Micah Pexa, of Hawaii, is hiking the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine this year along with more than 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 Appalachian Trail to combat human trafficking in Northern Thailand and to raise money for Boothbay-based Friends of Thai Daughters.
Pexa first visited Friends of Thai Daughters’ 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 Friends of Thai Daughters 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 Friends of Thai Daughters’ “daughters” over the years, watching them as they have grown up and graduated from colleges and universities, traveled and worked in other countries, had careers and families of their own, and given back to Friends of Thai Daughters.
During a visit in 2015, Pexa was inspired to do even more to support Friends of Thai Daughters’ 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 Appalachian Trail and how that might provide a greater opportunity to raise awareness and support for Friends of Thai Daughters. Upon returning home, Pexa read Strayed’s book, along with Bill Bryson’s “A Walk in the Woods.”
Drawn for years to hike the Appalachian Trail in his quest to “live life outside the box,” Pexa decided 2018 would be the year to make his dream come true while making dreams come true in Northern Thailand.
Pexa has created Trekking Against Trafficking, featuring a website with a blog, a Facebook page, and a 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 of Friends of Thai Daughters, but he is now raising the bar and is hoping to raise even more money for the program he knows so well.
Pexa’s 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 firsthand experiences of seeing lives lost to trafficking and also of seeing lives transformed by education and organizations like Friends of Thai Daughters.