Connect With People Around The World- Whole Wide World Toys

A Girl, a Photo and an Earthquake: An Astonishing Connection Over 20+ Years


This month I made a very surprising connection. Someone I met for a moment more than 20 years ago asked me for a favor. It’s the kind of connection that makes you see your place in the world a little more clearly.

After the Nepal earthquake in 2015, I wrote a blog post about my visit to Langtang, Nepal more than 20 years ago. It’s a photo of three cheeky kids grinning for the camera, delighted to to show their smiles. A few weeks ago, a woman named Pasang recognized herself as the small girl in the photo and contacted me to ask if I would share with her that photo and any others that I had. Langtang village was destroyed by the earthquake and resulting avalanche, and one of the boys in the photo had died in that earthquake. She wanted the photo as a keepsake.

And that’s not all. She lost her mother and 21 other family members in the earthquake. The village of Langtang lost half of its 400 people. Only five people who were in the village survived. The rest of the survivors were not in the village at that moment because they were in their fields, neighboring villages or Kathmandu. It’s a stunningly tragic story.


This astonishing story of connection crosses even more borders than the ones between she and I. A German couple sponsored Pasang to go to school and she married a Spanish man and works in an international hotel in Spain. My travels across many borders, Nepal among them, inspired me to found my toy company, Whole Wide World Toys. We want kids to be inspired to explore the world through play, and in real life. Where might that curiosity take them? What borders might they cross one day?

That one brief encounter so many years ago created this connection that no one could foresee. How many connections have we missed because we haven’t yet connected the dots?

It inspires me to reach out more. Hopefully I don’t become the strange person sitting next to you on an airplane that won’t shut up, but a quick conversation with a question or two can lead to interesting connections. On a recent trip I vowed to be a little more outgoing and the results delighted me. The very average-looking people next to me on the plane rides: a) were running an ultra marathon, b) had negotiated Middle East peace agreements and c) knew my mom. What are the chances?

Connections are inevitable. Why? Because humans cross physical and imaginary borders all the time.


Nepal has slipped from the headlines, but they still need help. If you’re so inclined, you can donate to the relief effort that Pasang and her husband have founded, Langtang Disaster Relief Fund, or one of the many international relief agencies that works in Nepal.

Find some tips here for Helping Kids Find Their True Selves with Creative Multicultural Play.

If you want your child to make connections with the world, consider the gift of toys that foster curiosity about the world. Here’s my very best list of Toys for Armchair Travel including World Village Playsets!


– Have you found unexpected connections with the people around you?
– Have you been astonished to see someone you know while traveling far from home or even abroad?
– Have you realized that someone you know is connected to someone else you know in a surprising way?
– How are you inspired to connect with people different from yourself?

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