Traveling with the Women of Vietnam

Traveling can teach you many things. My recent visit to Vietnam provided me with new insight about the lives of women in the Sapa Valley region, their ability to live close to the land in very difficult situations and what we can learn from these strong women. Vietnam Rice field waterfalls-johatcherretreats.comAs with so many places when we travel as tourists, we get a mere glimpse into other people’s lives. I don’t pretend to know much at all after a few days journey into a small region of Viet Nam.

Yet the experience made me pause and think about how we live our lives. These women live so differently than me and yet I felt a sense of connection with them and their lifestyle.

I’m always interested in the women. Women of Vietnam [Read more…]

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What to do When You’re Faced with the Unexpected

In every journey or adventure, there will be the unexpected, the low points, the funky stuff that happens.  This is true for travel or for life.  And there are always lessons to be learned.

It was shocking.  And scary.  And life changing.

It all started a little bit wonky, the beginning of our trip to see the live volcano on Tanna in the South Pacific island of Vanuatu. 

That tropical morning we got off the plane from the main island of Vanuatu.  I pulled out my reservation sheet & for the life of me, I could not find the name of the hotel we were booked in.  There were people everywhere, pushing, shoving, loading up people and baskets in trucks.   

Jo Hatcher Retreats

Boarding the Air Vanuatu flight to Tanna

A Ni Vanuatu man ran up to my husband and I and looked at our papers. I’m not even sure he could read English but he said something like…”you got the voucher, come with me.”   [Read more…]

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Stayin Alive on the 4th of July

I wrote the following post back in 2011 when my son, Rob, was deployed to Afghanistan.

Today, I am privileged to be working with Soldiers who recently returned from Afghanistan. Their stories are chilling, young men who know the horrors of war and are trying to make sense of it all.

As we celebrate our nation’s birthday, I hope that all of us remember our service members & their families.

The ones who are still deployed, still in danger, the ones who are struggling, and the many who are wounded warriors.

Think for a moment about the ones who did not return.  Think about their families and take a moment for gratitude.

Send those families some love.

July 4, 2011

I wonder what Rob & the other Marines will be doing on this day when we celebrate our nation’s independence and freedom. How many patrols will he be out on today? Will he be in a humvee or on foot?

Just exactly how hot will it be?  I think about these things as we go to the 100 degree mark here & my house is 87 degrees inside tonight even with A/C , I’m hot. I imagine he would smile if he heard me complain, especially since I don’t have to strap on 80 pounds of gear to begin the day and think of air conditioning as some distant luxury.

[Read more…]

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The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly….

The real truth about working overseas

Traveling around the world is wonderful.  I adore it.  Live for it.  I practically die for it.   Lucky me, I found a way to work internationally.   The real truth is that it can be downright uncomfortable and annoying.   And  it’s definitely not the same as being on vacation or holiday.  However, that said,  I’m willing to put up with A LOT of things I don’t like.

Window Sill

I arrived in Germany 2 weeks ago.

It went the same as usual: 2 days of flying, the jet lag stupor, and arrival at the hotel. I found my room and opened the door, dragging 2 rather large suitcases behind me.

This time was a shock.

I glanced around.  Two small twin beds, a desk, and barely room to turn around.

My heart sunk.  Deeply.   A lilliputian room for six months.  Six, yes, 6 months.  It’s not a good feeling.  I was not impressed. Room with a View

So I did the thing I do when I’m shocked and appalled. I defaulted to the Scarlett O’Hara thinking:  Tomorrow.  “I’ll think about this tomorrow.”

So now, after almost 2 weeks,  I’m off my prima donna status and I’m dealing.   Because there’s actually  good, bad, and the ugly.

The good.

I have a room with a view of a castle and a river.

[Read more…]

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