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Photo by Sampor Burke, Mekong Semester.

Intro for Mekong Trip!

Hi! I’m Sawyer Stone.

Who am I? I’m a sci-fi geek who lives on a farm in a small town, but I also love to travel and go to big cities and explore new things.

I will try to define who I am by telling you what I love and care about: The most important things to me are new ideas, discussion, great books, and being around people who are engaged and care about the same things I do. I’m close to my family, and I care deeply about my life here, but I want to see new cultures and new ways of thinking, and new ideas about who I am and what I love.

I’m a sci-fi geek who lives on a farm in a small town, but I also love to travel and go to big cities and explore new things. I have done a lot of Boy Scouts and hiking, so I’m looking forward to the camping and trekking portions of this trip. One thing I’m most interested in is the ways that different people see their faith and their place in the world and the stories about where they come from and their past, and how they worship and what’s important to them.

It looks like we’ll be around cultures that include Buddhism, Catholics, Christians and even a unique religion that they mentioned on the itinerary. I’m very interested to learn more about how they intertwine their faith with their lives, and I want to explore meditation as well. The idea of being three months without distractions or a cell phone really appeals to me. I feel like I check out on my phone too much and use the phone to avoid being alone with my own thoughts sometimes, and meditation is the opposite of a cell phone. Instead of having the whole world in a tiny box in front of you, you’re alone with your thoughts and nothing else.

What role does this course play? I’m on a gap year and will start college in September. This course gives me a chance to rethink some of the assumptions I have about myself and about other cultures, and to be more independent and to develop my identity without the context of my family and my life at home.

There’s no real quote that I live by, but I do love Robert Heinlein and thought this was a good quote for the trip. I’m looking forward to meeting all of you, and I’ll see you all in Los Angeles!

“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.” – Robert A. Heinlein