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People of Purpose

Connecting people to their unique human experience through Purpose.

May 13, 2018

Darrin and Olivier live in rural Cambodia where they have started an organic farming project called OrganiKH in Darrin's home village of Sveychek. Darrin has a remarkable story of being driven out of her hometown due to the Khmer Rouge's repressive regime in the early 90's. Struggling to make a livelihood, her family sent her to Thailand on her own when she was 13. By the time she came back to Cambodia in her early 20's she met Olivier, a french backpacker in search of his purpose. Olivier became disillusioned with the "rich" life in Nice, France where he was a bartender who had all the material possessions he could ever want. After a short trip to the islands in Southeast Asia he was hooked to the culture. He sold everything and packed up and left in search of what was next. After several months of travel him and Darrin decided to open a bungalow guest house on the southern coast of Cambodia. They had two children there and eventually moved to Koh Yao, Thailand where Olivier was a hotel manager and Darrin, the resort's head chef. As they found their purpose, they both decided that it was time to commit to their dream of starting their own farm in Darrin's hometown as a way to make a sustainable life for their family and with the environment. Now three years into the project they have built an impressive farm with mud-brick living quarters, thatched roofing, composting, and dozens of crops grown 100% organically. They host volunteers from all over the world who help on the farm and have even homeschooled their kids. They speak four languages fluently and have dreams to grow their farming project into a local learning center and cooperative for the surrounding farmers and people to visit and share in its mission. 
We conducted our interview on my third visit to the farm. When I first came in October of 2015 I met a community of volunteers from all over the world who enjoyed rich discussions on environmental sustainability, long term travel experiences, and philosophies of living over delicious organic and local meals. We played games, shared skills, and had tons of laughs. I lived in a shared bungalow waking up with the sun and enjoyed working with my hands in the soil planting seeds, making garden beds, building infrastructure from the mud and straw of the land. We’d take afternoon breaks of 3-4 hours when we’d get out of the sun. I loved hammocking and reading books, journaling, and napping. It was a constant adventure swimming in the pond with their two children, playing soccer, and even eating my first bug of my life. In those first ten days I had found my version of utopia. I have since been back twice more and its growing wonderfully. 
I hope you get a taste of what it’s like to hangout with these people of Purpose. I hope this peaceful outdoor interview with Olivier and Darrin plants the seed for you to volunteer on an organic farming project of your own and one day visit this project in Cambodia.



Listen as we talk about:
  • Why they started an organic farming project in Cambodia 

  • How Olivier left a life of riches bartending on the beach in France to pursue purpose 

  • How Darin escaped a genocide to change countries and live on her own at age 13 

  • The hilarious story of how they first met

  • Why they owned a guest house on a resort island in Cambodia and why they sold it

  •  What it’s like to raise children in paradise environments constantly shared by others 
  • Why self reliance is an important aim to have

  • The motivation behind why they work on a local level

  • Some resources for you to get started with a farming project of your own.
  • The respect we must have for nature



 --------------Resources Mentioned: ---------------------
  • PunPun Farm - ambitious organic farming project in Chiang Mai where you can volunteer and learn


  • Panya Project  - two-week permaculture design course near Chiang Mai Thailand


  • One-Straw Revolution - Masanabu Fukubaka's book that helped inspire the self-reliance and cooperative model for the farm




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