Passport Optional: Dispatches from Chantal

December 30, 2015

Inspire our Youth to Dream in 2016.

Photo courtesy of BK via Flickr.

With the year drawing to a close, we are bombarded on social media with introspection of 2015, resolutions for 2016 and best wishes from friends and strangers alike.

My husband and I have returned from a trip to New York City. The main purpose of the visit was to take Top (whose full name is Sukrit Ratanadachasakoo) to visit the United Nations. Top is a twenty year old university student from Bangkok, Thailand, who we have sponsored to travel to the USA for one month.  We offered him the trip to motivate him to excel in his studies and to broaden his horizons. Read More »


December 16, 2015

Is all this warm weather affecting your holiday spirit?

As a Canadian born and raised in Ottawa, one of the coldest capitals of the world, December means the beginning of snow season. With anticipation, I always await the first snow fall and wish it will be significant enough to make a snow angel. I loved, and still do, the white carpeting, soft crunchy sound underfoot and the tingle of snow on my face. Read More »


December 2, 2015

Is a Staycation a Real Vacation?

Photo courtesy of Mike Licht via Flickr.

“This is a perfect place for a staycation,” Max said as he looked around the room my husband and I had just checked into at the Centara Grand Hotel at the Central World Plaza downtown Bangkok.

As the bellboy brought in the posters, banners, books and suitcases, the five of us stood at the window transfixed by the Bangkok skyline. The view was spectacular, even to Max and Dusanee who have lived here for years. Justin, my husband’s son visiting from Seoul, commented on the marked differences between these two Asian mega-metropolises. We stood inside, separated from the dripping humidity, congestion of noise and swarms of people only by a single glass window. That window made all the difference to our comfort and our perspective. Read More »