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A Little Story … The Origins of Chocolate and Effects of Grassroots Tourism

Rain pelted darts of moisture into my skin as we stumbled off the bus into a huddle of quizzical faces. Their complete bafflement signaled a slice of doubt in my mind as the bus handler hurled our luggage under the shelter and sped down the road, leaving Ana, my dad, and me at mile marker […]

August 20, 2013 | Continue Reading ...

travel speaker volunteering

A Little Announcement…Meet My Book, The Volunteer Traveler’s Handbook

Writing this book over the past nine months functioned as a perfect mirror for my own personal fears and vulnerabilities—my book about volunteering ended up with so much of me exposed in the process that the thought of publicly launching was overwhelming. When I left the United States in 2008 on what became my open-ended […]

October 21, 2012 | Continue Reading ...

akha ama coffee

A Little Story … A Journey to Find What Sustainable Coffee Really Means

There is a textbook definition of the word “journey”: an act or instance of traveling from one place to another. Within the framework of our collective consciousness as people, however,  the true meaning of a journey lies within ourselves. The word can imply the growth of very specific ideas and understanding within a set time […]

October 15, 2012 | Continue Reading ...

A Little Immersion…Humanizing the Travel Experience

Our pickup truck bumped and jostled down the unpaved path, the driver weaving around the deep pits and pot-holes by rote, each piece of this desert clearly as familiar to him as the lines on his darkly tanned hands. For twenty-five minutes we plodded a slow path through stark and open plains, the raw and honest surrounding beauty of Jordan’s Dana Biosphere Reserve.

With a minimum of movements, our Bedouin driver gestured deep into the Feynan Valley and with squinted eyes I was able to make out a desert colored structure sitting at the base of the valley and blending in naturally with the miles of pale orange sands surrounding our truck.

May 29, 2011 | Continue Reading ...

Estufas Project Xela Guatemala

A Little Travel Memory … Firelight, Stoves, and Big Smile

The smell of burning wood hit me first as I ducked through the entrance of the small house – ducking saved my head from earning yet another gash and also put me right at eye level with the beaming smile from the Guatemalan woman nervously wringing her hands in the center of the room. As I stood up tall on the other side of the doorway I abruptly found myself in the center of her house.

She was eager to show off her functioning stove and welcomed our requests to snap a few photos –she was proud. I was one of several volunteers who had hiked to a rural town outside of Xela, Guatemala to help with a stove building project in the region.

May 11, 2011 | Continue Reading ...

alex from world reviewer

A Little Helping…Give Thanks by Giving Back

This week I welcome a guest post from Alex at World Reviewer.com – we swapped posts because I loved her idea about a look at the simple ways that we can give back to the community during the current holiday season. Some are exceeding simple to execute, so why not read through and find even […]

November 26, 2010 | Continue Reading ...