Growing up I wanted nothing more than to see the world beyond my small town. I dreamed of going places that I had only read about in books, or learned about in the pages of National Geographic.
So once I left home, I went out and saw the world.
Teaching English in Japan for 3 years gave me the opportunity to travel on school holidays. I did my traveling through Asia with a pack and second hand guide books. Traveling solo I had many opportunities to meet interesting people and quietly observe the cultures and customs of the countries I visited. I went to Malaysia, Thailand, Korea and China.
I was scuba diving in Thailand during the 2004 tsunami. Luckily, I was on the opposite side of the country from the destruction and was unaffected by the devastation until I tried to find an open room in Bangkok before my return flight. There was a great wave of displaced tourists and I was grateful to have been able to fly back to Japan without problems. But, I never did find a room and shower.
I still remember the poverty in Bangkok. The helpful children hoping to earn extra money while showing a tourist like me around for the day.
The English language teachers in my area collected and raised money to send to an orphanage in Thailand. Even the simplest items were needed.
Another Summer vacation I headed to China for two weeks. I did see the Great Wall of China and explore a lot of Beijing before the Olympic construction was finished, but I also took planes and buses farther into the heart of China.
Compared to the rural countryside where I taught in Japan, China was another world entirely. Poverty was more prevalent outside the heart of Beijing.
That was nearly 11 years ago. Despite the weather being hot and humid I was so excited to see The Giant Buddha of Leshan in Leshan, China (Sichuan Provence). It was carved into the cliff face in the 8th century. There were stairs behind to climb all the way to the top of Buddha's head.
Now, as a Mom of 3, I don't have the time or energy left to backpack around Asia. Though I treasure those adventures, my priorities have changed.
Now my focus is on keeping my family healthy and happy. With a young toddler, and school back in session, that means we all need to get our seasonal flu shots. I don't have time to catch the flu from my kids. Who would take care of them? And my husband and I being immunized means we won't pass the season's worst gifts onto my 1-year old or the Great Grandparents.
My kids get their shots during their regularly scheduled check-ups, but my husband and I have to get ours elsewhere. Even more than getting the actual immunizations, I dislike having to find somewhere to get it. Last year we went to our local clinic and waited around for over an hour.
Yeah, for a simple little shot!
This year I got smarter and headed into my local Walgreens. There is no appointment needed and in my store there is almost no wait. But the best part about getting my seasonal flu shot at Walgreens, is helping to give a lifesaving vaccine to a child in a developing country.
This "Get a Shot. Give a Shot" campaign helps children like the ones I met during my travels through Asia.
From now through October 13th, when you get a flu shot or other immunization at Walgreens, you will help provide a life saving vaccine through the United Nation Foundation's Shot@Life Campaign.
Did you know that 1 in 5 children around the globe still don't have access to vaccines against things like Measles and Polio?
My photos may have started to fade, but my memories and the benefit that these vaccines can have for children in developing countries are good for my soul. Yes, Walgreens not only saves me money and has convenient services my family uses, but their charitable efforts can help provide up to 3 Million vaccines to kids that need it most!
Now, that feels good.
Are your immunizations up to date? Have you heard of the "Get a Shot. Get a Shot" campaign before?