November 30, 2018

Big Talk In The Peace Corps In Thailand

This week, I received this message from a Peace Corps volunteer in Thailand:

Hey there,

My name is Justin Lott. I am 24 and I am currently in training to be a volunteer for the Peace Corp in Thailand. I heard of your concept of “Big Talk” when one of my fellow trainees sent your Tedx talk to our group chat and something amazing happened:

It inspired a few of us to answer that question – “What would you do if you were going to die tomorrow?”

The group has only known each other for a month and has been very supportive and great to each other, but with your talk I felt particularly inspired to facilitate that conversation.

After I shared my thoughts, the rest of the group decided it was okay to also let their guard down and share with each other the pains and feelings of what we wish to reconcile, or who we would make sure knew we loved them and appreciated their support the most. We grew to be so much deeper connected in hours than I think we had been all month. I think it was relieving to hear others had gone through pain just like I had or that they had.

A lot of us are trying to answer that same question you faced in the middle of you building Big Talk of “Who am I?” I personally joined the Peace Corp to see that myself, and to honor the memories of my best friend and sister who have passed away who were such naturally giving people and I want to make sure that in the short amount of time I have on earth I felt like I’ve given myself to the a part of the world as much as they did in such a short amount of time they graced us with their presence.

So thank you so much for inspiring me to let my guard down, and great things are happening because of it. I think my fellow trainees would also share that sentiment with me. There were a lot of tears, smiles, and heartfelt discussions today. I hope you find the answers to your big talk questions for yourself. I think I’ve begun to answer them for myself and it’s opening up a new aspect of life for me.

Thank you,

I responded:

And he responded with this message and photo:

First of all thanks for taking the time to reply, I sort of sent it with the expectation that you might be really busy and was gladly surprised when I opened my email this morning. My fellow trainees were also excited to hear you had replied. Glad I could make your morning! So far this entire experience has been an adventure and we have 2 years to lead us through this great country together.

It’s comforting to hear that there isn’t an answer right away, and that it is something that is a work in progress. So far through this experience I have already learned a lot about myself and acknowledged things I hadn’t been able to see before. When you are isolated and in the unfamiliar you have to change, and sometimes quickly. So I would encourage you to take that opportunity to go to Singapore and maybe the Peace Corps is something you could do in the future if it aligns with your goals. We have volunteers as old as 65 in our group, so it’s for anyone and everyone. Like I said I’ll be here for two years so if you’re ever around Thailand I’d love to meet up and share experiences and talk about big talk, or whatever else you might be interested in or want to know about me. Thank you, I know my sister and best friend would be smiling at me now and proud of who I’m becoming. It certainly has changed the way I view the world and life and led me to ask these questions to myself even though I’m not always comfortable with the answer…

I’ve attached a photo of all us together during our last day before we moved in with a host family. We all are smiling but we were feeling a myriad of feelings at that moment. Uncertainty, anxiety, were a few to name. So it sort of really embodies the beginning of your talk. (Btw I’m in the blue polo on the right in the top row lol)

– Justin

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