“Elephants are wise and gentle, graceful and caring. They are everything I strive to
I met Kate a few weeks ago at the Animal Rights National Conference. I had friends who had already met her and they urged me to go find her. Sure enough, within a few minutes of talking with Kate I felt at ease as if I was talking to a friend I had known for ages! We quickly bonded over the amazing similarities in our new life paths, leaving our old lives behind to begin changing the world through our non-profits. We joked about being crazy and starting a support group for people like us and then she said something that has stayed with me. She said, “no, we aren’t the crazy ones, we are the sane ones.” I had a wonderful A-HA! moment right then. Yes, we ARE the sane ones!
Kate was there raising funds for her Lotus Elephant Sanctuary that she will be building in Laos. A sanctuary for abused, orphaned and elderly elephants. We talked about this exciting new endeavor but we also talked a bit about her background; she is an honors graduate from the London School of Economics and Political Science. She also studied international law at the University of Texas at Austin, specializing in war crimes, genocide, and crimes against humanity. Then when she realized “her heart wasn’t in law” she started practicing Zen Buddhism and began traveling around the world. She decided to start an elephant sanctuary and traveled around Asia to see which country needed a sanctuary. She chose Laos because the people are relaxed and friendly; the country is beautiful, undeveloped, and didn’t have an elephant sanctuary. This will be a sanctuary different from all the others.
She shared stories with me about her travels and I told her about my upcoming trip. I told her I want Love Infinitely Project volunteers to help build her sanctuary when the time comes. (You’re all invited.) And we bonded over our mutual love of animals and our passion for changing the world.
Along with the sanctuary, Kate also plans to create an environmental and animal rights group to deal with issues like the illegal animal trade and habitat destruction in Laos. Her long-term goal is to see crimes against animals punished at the international court level. I remember asking her if I could come live at the sanctuary and she said, yeah! We had a great bonding session, giggling like little girls and I kept thinking about how wonderful it was to meet such an amazing new friend. So many kindred spirits in attendance that weekend and the magic of meeting (as Kate called them) ‘our tribe’ at the AR Conference.
I had made myself a very special, one-of-a-kind ‘until all are free’ necklace specifically for the event. At the end of that day I knew that I had to give the necklace to Kate. (It happens often when I thought I made something for myself only to find out it wasn’t for me at all.) I went back to the Lotus Elephant Sanctuary booth and gave Kate the necklace. She was touched and gave me a shirt! Not two seconds later a nice lady came around handing out free ice cream. Talk about instant karma!
I know I have made a friend for life with Kate and I am excited at the prospect of sending future volunteers of the Love Infinitely Project over to Laos to help her and the elephants. I know we are both headed on the right path and can’t wait to share elephant stories with her. I am completely inspired by Kate’s courage to leave the life she created to follow her heart and do something so unique and wonderful. She also makes me feel like I am not alone.
Like Kate said, “we are the sane ones.”
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