How to give ethically after a disaster

The travel community is truly one of the most giving I know of. Most people who travel do so because they recognize how much our world has to offer. We want to connect. We want to help. We may not always have lots of money, but we do have very big hearts. When tragedy strikes, as it most recently has in Nepal, there is a collective itch within the travel community to do something. Sitting by and watching the suffering of others is not an option once you have made friends in countless locations around the globe. While others may… Read More...

Posted by | Comments (1)  | May 7, 2015
Category: Ethical Travel, Ethics

Balancing desire and ethics when traveling

There is something magical about riding an elephant. Their huge, lumbering bodies swaying slowly along while you sit atop, taking in the view. It’s an experience that is never forgotten. Or at least that’s what I’ve been told. Despite my intense desire to know what it feels like to ride atop one of the world’s most majestic creatures, I’ve never taken the opportunity. My knowledge of how these creatures are broken so that they can give rides to tourists keeps me from doing it. In short, my ethics “get in the way” in this case. This isn’t the only scenario… Read More...

Posted by | Comments (0)  | April 23, 2015
Category: Ethical Travel, Ethics

Lessons learned on the road vs. lessons learned in school

What happens when the education you receive on the road starts to make you question the lessons you learned before you left? History is one of those subjects that never fails to look a whole lot different once I’m in a different country. Despite the tragedies that occurred in the region during my lifetime, I don’t remember learning much about Central America. I knew the region officially spoke Spanish. I knew that much of our fruit was shipped in from various countries in the area. I heard whispers about those fruit companies but I was too nervous to admit ignorance… Read More...

Posted by | Comments (3)  | March 26, 2015
Category: Ethical Travel, Ethics, Youth Travel

Bad days and their positive impact

Travel, for me, has always been an amazing journey into the discovery of what connects us all as human beings. Travel is also hard, exhausting, and seriously trying on the nerves at times. The dichotomy that exists within the experience of traveling is part of what makes it so worthwhile. It's this dichotomy that forces us to really reflect on Below are my top five worst travel experiences, paired with the the most positive takeaway from each experience. Travel may be difficult, but it is certainly still worth it. 5. The day the car broke down at the amusement park.… Read More...

Posted by | Comments (0)  | November 13, 2014
Category: Ethical Travel

Should you volunteer abroad?

Most travelers consider volunteering at some point. We see a need and we know that we have the time, energy, or money to be able to lend a hand and be a part of creating change. Helping people feels good. Working on environmental issues and seeing results is exciting. We don't just want to talk about problems, we want to do something about them. Most travelers also know that there is a strong push within the traveling community not to volunteer while abroad- ever. Volunteers often do more harm than good. Children get attached to a revolving door of volunteers… Read More...

Posted by | Comments (0)  | October 30, 2014
Category: Ethical Travel, Ethics, Volunteering Abroad

Long-term travel, consumerism, and purging

Long- term travelers of all kinds will tell you that one of the most important preliminary steps to taking off is The Purge. That period of time that you devote to deciding which material possessions will still be necessary and dear to your heart after traipsing all over the globe in pursuit of clarity, freedom, connection, adventure, and knowledge. Clothing is donated, items are sold to pay for gear, and maybe a tupperware or two are packed to the brim with things you can't bare to say goodbye to just yet. Everything else, everything that will represent your existence for… Read More...

Posted by | Comments (0)  | October 16, 2014
Category: Ethical Travel, Ethics, General

Connecting spectacular travel moments with our day to day lives

About a decade ago, on a whim, I took a trip to Costa Rica and opened the door to a world I didn't know existed. I still remember crowding around the computer with my friends and studying ticket prices. I remember feeling a little silly that I had never been out of the country except for one brief trip to Canada when I was 10. I twas confused but determined as I applied for my first passport. Beaches, monkeys, and learning to surf were all I thought about as the weeks ticked by. When I returned I couldn't shake the… Read More...

Posted by | Comments (0)  | October 2, 2014
Category: Ethical Travel, Ethics

The top five gifts travel has given me

I am often asked why I travel. What is the benefit? Is all the work, preparation, and planning worth it? So, I set out to identify what it is I really feel I have gained through travel. While this list may not be the same for everyone (and I expect it wouldn't be), I bet most travelers can identify with each item on this list. So, here it is…. the top five gifts travel has given me. 5. Patience. Anyone who travels long term will tell you that patience is a major key to making it all work. Waiting for… Read More...

Posted by | Comments (0)  | September 4, 2014
Category: Ethical Travel

Why change is a beautiful thing and why you should travel right now

How many among us have made the trek back to a favorite destination of years past and realized that, well, it just isn't the same anymore? The bus drops us off in the sleepy surf town we remember fondly from our first backpacking adventure and we wonder where that Roxy store came from. We hop off of planes and out of cabs and are amazed to see teenagers, clad in jeans and Abercrombie t-shirts, hanging out at Mcdonald's where women in Saris used to dole out samosas from a road side stand. Dirt roads that once flooded with every rain… Read More...

Posted by | Comments (4)  | August 21, 2014
Category: Ethical Travel, Ethics

Dealing With the Beggar Issue

Should you ever travel to Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic, there's a good chance you'll meet Francisco in the city's humid, touristy colonial zone. Barefoot, emaciated, and filthy from sleeping in the street, Francisco looks far older than his 19 years, and his wavering gaze carries a look of hardened desperation. I met Francisco -- or, rather, he made it a point to meet me -- when I was sitting on a bench near Independence Park, on my first full day in the city. After chatting me up for a few minutes (asking how I liked Santo… Read More...

Posted by | Comments (2)  | June 21, 2014
Category: Ethical Travel, Travel Writing, Vagabonding Advice