This summer, we’ll be doing deep dives into a selection of our trips to uncover some of the amazing partnerships we have across the globe. These partnerships are at the heart of our trips and are what truly create the Discover Corps Difference in each one of our hand-crafted itineraries. From the Alaska Sealife Center to Kenya’s Maa Trust, we scour the globe to develop the most unique, impactful partnerships that benefit the communities we serve and travelers alike.
But first, we need to take a step back and ask why we even do this in the first place? Isn’t a vacation about sitting on the beach and enjoying a Mai Tai day in and day out? Everyone has different motivations for travel. Some people travel to simply get away and change the scenery. Others to relax and not have to think about a thing! While these are all valid reasons to travel, we are firm believers that travel can have a deeper impact if done thoughtfully.
What is Purposeful Travel? And why is the Travel Industry just Catching on?
We know, it’s a pretty broad concept. Purpose can take on so many different meanings and can be interpreted differently from person to person. For some, purpose may mean spending valuable time with children and other family members. For others, it may take the form of helping those in need.
When it comes to travel, we view purpose as a spectrum with a range of possible meanings. On the one hand, purpose can literally mean volunteering. You know, the boots on the ground, get your hands dirty style of volunteering. These experiences occupy one end of the spectrum and are our true grassroots expeditions. Building bottle schools in communities in the Dominican Republic and facilitating English classes in the elementary schools of Tanzania are some examples of purposeful travel that embody the physical element of volunteering. These are also some of our oldest and strongest partnerships that are over a decade in the making.
Towards the other end of the spectrum are the behind-the-scenes, highly immersive experiences. Think educational workshops & exclusive visits with experts. These trips typically feature partnerships with a range of organizations, NGOs and community leaders in the host destination. These visits, combined typically with boutique lodging, create a higher-end experience that exposes our travelers to some of the most interesting projects and people affecting change in their communities. We don’t volunteer in the typical sense of the word, but we do go deeper and uncover a side of the destination that drives curiosity and creates advocates for change. This is a different, but just as impactful iteration of purpose as volunteering.
The funny thing about this is that we’ve been following these principles and integrating these unique partnerships and experiences into our travel programs since day one. And in the post-pandemic travel landscape, we can see the industry now shifting towards a more equitable and sustainable type of travel. Terms such as “Regenerative Travel” now dominate the conversation where travel is not just about sustainability, but also leaving the place in a better state than when you arrived. We are glad the industry is now realizing the importance of these issues and are happy to be one of the pioneers of this style of conscious travel.
Can Travel Really have an Impact?
So, we have a range of meaning that purpose can take on in the context of travel, but can travel really have a meaningful impact? The answer is a resounding yes. In the communities we visit, travel, when done thoughtfully, has the power to funnel dollars and much needed support to our partners and the communities they serve. The past year has only served to highlight just how crucial our role is in some of these places and the fact that we must double down on our commitment to ensure that our experiences and travelers are doing all they can to benefit the places we go. From Oaxaca to Thailand, our groups help drive positive change and positive economic development.
And, as you well know, travel has the unique power to impact the travelers themselves. We’ve seen this particularly in the families that travel with Discover Corps. Children opening their eyes to the world in the company of their parents is something that just can’t be replicated in the classroom. Likewise, we also see some of our active, retired travelers having similar experiences and revelations. One Discover Corps traveler in particular really stands out. She was so impacted by her experience in Peru and, after recognizing the need for safe transport, donated a vehicle to ensure that the children of the community get to school! That’s the trickle down effect that purposeful travel truly has and we hope that it will continue to inspire positive impact in all shape and form.
So, be on the lookout for our series of blog posts this summer featuring the amazing variety of partnerships that we’ve cultivated across the world. When the curious minds of our travelers meet with real leaders driving impact on the ground, the sky is genuinely the limit!