Travel has had a profound change on my life and when I have the chance to interweave charity work into the experience, it has proven to be even more impactful. Living in Israel, for example, I worked with various populations including Holocaust survivors, children, new immigrants from Ethiopia. These are a few of the most memorable experiences of my life. I saw that as a visitor from another country, I had the potential to impact and move lives.
Ever since, I have made every effort to make my life and work revolve around these two passions. When I travel with my children, I make every effort to take them to museums to study our Jewish heritage. If there is an opportunity to volunteer in a destination with the local community, I seek it out. This is definitely getting easier as they get older – there are more possibilities. And as a marketer working in the social good sector, I frequently write about women and children living abroad and talk about real actions we can take to help them. Social media has the potential to do so much social good but there is nothing better than going to the destination in person and meeting the people. Seeing the outcome of your efforts – that is everything.
I want to do this with my children – take them to destinations where the population needs our help and get to work. This January my daughter is going to New Orleans, for example, on a service trip to help victims of recent hurricanes. The experience will have a long-lasting impact on her life, I am sure.
Yesterday I found out a new effort that combines travel and advocacy in a unique and very real way, and I am excited to tell you about it.
The Travel Corporation (TTC) and seven of its brands are adding service-focused options for travelers through a partnership with ME to WE, a tour operator specializing in volunteer travel. Their focus is “meaningful travel” – a term they use to describe being immersed in a new culture, fostering genuine connections and seeing the world through a new lens. It’s about embarking on an unforgettable journey and creating a lasting legacy.
TTC, its nonprofit TreadRight Foundation, and TTC brands Trafalgar, Contiki Holidays, Insight Vacations, Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection, Lion World Travel, African Travel, Adventure World and Me to We, will offer immersive service- and culture-oriented trips to Kenya, India and the Ecuadorian Amazon as extensions on tours or river cruises. As part of the culturally immersive experience, travelers will stay among local communities in comfortable lodges, fully owned and operated by Me to WE. All meals, ground transfers, transportation and local sightseeing excursions hosted by an expert facilitator are included.
Each ME to WE Trip takes place in a community where ME to WE’s charitable partner puts its 20-year history of holistic, sustainable development to work through its WE Villages program. Half of ME to WE’s net profits are donated to its charitable partner. The other half is reinvested to grow the enterprise and its social mission.
There are many service trips in the pipeline. There’s the Kenya Extension, which involves participation on a sustainable development project. Then there’s the India Extension which involves work with a community on a development project. The Amazon Extension involves a chance to connect with Indigenous communities that call the rainforest home.
WE Charity has built more than 10,000 schools and classrooms around the world, empowering more than 200,000 children with an education. Hundreds of communities have benefited from its water and sanitation projects, medical resources and alternative income programs. They also sell bracelets made by women in the countries mentioned above. Each bracelet is handmade with love by a woman in Kenya, empowering her to earn a living and create a better future for her family and her community. Every Rafiki also gives back, by donating to a community overseas through a life-changing impact like clean water or school supplies.
Interested? I certainly am. What better way to show your children the world than this? Let me know if you’re interested in taking one of these trips in the comments and I can put you in touch with the right people, or check out these links: