A special thank you to Nicholas Kristof

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My initial inspiration for this trip was a book. I spent a night curled up on the couch in my Nashville apartment unable to put it down. The book was Half the Sky by Pultizer Prize winning couple Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. When I finished the last page, I remember thinking: I can’t ignore this. I have to find a way to help. And, it has to be now. Six months later I graduated university a year early and booked a flight to Asia.

This week I was fortunate enough to attend the RFK Ripple of Hope Gala in New York and meet Nicholas Kristof in person. I practically ambushed him as he was leaving the building and we had a 2 minute conversation about my project and his work. He was extremely friendly and sincere. I left the gala with a huge, giddy smile plastered to my face, feeling like my journey had come full circle. That face-to-face recognition was plenty.

But yesterday I learned Mr. Kristof posted a link to my blog on his twitter page. In a mere 12 hours it directed over 3000 people to my blog. For this, I cannot thank him enough.

If you are a new reader to Skirting the Limits, please keep following! My next post will be about bride burning in Nepal, India and Pakistan. But, for now, I’d like to turn your attention to a wonderful TED Talk video featuring Kristof’s brilliant wife Sheryl WuDunn. Enjoy!

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Cambodia: Khmer 101

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This video gives you an introduction to the Khmer language – thanks to my good friend Prosper! I don’t think I’ve focused enough on the positive aspects of Cambodian culture, and I really want you to know how beautiful and friendly the Cambodian people are. (If my voice seems a little raspy, it’s because I’m just getting over a cold. Prosper is making me drink this medicinal ginger, lime, and honey concoction every day. So no worries, I’m in good hands!) Enjoy the lesson! By the end you should have basic Khmer words down, and even a few curse words…

Gail, thanks for your videotaping expertise!

The Girl Effect: It’s really that simple.

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Hellooo readers! Welcome to Skirting the Limits, a blog designed especially for you to share my travel experience. I’m about to start a yearlong solo journey through Asia, Indonesia and Africa. The goal: to fuel my wanderlusting ways and learn firsthand about international women’s issues.

I’m traveling to Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Indonesia, Nepal, and Rwanda. My focus on female empowerment will vary by location. I’ll mentor at girls’ schools, educate males about gender violence, live with village women, work at a yoga institute, visit shelters and interview anti-sex trafficking organizations. My posts will revolve around women’s issues but also travel and cultural experiences.

All posts will appear on this front page. On the right side you see Follow My Travels! and beneath it an empty box. Type your email address here and click Submit. I’ll post a new article every 1-2 weeks and it will be emailed directly to you. You WILL NOT receive spam, I promise. Please sign up, I’m going to need a lot of support on this journey.

At the bottom of this post is a comment box. This will be under every new article. Anyone can leave comments and I encourage your thoughts and opinions.

At the top of the page there are links titled About Me, My Itinerary, Photos, Inspiration, and Thank Yous. These will give you a little more information about my plans.

When I told family and friends about my trip it surprised me that most people’s reaction was WHY? Why do you want to do this? Why do you want to help women? Why do you have to go to these countries? Why are you going alone? Why aren’t your parents stopping you?

For me the why is hard to explain, and Because I want to doesn’t seem to suffice. The best answer I’ve found is my heart is completely invested in this.

If I help one girl feel better about herself or learn something new I will consider my effort a success. The ability to pull one girl out of poverty, educate her, and help her see herself as an equal gives me a smile, butterflies and chills. The inspirational video below explains the importance of female empowerment. Please watch and enjoy reading my blog :)!