The Mamalode Starter Series is an exciting opportunity for us to introduce you to some of the amazing people we get to meet. Starting something takes enormous amounts of work, faith, help and community. Every week we'll share another story of starting. So, community of Mamalode, read up, get inspired and check out these wonder-folk.
Today we share an interview with Nicole Melancon, the writer behind Third Eye Mom–a blog about Travel, Culture and Social Good.
Tell us a little bit about your blog, your mission, and how you started it.
All my life I’ve been passionate about traveling and seeing the world. I was fortunate to grow up traveling with parents that took us on many memorable trips. Four years ago, my father and I went on a life-changing trip to Nepal to hike the Annapurna trek in the Himalayas. I fell in love with Nepal and the beauty of its culture and people. I realized how unfair life can be and how one’s fate is often an “accident of birth.” Why was it that I could travel the world while these beautiful people didn’t even have the basic needs of running water, electricity or the ability to read and write? It changed me. I returned home and started my blog as a way to tell my life stories and hopefully educate others on what I’ve seen. I engaged my kids and together we raised almost $10,000 to build a reading center and help with a school in rural Nepal. I’ve been blogging ever since and have significantly expanded my mission to cover social good such as global health, education, poverty, women and girls issues, human rights and the incredible work people are doing around the world to make it a better place. It has been incredibly rewarding!
Me, my dad and our guides at the highest point of the Annapurna Trek, Thorong – La at almost 18,000 feet.
What do your kids think about your travels?
Quite honestly, it is all they know. I traveled every since they were babies, volunteering in different countries or hiking with my dad on some far off mountain. I hope they are proud of me and that someday they want to follow along with me and help give back to others.
The girls and I at a school I volunteered at in Xela, Guatemala.
Tell us a little bit about the challenges of having a family and carrying out your mission?
When the kids were really little, it was very hard but thankfully my mother would come and stay with my husband to help out. Now the hardest part is balance, and finding a sitter for my random dates and times I need help. I try to keep my trips to a few per year and not be gone too long. This summer I was in Ethiopia for two weeks and it was difficult, but thankfully I had a lot of support at home. I’m hoping to do more once my kids are a bit older.
Some of the beautiful girls I met in Ethiopia during my trip as a fellow in newborn and maternal health with the International Reporting Project this past June.
Share with us one of your most powerful experiences (brag away!)
I read the book “Half the Sky” by Nickolas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn a few months before I went to Nepal. I realized that I too could make a different and change the world, even if only small ways. Taking a year to raise the money to build the reading center in Nepal made me realize that “if there is a will, there is a way.” I could make change as a stay at home mom! That knowledge in the power of my voice was huge. My blog is a labor of love and I do not get paid. I do all the work because I believe I’m making a difference. Over the last two years, my blog has blossomed into something I’m very proud of. When writing about social good, I invite my readers to think about the issues and I know I’ve touched many people into action. It is a powerful feeling knowing that my words are inspiring people and creating change.
What's your relationship with Mamalode?
I had the pleasure of meeting Dori at the AYA Summit hosted by ONE Girls and Women in Washington DC. It was an amazing group of women who all work hard to create change in the world!