As we close out 2020 and look forward to a hopefully more normal world in 2021, we here at Discover Corps thought it would be fun to take a look around the world at some of the more interesting ways to celebrate the holiday season. Both in countries that we visit and others we hope to visit one day, the holidays highlight just how interesting and diverse our world is. A demon-like creature that terrorizes kids in Austria, Germany & Hungary? Yes, that’s a thing. Celebrating under the candlelight with a KFC dinner? Only in Japan. Below are some of the more fascinating (and occasionally questionable) holiday traditions in this big, wide beautiful world of ours:
Author: DC Team
As we close out November, we here at Discover Corps are reflecting, like many of you, on what we are grateful for. Despite the challenges this year has brought, we cannot help but express gratitude to everyone that brings our travel programs to life. From our guides to each and every one of our travelers, a tremendous amount of work, dedication and trust goes into making each and every one of these experiences.
Below are just a few of the many pieces that all link together to make a Discover Corps Vacation with Purpose:
If there were a “word of the year” for 2020, a key contender would definitely be “uncertainty”. As we continue to navigate volatility and the unknown, it obviously gets harder and harder to plan. Spontaneously hopping on a plane and jetting off to an exotic foreign destination? Sounds like something from a sci-fi novel these days!
Dreams. This was the word that came up over and over as we designed our new 2021 Trip Catalog that officially went to (digital) press last week. This time each year, we pour over the photos collected from every corner of the world, the quotes sent over from all of our travelers and fine-tune the experiences that give our trips a true sense of purpose. These come together to form the basis of our catalog.
In September 2015, world leaders at the United Nations’ General Assembly in New York adopted 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Designed as a blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future, these goals address many of the global challenges we face, including those related to poverty, inequality, climate change, environmental degradation, peace and justice. To date 193 countries have adopted these goals as a way to help guide their societies towards a brighter future.
It may come as no surprise that tourism and wildlife conservation are inherently intertwined. When approached correctly, sustainable tourism practices can be a catalyst for protecting some of Earth’s most treasured creatures. Examples of this can be plucked from just about every country that boasts a high density of wildlife both on land and below the sea. In fact, through the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals, the global community has agreed to implement practices that help protect the most vulnerable wildlife and ensure biodiversity continues for generations to come.
The pandemic has taken a toll on our collective global society from all perspectives. As we continue to assess the damage and chart a way forward, we at Discover Corps have spent hours on Zoom calls, like many of you, musing on what comes next. We consider ourselves eternal optimists and have really started to focus on one silver lining, how can we use this moment as an opportunity? An opportunity to re-invent the way we explore our world and fundamentally shift travel from a wholly consumptive experience to something that strengthens our shared humanity.
For those born in the 21st century, it’s difficult to imagine what life was life before computers, cell phones, or cable TV. Now try to imagine life without metal tools. It’s almost incomprehensible!
It was during such an era that the Maya Empire came into existence. Evidence of their civilization dates back to around 1800 BC. By the 6th century AD, the Mayans were at the height of their power, having built an empire of great influence that excelled in agriculture, pottery, hieroglyphic writing and mathematics.
The Maya people spread across the Yucatan Peninsula in what is now Belize, Guatemala and parts of Mexico. Their location and concentration made them less vulnerable to attack than other civilizations of that time, and so their empire grew and flourished.
It’s the challenge of looking back so many years and trying to imagine what life would have been like that attracts so many people to ancient cultures. In Guatemala and Belize, Mayan History comes to life amidst the rocky ruins, tucked away in remote jungles. But the magic really comes to life once you realize that aspects of this ancient culture still live on today…
Taking a family trip offers an exciting opportunity for bonding, learning, and exploring a new place together. Involving everyone in the trip-planning process is just as important as involving everyone in the trip itself, and that includes the kids!
Children may have varying levels of interest in the idea of “trip planning.” But they’re sure to become enthusiastic once they start to explore all of the fun things you can do together.
By involving kids in planning your family trip, we get them engaged on a deeper level. It’s hard to please everyone with every plan on the road. But when kids feel included in the planning process, they’ll have a better understanding of the trip as a whole. If there’s a portion that they’re not particularly enthusiastic about, they’re less likely to become agitated or bored if they have a say in what’s coming next.
Building anticipation for your family vacation can be a bonding experience in itself. So get everyone involved right from the very start, and you may find that the whole experience will be more rewarding. Here are a few tips to help you through the process…
Photography is a big part of travel these days. Everyone wants to capture their awe-inspiring travel experiences to share with friends and family back home. Thanks to social media, we can do so almost instantly (depending on the availability of wifi).
While it’s great that the proliferation of stories and photos can spread so quickly and help make the world feel smaller and less intimidating, we must remember that we have a responsibility to the people and places we photograph.
Cultures do not exist merely for the sake of Facebook likes and retweets. They are complex, intimate, and sacred. And we, as travelers, should feel honored when we’re given access to cultural experiences that are not our own.
That being said, there are ways to photograph cultures that are respectful and effective in capturing beautiful moments around the world. Keep these points in mind and you’ll come away with great photos and richer experiences as a result.