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Friday, 20 November 2009

Guerrilla Aid: an Interview with Barton Brooks - Page 2

Written by Rachael Repoff
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Barton Brooks, leading by example, is making up his own rules for saving the world.

While reading O Magazine, I came across an article about a man named Barton Brooks. Barton was a real estate broker in New York and also worked for some time in the fashion industry. Feeling unfulfilled in his current situation, he left his job and changed his life’s focus.

 

inTravel: I love the picture of your mother, Carla Brooks, riding side-saddle Guerrilla Aid: an Interview with Barton Brooks, Guerrilla Aid,  Barton Brooks, Global Colors, Guerrilla Aid Movement, volunteering Southeast Asia, Uganda, Kenya, Mexico, Ethiopia, Argentina, Senegal, and Mozambique, building homes, giving bikes and school supplies to kids, helping orphanageson a motorcycle in Uganda. You must feel so blessed to have a mother that is so supportive that she’ll often travel with you. Who else has been a major influence in your life and your work?

 

Barton: If I had to pick one person I’d say Margaret Mead. Her core belief was that we can learn the most from simple observation. I learned that I can’t place anyone into a mold of what I think they need. My work became more meaningful once I began asking people “how can I help?”, and then starting from there. That was a really important lesson for me.

 

inTravel: You’ve been written about in O Magazine and you’ve been interviewed by Gayle King on Oprah Radio. As an Oprah fan, I wonder if you’ll indulge me by letting me ask you the Oprah Question Tell about your Biggest Aha! Moment?

Barton: (Laughs) Sure, that’s actually an easy one. My ‘Aha’ Moment came when I was traveling through Cambodia with friends about four years ago. We passed by a group of young boys, laughing, running and playing near a temple. As I looked closer I saw the only thing these kids had to play with was a deflated football. That moment, for some reason, really opened my eyes to the kind of poverty that exists. Then everything became clear. I knew my entire life was about to change. I thought someone needs to help those kids, so why shouldn’t it be me. Guerrilla Aid: an Interview with Barton Brooks, Guerrilla Aid,  Barton Brooks, Global Colors, Guerrilla Aid Movement, volunteering Southeast Asia, Uganda, Kenya, Mexico, Ethiopia, Argentina, Senegal, and Mozambique, building homes, giving bikes and school supplies to kids, helping orphanages I further thought if someone is going to change the world why shouldn’t that be me too? It was soon after that moment I created Global Colors.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

inTravel: How do you choose the countries you go to?

Barton: I try to learn about everywhere, and then focusGuerrilla Aid: an Interview with Barton Brooks, Guerrilla Aid,  Barton Brooks, Global Colors, Guerrilla Aid Movement, volunteering Southeast Asia, Uganda, Kenya, Mexico, Ethiopia, Argentina, Senegal, and Mozambique, building homes, giving bikes and school supplies to kids, helping orphanages on someplace I've never been and a culture I've never understood. I try to learn as much as I can about why a tourist would go there, and I find out about some of the issues they are dealing with and then I figure out what I could help with... Then I plan the project accordingly.

 

inTravel: Where are you heading next?

Barton: Mongolia. I've been fascinated by yurts, the vast open wilderness, and the local traditions - especially the annual horse festival called ‘Naadam’ in July. It sounds amazing, and I really want to see it, so I’m planning my trip during that time. Also, after a little research, I found a guy who rescues children out from under the city streets (warm caverns during the harsh winters) and then takes care of them and gives them a home.

 

inTravel: That sounds amazing. I feel like I already know the answer to this, but do you ever look back and miss your old life?

Guerrilla Aid: an Interview with Barton Brooks, Guerrilla Aid,  Barton Brooks, Global Colors, Guerrilla Aid Movement, volunteering Southeast Asia, Uganda, Kenya, Mexico, Ethiopia, Argentina, Senegal, and Mozambique, building homes, giving bikes and school supplies to kids, helping orphanagesBarton: No, never. I never really felt at home in New York; I always felt as if I was living to exist, if that makes sense. I always joke that I have ‘Life ADD’, it’s just that there’s so much I want to do in the world.

 

inTravel: I used to live in New York and I completely relate to that feeling of “living to exist”. When do you feel most gratified, like you’ve made the biggest difference?

Barton: The most gratifying thing to me is when I meet someone and teach them something new and I know I’ve changed the trajectory of their life. Guerrilla Aid: an Interview with Barton Brooks, Guerrilla Aid,  Barton Brooks, Global Colors, Guerrilla Aid Movement, volunteering Southeast Asia, Uganda, Kenya, Mexico, Ethiopia, Argentina, Senegal, and Mozambique, building homes, giving bikes and school supplies to kids, helping orphanagesOccasionally, someone will get so excited by what they’ve just learned that they can’t wait to leave and start putting into practice. That’s the moment, when I see someone walking away from me with a new sense of purpose.

 

(Page 2 of 3)
Last modified on Sunday, 16 December 2012

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