As you may have noticed from the time between recent posts, we’ve been away on magazine assignments – on a train for six days in Australia without internet or mobile phone except when we passed through towns, and on remote islands where there was no or little internet or mobile phone coverage. We’re back in civilization now, so here’s our post that should have gone up a week ago…
Imagine if you couldn’t read these or any other words? Reading, along with travelling, writing and making photographs, is a passion of ours. Words have impacted our lives in immeasurable ways and continue to enrich us each and every day. We never take that for granted. Because when we travel we’re continually reminded of how many on this planet can’t make sense of the type that you’re reading on this screen.
When we were in Laos we met a waiter at the Amantaka resort in Luang Prabang who was from a village on the Mekong River. He told us how fortunate he felt for having had the chance to go away and get an education and learn English. His dream wasn’t like that of so many others who work in hotels, to work his way up the hospitality ladder to a management position and travel the world. His dream was to save money to return to his village and build a small school. He wants to give others the chance to learn to read and write, and to learn English, so they can get jobs and improve their lives.
Stories like these are the reason we leapt at the opportunity to be part of Passports with Purpose again this year. Because this year the goal of the Passports with Purpose fundraising initiative is to raise US$80,000 to build two libraries in Zambia through Room to Read, which you can learn more about here. How exciting is that?
Masterminded by travel bloggers Debbie Dubrow, Pam Mandel, Beth Whitman, and Michelle Duffy, Passports with Purpose is based on the premise that travel can do good and change the world – that by inspiring other travel bloggers to get on board and help raise money with the support of like-minded sponsors, we can change lives. Last year we all worked together to raise almost $65,000 to build a village in Southern India through Friends of LAFTI. That’s right, a whole village! You can read about that here. Appropriately, holiday rental site HomeAwayUK sponsored us in 2010.
This year, because Passports with Purpose is all about reading, we invited our friends at Context, who run the world’s best walking seminars “for the intellectually curious”, and who are just as passionate about education, to partner up with us. We love their walks and we love how they operate – they’re a family-run (meet Paul and Lani here), socially-responsible company that adheres to sustainable travel principles – so we’re thrilled they agreed.
Context have donated US$1,500 worth of walking seminars to Passports with Purpose! These will be distributed to 10 different winners as vouchers to the value of US$150 for a Context walking seminar for 2 people. These wonderful walks have gone into the pool of dozens of fabulous prizes that entrants can pick from and be in the running to win when you donate just US$10 to Passports with Purpose.
If you win a Context walking seminar, you’ll get to choose a fascinating walk for you and your friend to the value of $150 in any city in the world where Context offers walks. The only rule is that you redeem your prize within a year. You can read more about Context here and browse their stimulating and engaging walks on the Context site here or take a look at our own reviews of the many compelling Context walks that we’ve done here.
With Context, we’ve walked the Berlin Wall; eaten our way through Istanbul’s markets; tasted the immigrant experience and discovered Greenwich Village in New York; explored Venice on foot and by boat and learnt about Veneto wines; devoured foodie London; and in Paris, ambled arty Montmartre, strolled the passages and boulevards, meandered the multicultural suburbs and tasted the ‘Bobo’ palate. If we didn’t love how they help us to get beneath the skin of places, we wouldn’t keep going back for more.
How can you be part of Passports with Purpose and take some credit in helping to build libraries in Zambia? All you have do is visit the Passports with Purpose site and donate $10. You can simply donate the money or you can pick a prize from the list here, which is where you will find Context’s ten walking seminars. Your name then goes into a draw for that prize. After the fundraiser ends on 16 December, winners will be chosen randomly and announced on 23 December.
Just follow these easy steps:
1. Click on the green Passports with Purpose widget in the right column to go to the PWP site.
2. Once there, click on ‘Donate Now’.
3. Donate $10 and/or make your choice from the list of prizes, enter your email address and click ‘donate’.
If you’re a blogger or you’re on Twitter, why not help us spread the word? You could write about the initiative on your blog or just follow us at @gran_tourismo, @passportpurpose and @contexttravel and re-tweet our tweets about the initiative.
The photo? We’ve never been to Zambia, but we have been to Africa. These smiling kids were in a small Maasai Village in the Masai Mara.