Friday, July 20, 2007

Philanthropic Travel: Why didn't I think of that?

I'm secretly harboring the fantasy that one day I will grow up to be like Angelina Jolie. Ha! Who am kidding? Isn't everyone? I admire her for a lot of obvious reasons, but mostly I like her because of her heart. I love her love for Africa. I also love Oprah's love for Africa. Both of these women recognize the beauty of the African people and beauty of that continent. It's so magical it can only be seen to be truly understood. The amazing thing about these women is that they have achieved so much success in wealth and in their careers, but they give so much of their time and money to those less fortunate.

The other day I was talking to my best friend, Kristina, who just recently came back from Nairobi and Zanzibar. I was telling her about Exquisite Safaris and what a great idea I think it is to introduce people to the communities they are visiting. She agreed that philanthropic travel is a great idea, because she has actually been looking for tours like these but couldn't find them. Often times, when someone wants to travel to another country and volunteer at an orphanage or school they must stay in a budget accommodations. Not everyone wants to sacrifice in that way and that's completely understandable. Someday, if I can afford it, I plan on traveling this way, too. Until then, I'm completely content with sleeping in the back of my jeep or dorms with 12 other people all snoring in unison. Would Oprah and Angelina travel like this? Hmm, doubtful. So, why haven't more tour operators and the travel industry catered more to people who want to volunteer in under served communities while on their travels but who don't want to sacrifice some creature comforts? I think that Exquisite Safaris is definitely on to something big!


Anonymous said...

Hey Jer -

Thanks for the heartfelt praise. You just let me know where you want to go -and I'll make sure it works for your budget!
You may appreciate this article which addresses the difference between philanthropic travel and voluntourism.

All the best,

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