It was March 2001, and I had recently moved from NYC back to the small town of Amherst, MA in the hopes of finishing up my undergraduate degree at UMass/Amherst. Before summer classes started in June, my dad, an avid cyclist, invited my sister and me to join him on a Cuban cultural exchange program that seemed right up my alley: 13 days of biking all over the island, with the ultimate goal of delivering much needed school supplies to small schools located in the Cuban mountains. A chance to experience a different culture, do some good, AND ride my bike. Perfect!
And oh, what a trip it was! From biking through the yearly crab migration to the ocean (crabs absolutely COVERED the road, claws at the ready to attack our bike tires), to sleeping in a beautiful open air house with the family pigs just outside my bedroom door, there was color, life and beauty everywhere. But what truly surprised me is that this trip opened my heart and my mind to something I had rarely thought about previously: acupuncture and cooperative therapies.