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In 2006, on a trip to see the world, John Ganshaw landed in Cambodia. He traveled through the small Southeast Asian country, eventually making his way to the ancient heart of the Khmer Empire, Siem Reap.

John fell in love instantly. His remaining time was spent with the Khmer people learning and exploring their history, traditions, culture, and religion. He was saddened to lose the amazing connection he felt when it was time to continue his journey.

Cambodia reminded John of a youthful dream he had long ago in his college years. He remembered talking with Kelley McVay, his fellow classmate, and telling her,

“When I retire, I will open a guesthouse in Southeast Asia.”

Experiencing such strong feelings about one location during a trip around the world must have been no coincidence. Realizing this, John decided that Cambodia was the place where his almost-forgotten college dream could begin to take shape. He knew it would take time but he was determined to wait.

Finally ready eleven years later, John became nervous and had second thoughts. He told himself,

“Don’t wait too long otherwise you only will talk yourself out.”

He thought about the strong and resilient Khmer people, still standing, smiling, and warmly welcoming people after enduring such horrific tragedies. He thought about how he could help them and possibly give something back. He thought about how we are all the same inside but sometimes born into unfortunate circumstances. He thought until he could not think any longer and boarded a plane heading towards Cambodia, the Kingdom of Wonder.

John knew that in order to improve their outlook he first had to bring about change to their communities. Providing fair wages, working closely with locals, and supporting, exchanging, and participating in community work was common sense and a must to him.

It took many years and a lot of work but John’s dream finally materialized in the Butterfly Pea Boutique Hotel. His old college friend, Kelley, is now the ‘Experience Curator’ of the Butterfly Pea team,

“We wanna show our guests what else Siem Reap has to offer besides the astonishing temples of Angkor Wat.”

John dreamt, designed, and now created a beautiful and inspiring place attempting to remove barriers for the underprivileged in society. A place where people could come and capitalize on real opportunities.

To further support the local community, John made sure that sourcing sustainable and environment-friendly products locally was one of the Butterfly Pea’s main principles. This means you’ll see bamboo straws, refillable bottles, and linen shopping bags, not plastic, plastic, and more plastic.

the Butterfly Pea’s second principle revolves around connecting travelers with the locals! John wants others to fall in love the same way he did. Instead of snapping their Angkor photos without learning or exploring deeper.

When asked why he wanted to do all of this, John humbly answers,

“Because I like to make people happy. I want to reinvest to make a difference for people here.”