Micah Pexa of Hawaii is hiking the Appalachian Trail (AT) from Georgia to Maine this year along with over 3,700 other hikers. He hopes to be one of the approximately 25 percent of hikers who complete the trail. Fortunately, he has extra motivation. Pexa is hiking the AT to combat human trafficking in Northern Thailand and to raise money for Boothbay-based Friends of Thai Daughters (FTD).
Pexa first visited FTD’s program in Northern Thailand in 2009 when he volunteered for six months at the Chiang Rai Sunflower House as an English teacher, researcher and program assistant with FTD co-founders Jane McBride and Patty Zinkowski of Trevett. Over the years, Pexa would visit the Sunflower House whenever he travelled to Thailand and has kept in touch with many of FTD’s “daughters” over the years, watching them as they have grown up and graduated from colleges and universities, traveled and worked in other countries, have careers and families of their own, and give back to FTD.
During a visit in 2015, he was inspired to do even more to support FTD’s work. As luck would have it, on his flight home that year, he watched the movie Wild based on Cheryl Strayed’s book of the same name. It got him thinking about his dream of hiking the AT and how that might provide a greater opportunity to raise awareness and support for FTD. Upon returning home he read Strayed’s book along with Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods.
Drawn for years to hike the AT in his quest to “live life outside the box,” he decided 2018 would be the year to make his dream come true while making dreams come true in Northern Thailand. Trekking Against Trafficking, Pexa has created a website with a blog, Facebook page and GoFundMe page all in support of his goal to help girls and young women at risk of being trafficked in Northern Thailand. On April 7, Pexa reached his $10,000 GoFundMe goal in support FTD but is now raising the bar and is hoping to raise even more money for the program he knows so well.
His blog shares his day to day experiences along the trail and his Facebook page features videos of fellow hikers and the stories they tell. All along the trail he shares his first-hand experiences seeing lives lost to trafficking and also lives transformed by education and organizations like FTD.
To follow Micah’s journey, visit FTD’s website at friendsofthaidaughters.org and click on Events, visit trekkingagainsttrafficking.com or follow Pexa’s Facebook page, Trekking Against Trafficking.