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:
Category: Volunteer Vacations
Sometimes in travel, as in life, it is better to know what you don’t want from your experience than what you do desire. This was certainly the case for Kai, on her recent Peru: Children of the Andes trip. A seasoned traveler, Kai had chosen to travel by herself in the past but learned it was not for her.
“Previously, I have had the experience of being a solo traveler… planning the trip alone, traveling by myself the entire trip. I learned that I don’t like that! I need someone else to arrange details, introduce me to the culture and local people and customs and places, and other travelers to share experiences with.”
This awareness made her Peru volunteer vacation with Discover Crops a perfect match, as Kai details below:
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.
The name of our Peru trip, Children of the Andes, gives a great indication of what you can expect on your vacation with purpose to this special part of South America. You will spend quality time teaching, learning from, and connecting with children that each have a unique story to share. This time is precious and much needed for all involved, but it’s hardly the only aspect of this dynamic experience. Discover Corps’ guide for Peru, Miguel, agrees:
Tanzania is a game changer, or more aptly put, a perspective changer. Cosette and Brian DeCesare and their three daughters Genevieve, Theresa, and Maria are evidence of this phenomenon after their recent Tanzania Safari & Service family vacation with Discover Corps. Cosette put it best, “I was in awe of the happiness and disposition of the people. Especially the children. This was not so much a surprise but an observation. These people know struggle. But they have a level of apparent joy and contentment that would make a lot of Americans blush with envy.”
To elaborate on their family’s time in Africa, Cosette and 16-year-old Theresa kindly agreed to share a few thoughts below on what they called an experience of a lifetime. Their words are complemented by a video recap (after the Q&A) of the trip, creatively made by Theresa.
Jazz and Cuba are as interwoven as any genre of music and country can possibly be. The centuries-old form of creative expression is forever linked to the soul of this nation. For jazz fans and aficionados, no better time exists to experience this intoxicating art form than the Havana Jazz Festival, happening January of 2020. This month will mark a weighty milestone in the history of the festival as it celebrates its 35th year.
If prior occasions are any indication, the festivities are sure to be filled with the same energy and excitement that jazz regularly releases on Cuban airwaves. Allow us to take you inside the happenings of this incomparable celebration to discover what makes the event such a sublime experience and why you simply must be there:
Is working in an elephant sanctuary an ethical tourist activity? In recent years, this question, and wildlife tourism as a whole has been hotly contested. There is much debate as to whether the industry is truly beneficial. Many oppose such operations, with the belief that we should not exploit wild animals for monetary gain. This concern is certainly a valid one. Still, others argue that these practices show poachers that animals are more valuable alive and in their natural environment. Respectfully, Discover Corps believes it’s possible to find a middle ground on this important issue. One that protects the health of wildlife foremost and appeases tourists second.
To do so, it’s important to understand how our presence impacts the natural environment, both positively and negatively. More specifically, careful consideration must be given to what flora and fauna we engage with, and how we do it. This and other complex issues regarding wildlife require thoughtful solutions. One option is sustainable travel, also known as ecotourism. This form of travel seeks to protect nature and wildlife worldwide and enhance the lives of local people. A great example of this brings us back to our original question about elephants. The fact that these gentle giants are a huge driver for Thailand tourism means you, as a traveler, will have many options to choose from to encounter the beautiful creatures. As such, here are a few important questions to ask yourself before traveling to Thailand for an elephant experience:
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!
This Traveler Plans to Return
For Discover Corps traveler, Barbara, her Cuba travel experience was so powerful she is already planning a return trip one year from now. During her adventure, she explored the country, felt the warmth of the Cuban people, and witnessed a moving reunion, years in the making. Barbara provides all the details below of her Cuba: Celebration of Arts & Culture vacation:
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