Recently I experienced a succession of substantial and destabilizing losses in my life. I realized that I was at a crossroads in my life and I could choose to go along the path that I was on or I could use this as an opportunity to do something completely different, take a leap of faith and embark on a journey to make a difference in this world rather than collecting dust behind a computer in cubicle-land. It has been a somewhat difficult, but insightful journey leading up to this point and I decided that the Universe, God or whatever higher power of being was telling me I didn’t want to just go somewhere to run away and be in the same situation when I returned home. I didn’t want it to be a vacation, either. This must be an adventure. It must be a challenging learning experience and most of all it should be benefitting others. I’m talking about immersing yourself in a culture and connecting with the local people you meet while there.
What’s sitting at the root of so much that we do wrong in this world? Prejudice, ignorance and bigotry.
Being out of touch with others, those whom we perceive to be different from us, lacking empathy, allowing ourselves to be only familiar with our little corner of the world and viewing the rest with a narrow mind.
An antidote? Travel.
I believe it’s very important to travel and explore. It lets us open our minds to new things and we get to experience life in exiting different ways.
When you push yourself out of your comfort zone and take the time to really see a different culture, you are exposed to different perspectives, experiences, history, culture, religions and ultimately, a better self. You get more appreciation for what you currently have. You relate to others better than before, seeing what you have in common at the same time as embracing the differences between each other.
Your experiences and memories leave a lasting impression that may empower you to act and help others at home and the world. You start to think globally.
Another antidote? Volunteering and giving back to those less fortunate in life.
In addition to networking, volunteering can be a fun, meaningful way to make new friends. New to a community? Looking to branch out socially? Simply looking for something to do with new people? Volunteer and get to know others who care about the same issues that you do.
Last but most certainly not least, volunteering is one of the best ways we know of to make a difference in a community. Whatever your passion, however you get involved, volunteering offers a way to have a real and lasting impact on the world.
In my heart, I knew there had to be a way to combine my love of travel and my desire to create social change by helping marginalized people. This trip and documenting it on video and photographs is my answer.
My team and I plan to choose our destinations “travel Roulette” style, leaving it to chance and rolling along with whatever comes our way. Meaning, we have a budget for each trip. We “choose” our destination by arriving at the airport and buying a ticket for the first available flight that is within our said budget. It could be anywhere. Wherever the destination, whichever flight is taking off within the following hour and within our budget – that is where we are going. This is the spirit of adventure that we wanted to capture. Also, we didn’t want to put preference on any country or area of the world.
The idea is to have an adventure, see each destination city differently than a tourist would. We want to see the areas of each destination that are not on every guided tour. We are striving to see each destination as if we had the opportunity to live there for several months at a time.
We will find our accommodation utilizing word of mouth, local advertisements upon arrival and peer-to-peer homestay networks.
We will look up local non-profit, charity and non-governmental organizations in each destination so that we can volunteer, give back to the local community and meet people that we probably wouldn’t have had the opportunity to meet if we stuck to the usual tourist type activities.
We feel that being a foreigner in a new land will lend to us a massive jolt in understanding how communities group together. We’ll be able to see what binds them through their culture, their customs, their history and their future. Also, this puts us in the position to evaluate our own beliefs and mannerisms. How much of our identity is really the work of our own thoughts or the result of our home culture’s shared understanding of the world?
Right now, we have a small amount of our personal resources saved up for this trip, though we still need help with raising more funding for all aspects of the trip. We will be based in London.
We'd be so grateful for any help you could offer.