Giving Back Around The World
To my fellow travel lovers, writers, bloggers, photographers and more: given our love of learning when it comes to people and places, can’t we be doing more to highlight issues that need attention and also give back to organizations trying to make the world a better place?
I’ll be honest.
Given the current sad state of affairs in America right now with children being detained, it’s been hard to watch a barrage of shiny posts on “look what luxury hotel I am in now” or “hey I am at the cannes lions festival”, etc. I don’t begrudge you the trip, or enjoying life and sharing it – truly – and there is absolutely a need for uplifting, positive, aspiration content, but there is just too much suffering happening right now to gloss right past everything without a mention. There are real issues at hand, use your platforms & privilege to help people. We can (and should) be doing so much more.
For those of us who travel regularly and who have access to places many people may never go, it should be a honor and an opportunity to share any cultural insight about a new place you are able to explore, such as a fact, a statistic, a tip, a personal story about an individual/family. I would argue that given the current rise of horrendous racism in places, that we have an obligation to educate and share different places that contribute to this big world being wonderfully rich in diversity, and that should be celebrated not feared (Bourdain always did this incredibly well). We can expect a landslide of vacation photos coming in summer months, especially international, so how about sharing some new with us all while you are there? I love beautiful photos, and the creativity that many of you possess on instagram; I am just saying that an interesting caption now and then would go a long way. Travel bloggers – if all of our collective media platforms are indeed “global” and we’re putting in the effort to post anyway, then let’s use that ability to share more, make it authentic and insightful (*read my earlier piece about cultural storytellers). Wasn’t learning about new places what you excited to travel in the first place? Isn’t helping people who need it in countries we leave behind part of our obligation?
Mostly I have been thinking about giving back.
No doubt most of us have good intentions and want to help more communities or a person/place who needs it. Maybe we volunteer, maybe we donate, maybe we shed light on an issue with our social channels (more of that for good please), but
there are always opportunities to share information with others on how to get involved (make sure you vet them first), with a simple post, link or insta-story mention. Let’s do that and champion these organizations trying to make the world a better place!
–> Find opportunities to volunteer in your community on Volunteer Match or Great Non Profits
–> Pack some extra supplies for an area you are visiting using Pack For A Purpose
–> *Make sure the organizations you are working with are actually helping, not hurting. There have been multiple reports on “volunteer tourism” and some of the negative impact it can have in the wrong circumstances. Know the facts!
Start Your Own Fundraising Campaign
Travel Opportunities to Build
Happy Hearts Fund: Rebuilding communities around the world
American Foundation for Children with AIDS: Volunteering with the organization’s Kenyan partner Mombasa Catholic Community-Based Health Care Project.
Journey: creates impact travel experiences in international and domestic destinations, often involves building too.
Fighting The Good Fight
Amnesty International – A global movement of more than 7 million people in over 150 countries and territories who campaign to end abuses of human rights.
ACLU – For nearly 100 years, the ACLU has been our nation’s guardian of liberty, working in courts, legislatures, and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties that the Constitution and the laws of the United States guarantee everyone in this country. Renew that membership every year!
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation – Turned in a global leader: We see equal value in all lives. And so we are dedicated to improving the quality of life for individuals around the world. From the education of students in Chicago, to the health of a young mother in Nigeria, we are catalysts of human promise everywhere.
United Nations Foundation – Links the UN’s work with others around the world, mobilizing the energy and expertise of business and non-governmental organizations to help the UN tackle issues including climate change, global health, peace and security, women’s empowerment, poverty eradication, energy access
Medical: Doctors Without Borders – An independent, global movement providing medical aid where it’s needed most. Often times in the most war-torn areas of the world.
Water Access: Charity Water, MIYA, Water.org, Columbia Water Center, Water Is Life
Do you have any other favorites? Please let us know if there is a great organization you would like to highlight. Thank you!
Author: Carrie Mitchell
Carrie A. Mitchell is the founder of L’Aventure Travel, the host of the Suitcase Sojourn Podcast, and author of the children’s travel book “To Be We”. Carrie is a global travel and hospitality expert who works with publications, brands and entertainment outlets on a number of travel related projects, from marketing consulting to editorial coverage to hosting & producing content for the web, TV and podcasts. She is always seeking to learn from people and places around the world, and share through her cultural exploration (40+ countries and counting)