Petra tells the Guardian that she credits meditation with helping her survive, that while she was holding on for dear life on a palm tree, "I was able to stay very calm and focused, aware very much of everything that was happening. I guess I was more prepared because of it."
Even though she lost her fiancé, she doesn't think of what happened as a tragedy:
"It is about overcoming adversity and how the tragedy can bring lots of light to the person who's experienced it and to many others around them. Wanting to help and not being able to -- that was the hardest, because you hear children screaming on the next tree and then after a while you don't hear them any more. You can't get to them because of the debris and the injuries and that's horrifying, knowing that."Petra returned to Thailand in 2005 with her sister and began her charity 'mentally' by handing out food and blankets. By 2006, The Happy Hearts Fund was born.