Traveling Help You – The summer Josh Moshenberg was 16 years old, while his friends were hanging out by the pool or cruising the mall, he took his mother, Erica Ehm, on a life-changing trip to Kenya.
The couple visited a Maasai village as part of an immersion trip with ME to WE, the social enterprise arm of the WE Charity founded by Canadian brothers Craig and Marc Kielburger.
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“When Josh went to Kenya, he was just a little boy,” recounts Ehm, founder and CEO of YMC.ca and a former Big Music host. “When he came home, he was a man.”
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The volunteer experience they share is just one of many offered every year by M to WE, which also takes teenagers, young adults, families, school groups and corporate groups to work on development projects in places like India, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Tanzania and the Amazon.
“The opportunity to make a difference through acts of service was powerful for my son,” he says. “Volunteering to build a school room, sweating in the hot sun and watching the walls in front of him go up gave him a sense of accomplishment and pride.”
For a growing number of travelers, making a positive impact while abroad has shot to the top of the bucket list. And for good reason: Trips that let you give back offer meaningful experiences beyond the beach and spa. Increasing awareness of social, racial and environmental issues, along with the desire for something exotic and highly accessible, is fueling the rise of purpose-driven travel.
The link between travel experiences and lending a hand away from home is supported by research. In a 2018 survey from travel intelligence company Skift, more than 60 percent of respondents looked to travel experiences to gain a new perspective on the world.
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Walking with ME to WE offers that transformational change that comes with restoration. It means volunteering in projects that support one of the five pillars – education, water, health, food or opportunity – to eliminate barriers that hinder society. The work is driven by the community and its needs. Alongside the residents, you can lay bricks for schools, help plant crops, dig irrigation ditches and walk the path to water – just like they do.
Experienced travelers and those looking for deeper meaning that aligns with their personal values will find a sense of purpose in the ME on WE journey. There are no tourists, but there is a deep sense of community given the 20-year history of development work.
The trip is designed to uplift local communities and help create change, but also to make personal connections and encourage self-discovery. Participants are exposed to new cultures and novel experiences that stimulate empathy, compassion and understanding. There are professional benefits, as well: critical thinking, language skills and leadership training, among others.
More than a stamp in a passport, it’s about being a part of something bigger than yourself — or, “traveling with a purpose” as the organization puts it. You will return with a renewed sense of global citizenship – and a continued commitment to social responsibility.
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For example, consider 16-year-old Josh. “The experience ignited the fire to give back, to do something meaningful,” says Erica. “By the time we returned home, Josh had launched his own fundraising campaign, the Fingers to Fist Project, using his photography talent to build a school in Kenya.”
So what is involved in such a trip? Far from being rough, the level of detail in ME to WE’s volunteer trips is higher than a one-size-fits-all vacation. The trip is fully escorted from arrival to return with all details taken care of.
About 15,000 young people and adults have traveled with the organization safely since 2002, proof of the deep relationship of the organization and the many values and principles that exist. From strict coordinator training and pre-registration of the trip with the embassy to secure transportation and 24-hour communication at the destination, security is paramount.
ME at WE’s signature lodges in India, Ecuador and Kenya are first class and provided with all the comforts of home.
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“You live a life of luxury … where you lack for nothing,” Ehm said. “The ME to USI journey is a safe and gentle introduction to local culture.”
Finally, adventure and exploration are woven into the itineraries. Whether you’re searching for the Big Five on safari in Kenya, trekking through the Amazon rainforest or participating in a Hindu prayer ceremony in India, each activity puts participants side by side with the local community.
Do you have a desire to see the world, but want to have a real experience while doing good? partnered with NAM to WE to offer an escorted trip to Ecuador, where you can help local farmers, walk through the Amazon rainforest and attend a shamanic ceremony, while staying at a 4-star lodge. Half of the proceeds go to the WE Charity and contribute directly to the partner community.
Find out more about ME on WE Volunteer Travel and read testimonials about experiences from past travelers.
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“I really love learning everything I do, meeting all the people (locals and those traveling next to me), and all the great memories made along the way.”
University Trips: Designed for young adults aged 18-25, these trips work with the WE Charity community on a sustainable development project.
“I didn’t know what to expect from the trip but it wasn’t what I expected. This trip has changed my life in a positive way and would not have happened without the organization and MY dedication to YOU in planning the trip. “
Seniors and Family Tours: For all ages, these tours are designed to bring families together in meaningful experiences.
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“I think the most inspiring experiences I’ve had can be directly attributed to watching my children grow up, and how WE gave them the opportunity to experience how taking meaningful action can be fun, fun and good for everyone! Thank you!” –
“This experience is something that will affect my life forever. Meeting the people of the El Trapiche community was truly inspiring. My co-hosts, Michelle, Susan and Marijke, made this trip even more special for me.” –
Joint Ventures: Company teams come together to volunteer in partner communities for a need-driven project, such as a school foundation.
“From start to finish this has been the most amazing, eye-opening, humbling and beautiful experience of my life. I feel able to share my experience and the work of WE with great passion now that I have seen the great work and impact in the rural communities of Rajasthan. I am well organized, I embrace every moment with an amazing group of people and I would jump at the chance to be involved again. ” – Everyone loves to travel, and it can be a great way to relieve stress and make memories. There are many benefits to traveling, and you can use your blog to share your experiences and tips to get the most out of your trip. You can also discuss ways to save money on travel, the latest travel trends, and the best places to visit. Traveling can be a great way to expand your horizons and learn more about the world around you. By visiting different places, you can experience different cultures, meet people from all walks of life, and better understand world affairs. You can use your trip to expand your knowledge of history, geography, and other topics.
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In addition to providing educational opportunities, travel can help you relax and rejuvenate. By taking a break from your daily routine, you can gain a new perspective and return to your life feeling refreshed. Traveling can help you build relationships and create lasting memories with the people you meet.
Are you thinking of moving to another state, country, or city? If so, you are not alone. According to a recent survey, more people are traveling than ever before, due to a combination of low airfares, more available vacation days, and an increased desire to explore the world.
Traveling can be a fun and rewarding experience, but there are a few things you should keep in mind that can help you make the most of your trip. Here are some tips for visiting a new location:
1. Do your research: Before you travel, it’s important to do research on the culture, customs, and language of your destination. Understanding the local culture can help you avoid any unpleasant situations and make your trip more enjoyable.
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2. Make a travel plan: Plan where you would like to go and what you would like to do. This will help ensure that you make the most of your time in the new area and don’t miss out on the must-see attractions.
3. Pack lightly: Don’t overload your suitcase with unnecessary items. You’ll be traveling a lot and carrying your own bags, so make sure you only pack the essentials.
5. Get out of your comfort zone: Don’t stick to what you know – embrace a new culture and try something different. Trying new things can be a great way to gain new experiences and creativity