U.S. author's pickup line becomes crusade in Nepal

Wed Jan 26, 2011 12:15pm EST
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By Mark Egan

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - When 29-year-old Conor Grennan volunteered at an orphanage in Nepal he had one goal -- to use the experience as a pickup line to impress women.

But instead that three-month experience in 2004 set the American, who admits he was selfish and self-centered, on a path to adventure that was unusual by any standards.

Since then, he has set up a foundation that runs several children's homes in Nepal, and he crusades against child trafficking in the impoverished country.

Grennan's personal road to discovery is captured in his debut book, "Little Princes," which was published this week.

His journey began with a decision to leave his job and spend all his money a year of round-the-world travel. Volunteering, he said, would deflect criticism from friends that his plans were self-indulgent.

"When I mentioned Nepalese orphans to women, their eyes opened wide. It sounded exotic. I was going to work with kids, and it turned into a great pickup line," Grennan told Reuters. "It put me in a different category for people who thought, rightfully, that I was a selfish and self-centered guy and it made them think, 'Maybe he is a decent guy.'"

When Grennan arrived in the village of Godawari to work at the Little Princes Children's Home in war-torn Nepal, he knew nothing about children or the local culture.

"I made faux pas after faux pas," he said. "The kids would ask what my favorite food was and I would say, 'Hamburgers.'"   Continued...

<p>Author Conor Grennan poses for a picture in New York, January 19, 2011. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid</p>