Awesome Washingtonian of the Day Sept 19, 2010

Name: Lydia L. Arshadi
Live in: North Potomac, MD
Originally from: Shiraz, Iran
Profession: Global Volunteer, Founder of Nightlife To Nature
What I love about DC the most: The preservation of it’s greenery! Not many cities are conducive to picnics in the park quite like Washington! We work hard to stay green and are making progressive moves to be more Eco-conscious. We’re home to the top city in the US for protected parks and recreation facilities and naturally, exercise is part of our lifestyle. I love seeing bikers, hikers and runners up early on Sunday mornings as I make my coffee run. Like our plethora of flora and fauna, our diversity in culture is widely apparent, too. Our eclectic neighborhoods offer something for everyone, despite the outside conservative view of the Nation’s Capital. Although this city might not be comparable to New York City, Los Angeles or Chicago in size, it’s hidden restaurants and options for “things to do” make this city appear larger than one might imagine. No matter what culture or language you speak, it’s always lovely to see people collectively relaxing and enjoying a day in the park. It’s one thing every nation can enjoy, nature.

My favorite Music Video: Bob Marley – Jamming Live

About Me: As a young girl I was always making mud pies and building make-shift bamboo bridges in the creek in my backyard. My legs were filled with mosquito bites and I had dirt under my nails. I guess you could say I wasn’t always interested in Barbie. My Persian father was always encouraging my mother to call me inside for fear I would hurt myself but my mother knew it was part of a child’s youth to explore. And that I did. I was constantly adopting animals, of course, without permission. Our house was filled with dogs, Fire-bellied toads, Teddy Bear hamsters, Lop-eared rabbits, fish of all sizes, neighbor’s cats, temporary-housed box turtles and then the horse I leased off-premise. There was always a bowl to fill and a creature to be petted. During middle school, I found my real love working part-time in Maryland at an animal hospital where I began to realize my deep passion to help living things.

I continued to work at the hospital throughout high school, but as time would tell I started to draw closer to things like cheerleading, make-up and going out with girlfriends. Eventually I left the animal hospital, went to college and got a job bartending at a night club in DC. I discovered the amazing side of having a social life and grew quite a number of friends. I knew the best places to grab a cocktail, the hottest restaurants to eat and did a few red-carpet events while working for a booking agent. I had expensive clothing, nice apartments and went to popular events. I connected with philanthropists and entrepreneurs, some of which became my best mentors. I was given opportunities throughout the hospitality industry to manage, promote, develop and market some of the most high-end establishments the District had to offer. It was an incredible journey that I was able to explore.

Six years later, I woke up one morning to be reminded that although I truly appreciated these experiences, I could not help but go back to where I came from. History repeats itself and you cannot deny your true passions. I found that I was constantly involved in some aspect of volunteer work that fed into animals. Whether it was the Lucky Dog Animal Rescue Holiday Dinner and fundraising events or the summertime Green Cup of Polo match to benefit the environment, I had an interest in helping. My passion to work with animals and to help heal our environment had been sitting on my mind.

I decided I needed to find a way that I could make an impact and fulfill this hunger. After several hours of research I found Global Volunteer Network, an organization with programs in 21 countries with a wide array of opportunities.

It was then I decided I would ditch the heels for a nice pair of hiking boots and trade in the silk cocktail dress for shorts and tank top. I have dedicated the next two years to international volunteer work with a primary focus on rehabilitating endangered animals and rebuilding the environment. I wanted to share my experiences by creating a website focused on the journey and the process. Every moment and every experience I have had has made everything I taste and breathe that much more meaningful. I am eternally grateful to be able to experience these things and share them. I hope you enjoy them as well, secondhand. When the heels came off and my bare feet touched the grass, that’s when I felt like I really began to live.

Feel free to follow me on Facebook

Those of you who know me, please, leave your comment here for others to see and make their judgment on their rating.


Check out our previous Awesome Washingtonians.

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5 Responses to Awesome Washingtonian of the Day Sept 19, 2010

  1. Dan Woodside says:

    So proud of you baby 🙂

  2. Thanks for sharing your story about your lifechanging experience volunteering with GVN! 🙂 I did kind of the same thing-went to Uganda and ended up working for the GVN Foundation, the non-profit side of the company! I went from corporate to non-profit and haven’t looked back once!

  3. afca says:

    and now!!??

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