Seniors travel to Thailand, the Land of Smiles

By Alyssa Cristobal, Features Editor


(Photos Courtesy of Lindsay Feldstein and Max Prince) Lindsay Feldstein with Thai children at playground.
Max Prince and Spencer Peckman riding an elephant. 

This past summer, seniors Lindsay Feldstein, Spencer Peckman and Max Prince coincidentally ended up in Thailand together. None of them expected to spend three and a half weeks of their summer across the world washing elephants and eating bugs with their own classmates.

The three toured with 24 other teenagers in July through the travel company West Coast Connection. Three advisors and a tour guide accompanied the minors on the trip. They ventured to the cities of Bangkok, Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai, Krabi and Mae Salak. The cities’ cultures ranged from fast-paced and American-like, to rural and beachy.
“We were with native people who just got electricity a year ago [in Mae Salak],” said Prince. The only way to reach Mae Salak was by raft, and the group slept in huts while visiting. The seniors interacted with the Lahu Tribe and shared songs from America in exchange for traditional Thai dances.
As part of their community service, they built a foundation for a park in Mae Salak, took care of elephants at the Patara Elephant Farm in Chiang Mai and taught English to children at a special needs boarding school.
Besides contributing to society, the seniors were able to take part in new experiences such as ziplining, scuba diving and kayaking. The group visited numerous temples and markets. They interacted with some locals and learned a few terms in Thai.
The three had conflicting opinions on the meals they ate on the trip. Prince, a lover of spice, dove into all the pad thai and curry Thailand had to offer. He even indulged in a scorpion on a stick.
Feldstein and Peckman weren’t so fond of the food and said there wasn’t much variety in the meals. “I basically just had watermelon and rice,” Peckman said.
The group of teenagers formed close ties during the trip; Feldstein still talks to some of the group mates on a daily basis.
“During the trip I realized that no matter where people are from they still love to smile,” Prince said. The seniors said their trip to the Land of Smiles was unforgettable, yet fun and rewarding, as they experienced a culture shock.
“It’s crazy how different their family styles are… I have a new appreciation for how lucky we are here [in America] to have food and fresh water,” Feldstein said. “It was definitely the best decision to go on that trip.”