My name is Kaitlyn Klingensmith and I am a recent graduate of New York University in the United States. I majored in Environmental Studies with concentrations in Business and Social  Entrepreneurship. I have had various experiences in environmental consulting in the Lower East Side in New York City, as well as working with The B Team, a non-profit focused on sustainable business practices, on improving environmental practices within corporations. I have a passion for the environment and hope to continue to pursue environmental sustainability initiatives for organizations in the future. Lisu Lodge is an excellent opportunity for me to flex my environmental muscles in a new city and country, and I’m very excited to see what lies ahead in my time working with the lodge on environmental work.

Arriving at Lisu Lodge in the northern mountains of Thailand definitely brought some culture shock! After living in a city of concrete for 4 years to complete my education, it was refreshing to step into the forests and see nature at its best. Lisu Lodge offers a great introduction into the Thailand mountain life with community style houses overlooking rice fields and the rolling mountains on the horizon – not to mention being close to nearby local hilltribe villages! My first day at the lodge I was able to go into the rice fields and survey the land firsthand for one of my many projects. Having never been in a rice field before it was a great moment to see what the land looks like and how it is tended to.

One of the great things I was able to experience my first week at Lisu Lodge was a trek up to Lahu Outpost which overlooks amazing views of the northern Thailand mountains. Trekking is not always easy for me, especially moderate trekking. However, accomplishing the 3 hour hike to the top of the mountain felt like quite an accomplishment. It was exciting to me to be able to trek paths in the forests with beautiful scenery and trickling streams, even if it did get pretty steep at times. What was even better to me was passing a great waterfall on the trek back down the mountain. I’m a sucker for great nature scenes, and these mountains definitely have natural beauty to spare.

By far my favorite moment thus far during my first week at Lisu Lodge is the people in Thailand. Everyone, whether it is staff, locals, tour guides, or just people walking down the street always have a smile. I felt very welcome into this country and at the lodge during my first time here, which , after being halfway around the world from my home, was a relief. I always feel like I am able to attempt speaking some Thai and can discover the culture here in a comfortable way. If this is any sign as to how the rest of my stay here will go, then I’m more than excited for what’s to come!