Category: Sustainable Travel

Feb
19

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Ethical Elephant Tourism: An Interview with Thai Mahouts

Posted by on February 19, 2020 · Leave a Comment  

When it comes to the ethical treatment of animals, there are many different layers to consider and therefore many different beliefs that exist. Discover Corps went into the field to learn about the complex question of elephant tourism from those who have been working with the elephants for generations – the mahouts in Thailand. 

In short, we do not support elephant riding in any way, shape, or form. However, we believe that the problem is not so black and white, and in fact, focusing only on elephant riding is doing a disservice to the animals, the travelers seeking to understand them, and the conservationists working to protect them. 

“Now, the biggest problem we face is that in the past, there was plenty of space for the elephants to graze and feed. Now there is a lot less space, and local laws do not allow them to graze on public land [..] so it can be difficult to find them enough food.” – Boon, Head Mahout at the Elephant Nursery 

We believe that travelers need to vote with their dollars by going to truly ethical camps, the mahout tradition needs to be celebrated, governments, companies, and citizens need to prioritize proper care to establish standards, and we must work to restore lost habitat. 

Watch the video below and get to know the mahouts from our Thailand: The Baby Elephant Experience, and write any questions in the comments!

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Jul
12

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10 Amazing Gorilla Facts

Posted by on July 12, 2019 · Leave a Comment  

For two hours now you have been trekking through the dense jungle of the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda, hyper-aware of every detail of your surroundings. The heat and bugs, however, have zero impact on your level of concentration. You are on a mission. Just as you start to feel a hint of fatigue, the moment arrives. Your guide spots a family of gorillas resting just 20 feet away! The alpha of the group turns and your eyes meet. It’s both terrifying and familiar.

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Jul
3

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How to Talk to Your Friends About Sustainability (and why it’s so important)

Posted by on July 3, 2019 · Leave a Comment  

There’s no doubt that the environment is changing – CO2 levels are the highest they’ve ever been, massive heat waves (and cold fronts) are popping up all over the world, and the Earth’s heat-repelling ice is melting. It’s becoming more important than ever that every citizen of the Earth make a noticeable effort to reduce their impact on the planet.

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Jun
10

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Peru: Children of the Andes | Adrienne’s Interview

Posted by on June 10, 2019 · Leave a Comment  

Discover Corps’ Travel Operations Assistant, Adrienne, has the important role of preparing travelers for both the pre-departure process AND in-country adventures upon their arrival. So needless to say, she really knows our trips inside and out. To stay on top of her game though, Adrienne puts in the work! This includes going on-location to walk in the footsteps of Discover Corps’ travelers. Most recently, she visited our Peru: Children of the Andes vacation, and sat down to discuss the unique experience in the video below:

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May
22

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Is Purposeful Travel a Cure for Loneliness?

Posted by on May 22, 2019 · Leave a Comment  

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, a Great Time to Reflect on Travel’s Role in the Space.

Can you remember the last time you were lonely? When the thought of reaching out to others for a social outing left you feeling anything but…social.

Interestingly, our bodies provide key indicators into how being lonely affects us. Research has found those excluded from social interactions have a noticeable drop in skin temperature. This is likely a protective mechanism, but it brings an entirely new meaning to the expression, giving the cold shoulder.

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Apr
18

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Interview from Cuba: Discover Corps’ Guide Orelvis

Posted by on April 18, 2019 · Leave a Comment  

The passion of Discover Corps’ guide, Orelvis, is clear from the moment you first meet him. His enthusiasm for his country and showing you his country is infectious. As you explore Havana and the surrounding region “Elvis” provides colorful commentary that only deepens your experience. It’s no wonder, that many travelers can’t help but form a strong bond with their insightful guide.

“I remember one time, some [travelers] came back again [to Cuba] through Discover Corps with us, and I remember waiting in the airport. When they saw me and I saw them it was like seeing family. That was a unique emotion and feeling.” – Orelvis

So what better person, to share in his own words, what a trip with Discover Corps like Cuba: Preserving Nature’s Wonders is really like. Take it away Elvis!

Mar
18

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Interview from Thailand: Discover Corps’ Guide Tam

Posted by on March 18, 2019 · Leave a Comment  

After being a tour guide for so many years, you might think Discover Corps Guide Siwarkorn Hkt, or “Tam”, has probably done and seen it all. There’s something, however, that keeps him smiling and talking about how much he loves his job: the people. Of course, the wildlife and beautiful scenery on the Thailand: Elephants & Islands Expedition are incredible, but it’s the people that really stand out for him. From the conversations and shared experiences between travelers, to the time spent with locals, these relationships built while on your volunteer vacation stay with you for a lifetime.

“On the second day of elephant camp when we return in the morning time, the elephant makes noise to say hi or hello…the elephant remembers you, it smells you, it remembers your face and also your voice!” – Tam

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Jan
9

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Best Time to Visit: A Travel Guide for Every Season [Infographic]

Posted by on January 9, 2019 · Leave a Comment  

When planning a vacation many travelers are also expert researchers. How many minutes is the second layover? Does the hotel have 4 or 5 stars? and especially, Is breakfast included? This information is valuable, but knowing when to travel is just as important. So to help the cause, we studied the best time to visit each of the must-see destinations below. Now, you can focus on that complimentary omelet with orange juice. Enjoy!

best time to visit