During July of 2014 thirteen students and two teachers from the International School of Milan embarked on a three week expedition throughout Thailand. The focus of the expedition was to create an exciting and authentic experience which facilitated personal and group development as well as exposed participants to the Thai way of life. Students were challenged to take on leadership roles, step out of their comfort zone, and think critically about how an experience in a faraway, foreign place could translate back to their lives at home.



2557_07_05_is_milan_2375Armed with CMRCA facilitator firepower — Phi, Tune, and Ethan — the group hit the ground running and never lost steam. We experienced adventure, in the form of climbing, trekking, kayaking, and camping. We exchanged culture, through daily market visits, meditation, long days on the bus, and a week spent living and working alongside two Pwa Ka Nyaw (Karen) communities deep in the forested mountains of Mae Hong Son. We learned about ourselves and the communities around us with daily reflections and rituals, lectures by local experts about Thai environmental issues, and visits to observe how NGOs around Chiang Mai are making the difference. The journey took us through the streets of Chiang Mai and the surrounding farm valleys, up and around the mountains of Pang Mapha and Huay Puling (Mae Hong Son) and finally down to the gulf coast of Sam Roi Yot in Prachuap.













Highlights from the trip include…

Reaching the top of Growth Peak on a full day trek through the forests of Mae Hong Son. The weather was rainy and the trail slippery. We had to cross several rivers balancing on tree trunks and battling hungry leeches along the way. To top it off we encountered an enormous lightning green snake hanging out in the canopy above our lunch spot! We got out of there quickly…



Getting the chance to practice meditation and have a question and answer session with a Burmese monk studying in Chiang Mai. It was a time of reflection for us all, a moment to step back and contemplate ideas of happiness and peacefulness.


Conducting apprenticeships in Baan Huay Thong Kor. We learned about traditional medicine, bamboo carving and weaving, sword dancing, clothes weaving, and even got to make our own knives with the village blacksmiths! (for chopping up fresh and organic vegetables, of course…)











Buying breakfast at the local market in Chiang Mai every morning. At the beginning it was difficult to figure out what to buy and how to communicate with the shopkeepers, especially while trying to be sustainable with a reusable plastic box. By the end the entire group was able to buy everything they wanted and without using any plastic bags. The change in attitude and market expertise throughout the trip was exponential.2557_07_04_is_milan_15962557_07_04_is_milan_1562


The students said…

“I will never forget the bucket showers, not because I found them uncomfortable (because that wasn’t the case at all) but because I finally understood what “wasting” means. Bringing these experiences home improves both my understanding and opens my horizons to new situations.”


“The most meaningful activity was the home-stays because I learned how to enjoy simplicity in life. I learned that most of the things that I have, I don’t need.”


“I changed greatly after the trip and everyday since coming back I reflect on my life and the trip. The different, more calm lifestyle impacted me and I became a more relaxed and thoughtful person on a day-to-day basis.”


This program was extra special for us at CMRCA, because it was the longest trip we have ever run, 21 days. Both our capacity and passion to run longer and more in depth programs is growing exponentially. This trip proved to us we are well grounded and ready to push the boundaries of what we can accomplish. How many students can we inspire on long term expeditions in 2015?


With CMRCA, the adventure never ends…


More images from the trip!