Lewes resident Kevin Clark discovered the world after high school, and now offers eastern-based health remedies to the Cape Region.
The 2000 graduate of Cape High followed family tradition by enrolling in Notre Dame University, but before heading out to South Bend for four years, he took a yearlong bypass.
Through the Center for Interim Programs, Clark lived and studied in France, Nepal and Ecuador.
"They want everyone to explore the world and decide what they like before they pick a major," he said.
He learned French in France and Spanish in Ecuador, but it was his time in Nepal that influenced him the most.
Starting in Katmandu, Clark was one of a dozen students led by two guides who trekked through the Himalayas for more than a month. Trekking through the mountain range at 12,000 feet, he said the view of Mount Everest was amazing.
"You'd go to sleep at night and wake up in the morning and see Mount Everest," he said.
Impressive scenery aside, he said, the local people made the biggest impression on him.
"The people we met who lived on dirt floors were some of the happiest people I've ever met in my life," he said.
Clark returned to the United States fresh from his travels and promptly enrolled in anthropology and East Asian studies at Notre Dame.
"I like studying different cultures, and I like a lot of the tenets behind Buddhism," said the born-and-raised Catholic, who graduated from arguably the most famous Catholic university in the country.
After earning a bachelor's degree in anthropology, Clark enrolled in a four-year master's degree program at Pacific College of Oriental Medicine in San Diego. There, he majored in traditional Chinese medicine.
His master's studies took him back to Asia, this time to China where he interned in a Chinese hospital. He learned acupuncture and herbal medicine during his five-week stay. He also traveled to Tibet – a destination denied to him during his first jaunt to Asia.
Arriving in the Dalai Lama's homeland, his excitement turned to disappointment by few Tibetans living among a large number of Chinese.
"There are no Tibetans living there anymore, only Chinese," he said of his experience in the region. "It was very depressing. I'll never return."
Lewes, acupuncture and Uswapia
Master's degree in hand and with a wealth of alternative healing knowledge, Clark returned to Lewes two years ago to share his expertise with the community. He continued his studies and earned certification in Chinese medicine – largely involving herbal remedies – and received his Delaware acupuncture license in 2011.
Clark, 30, now practices acupuncture under KC Acupuncture with a physical location on Route 24 at Sussex Acupuncture Associates, 35252 Hudson Way, unit 2, Rehoboth Beach.
Branching out from his acupuncture business about a year ago, Clark began an online bartering site called Uswapia.com.
Bartering for services is big on the West Coast, particularly since acupuncture costs can be expensive, he said.
A friend of his helped him build a website that currently hosts 10 services available through barter including legal services, baked goods and music lessons.
Clark said he's seeking out a variety of services and trades to offer on the website to expand the options for people who visit it.
"I think it can shift the way we spend money, or how we spend disposable income," he said.
Eventually, Clark said, he would like to create a healthcare site as an offshoot to uSwapia.com in order to offer people alternative healthcare options.
Anyone interested more information on acupuncture, herbal remedies or uSwapia.com can contact Clark at 302-249-0143.