Chile, it’s something I’m aware of everyday.

 



Weekday Veg

My Chilean roommate is a raw vegan chef. RAW vegan. It sounds so restricting right?

The obvious first question is, “How do you ever feel full?” His response to that was, it’s not about how much you eat, it’s about how much you absorb. Then he proceeded to prepare some of the most delicious and beautiful dishes I have ever seen or tasted. No joke. You should see our fridge. It usually contains separate piles of zucchini, carrots, onion, ginger, spinach, beet root, and tomatoes. And the freezer contains ice cubes. I have never been one to do much in the kitchen besides eat or accompany those who are cooking, but I have learned so much since I have lived here, and have been thoroughly inspired. I haven’t converted to vegan or even vegetarian for that matter, but I’ve definitely changed a few of my bad eating habits.

There are so many good reasons to be vegan or vegetarian but I’ve never made the commitment. Recently I watched a short TED talk where Graham Hill explains his samehesitation to becoming vegetarian and offers a nice compromise he calls “weekday veg.” The name is pretty self explanatory.

It’s a good place to start and it’s really easy to be a socially conscientious citizen and actually contribute to the change you’d like to see happening. I’m not ready to go vegan and give up cheese or ice cream, and I can’t say I’m even ready to give up a good hamburger once in a while, but I also can no longer ignore the alarming statistics of harmful effects from meat production. Aside from the nutritional harm, the animal cruelty involved, the enormous amount of pollution, and the insane amount of food and money that goes into feeding the livestock that feed us is simply too much to just look the other way.

One tofu salad and one veggie pasta at a time, we can make a difference.

 



A Perfect Circle
January 3, 2011, 11:02 pm
Filed under: Chile | Tags: , , , ,

Traveling apart from a significant other is always difficult. Like me, I’m sure many of you have experienced the challenges of this at some point or another.

Photo by Flickr user josef.stuefer (Creative Commons)

One of my closest friends who I met through VE Globalgave me some insight that fed my soul and will stick with me for the duration of my living years.  He told me I didn’t lose the relationship because once a relationship starts it never ends. Every relationship — friendship, romantic and the like — is circular. The relationship will inevitably change. It will rotate on a different axis, and may look and function completely differently, but nonetheless still go on existing.

It’s so comforting because this philosophy allows you to let go of the pain of feeling like you’ve lost someone forever.  It doesn’t eliminate the pain or make you miss them any less. It simply allows you to find comfort in knowing that just because the relationship has changed drastically, it doesn’t eliminate or negate what you shared nor does it mean the relationship will always look this way.

It isn’t some amazing new revelation but it has certainly provided me with a more comforting way to look at lost relationships and look forward to what lies ahead.



Life Is Good
January 3, 2011, 11:00 pm
Filed under: Chile | Tags: , , , , ,

I returned to Chile after a marvelous month at home with my dear family and friends. I had nothing but a one-way ticket in hand, some luggage, no place to live and no job.

But I’m blessed with a wonderfully kind friend, Maria Jesu, whom I stayed with when I first arrived while I searched for a place to live permanently. A few days after I arrived a man contacted me on CouchSurfing wanting private English lessons. Another good friend of mine hooked me up with a part time job at an English institute. When I returned to my volunteer work at Anakena school,  Tía Leo and my class greeted me with a dance to Shakira’s “Waka Waka.” It was absolutely adorable.

I ended up finding a place to live throughCompartoDepto. It’s a small house in a quiet neighborhood in Nuñoa, a little further outside the center. I now live with a Chilean raw vegan chef, a musician and a French nutritionist. We have a garden, a piano and an enormous kitchen, by Chilean standards anyway. It’s wonderful.

Now that I live outside the city, I went on the hunt for a bike. A friend of mine contacted me and said his roommate had one that he never used and I could probably have it. So for the cost of a beer, I had a new bike.

I am currently finding a new role in the office at VE Global. I would like to work on training development and progress evaluation using statistical analysis, from a broad perspective. My first projects are going to  be revising our training manual, developing a VE Global cookbook for fundraising purposes, and finding statistical significance from our past volunteer satisfaction surveys. The nerd in me is completely thrilled about this.

Life is good back in Santiago. I feel so blessed to be surrounded by so much love even when I am so far away from home.

 



Misión Cumplida Chile (Mission Accomplished Chile!)
January 3, 2011, 10:59 pm
Filed under: Chile | Tags: , ,


Try and think about the things you look forward to after a long day’s work. Maybe on this particular day you were hoping to leave a few minutes early to make it to the end of your son’s baseball game. Maybe you had to pick up your daughter from daycare or finish paying the bills or do some paperwork that you had put off until last minute. Or maybe you were just looking forward to a nice, relaxing evening at home.  

As a best case scenario, any of these instances could have been the case for the 33 miners who were trapped in the San Josécoppergold mine on August 5ththis year after an alarming collapse.

I still can’t even begin to imagine the fearful thoughts that must have been running through their heads after day 5, day 30, and day 60, wondering if they were ever really going to get out of there. And that’s only if hunger pangs and physical exhaustion weren’t completely taking over their thought processes.

Thankfully all 33 were rescued and lifted out of 700 metres (2,300 ft) of mine, one by one. As the last miner was lifted out, the rescue workers held up a sign that read, “Misión cumplida Chile” (Mission Accomplished Chile!) The survival and rescue of the miners was celebrated in Chile and all over the world, broadcast on every major news channel.  Presidents and foreign leaders across the globe congratulated Piñera, president of Chile.

The people of Chile came together like I’ve never seen done in the States.  Together, the 33 miners plan to start a foundation to help in mining safety to prevent cases like this from happening in the future.

Misión cumplida Chile!

 



“Follow Your Bliss”
October 19, 2010, 2:18 pm
Filed under: Chile | Tags: , , , , , ,

It’s an odd sensation going through the same orientation I went through three months ago as a new volunteer, only this time as an “antigua” rather than a “newbie,” as VE Global likes to refer to their respective volunteers. Being on the side of preparation and serving rather than observation and learning sheds new perspective on the activities. But meeting the new class of volunteers has also proven to be a good way to end my time here. I’ve had the opportunity to be behind the scenes of an NGO, and ample time to reflect on my experience to give useful advice to those expecting to have a meaningful next few months.

Your time abroad is whatever you make of it.

Your current position on the globe isn’t what provides you with the life lessons you hope to learn, or goals you hope to achieve.  You have to seek out the challenges that will stretch you beyond your comfort zone, because the difficult things in life are the things most worthy of your time and energy. Furthermore, I don’t know anyone who has learned and honed a truly valuable life lesson or skill during the easiest and happiest time of their life.

As I am about to depart, it’s very grounding for me to think about the fact that Mom is still working at Otsego Dental everyday, Dad is heading to American Family Insurance carpooling with his buddy every other week, and Royce is starting up her first year teaching at Elk River high school after enjoying the summer off with her friends.  I’m not sure how they are going to feel when I tell them I want to leave again. I already know that I am not ready to head back into the working world in the States, as there is still so much I would like to do and learn abroad, especially with my Spanish.

But I’m finding I don’t mind the uncertainty of the future because uncertainty just means possibility. All I know is that I would like to continue working with the disabled whether I can find a paid position or not. And if all paid positions fail, I can always teach English on the side. I also learned that native English speakers can find jobs really easily in Santiago, so if you’re looking, I’ve got the hook up.

Even though friends and family will probably not encourage another departure abroad, it’s important to follow your heart. I’ve come to gain a new respect for the work of American mythologist, writer and lecturer Joseph Campbell who coined the phrase, “follow your bliss.” He also said, “When you follow your bliss… doors will open where you would not have thought there would be doors; and where there wouldn’t be a door for anyone else.”

I think his theories are important for everyone but especially for the life of a traveler, because life abroad isn’t the norm. If you read his book The Hero with a Thousand Faces, you’ll find that following your bliss doesn’t mean merely doing what feels most fun at the moment. It means figuring out what you are passionate about, and doing it. When talking about the journey of the hero he says, “A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man.”

So whether you are thinking “Should I go or should I stay?” or “Should I give up or push through?” follow your bliss even if it seems to go against all logic. Because in the end, it will have been the only logical decision.