From the Root

A Thai Adventure Awaits


By the time you read this, I’ll have arrived in a country I’ve always wanted to visit, and one that is rich in history, culture and cuisine – Thailand.

Why Thailand? When I first started college, I pursued a degree in history and was always fascinated by the Asian continent. Pictures and videos alone couldn’t satisfy my wanderlust, so I booked a ticket to both cross an item off my travel bucket list and celebrate my college graduation. I want to soak up the entire country – the people, culture, land, flora and fauna. I am drawn there, and so I must go.

My imagination runs wild just thinking about what I’m going to encounter. I have read and heard about the lush landscapes, the rich history and monuments, the white sand beaches, and the to-die-for late night street food. I’ll spend my days there exploring the countryside and living as the Thai people live. Thailand is known as the land of many smiles, and I can’t think of it without one spreading across my own face.

Learning Thai

As a fresh college graduate with a degree in plant science, I’m most excited to see how this international experience will connect to what I’ve learned in the classroom and working on a farm. I’m staying in rural Thailand, where multi-generational Thai families grow mango trees and farm rice paddies. The country has millions of acres just for cultivating jasmine rice. Thailand also supplies the world with sugarcane, cassava (aka tapioca), corn and cashews.

I especially can’t wait to try all of the food, and see how and where it’s grown. Thai cuisine is one of my favorites, and I’m hoping to learn more about how to cook with native fruits and vegetables, so I can work them into my menus at home. I’m priming my taste buds for unique eats, and I’m ready to try dishes I couldn’t even get in a multicultural place like Los Angeles. One thing I’m hoping to squeeze into my trip itinerary is a visit to the famous floating markets near Bangkok, where vendors sell food and fruit from their boats. Thailand has a culture and community that is so different from my own, and that’s thrilling to think about.

Bryan Van Norden

When I return to the United States, I’ll be working on a farm and starting my own side business – I want to help Los Angeles residents learn about the benefits of a home garden and how to take care of such a valuable resource. I know that this trip will change my world outlook, and I’m curious to see how it’ll further shape my views about home gardening and sustainability.

Now I must go and explore.

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