How G Adventures Gives Back to the Community

When you are planning a trip abroad with sustainability in mind, it can sometimes be complex and hard to execute. You may think of options like a  group trip, head to a particular destination you think is more sustainable, or look for ways to make a positive impact when you arrive. Thankfully, some travel organizations, like G Adventures, take the difficulty out of preplanning and allow you to focus on how you can truly be a positive, impactful traveler.

“Changing the world through travel” has been the organization’s motto since its creation in 1990. For over 20 years, G Adventures has curated numerous bookings for individuals to revel in sustainable vacations, the local community and volunteer services that provide an enriching experience. Furthermore, G Adventures works closely with its non-profit partner – Planeterra, which aims to empower people, protect the environment, and create a ripple effect of positive impact through tourism.

From all across the globe, there are numerous vacation projects for you to pick from. The organization just introduced five new projects to the public in 2020. Be sure to check them out below to gain some destination inspiration or learn more about how you can give back to communities while traveling.

1. Dqae Qare San Lodge – D’Kar, Botswana

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The Dqae Qare San Lodge is a unique experience as it is owned and run by the San people

D’kar is a village in the Ghanzi District of Botswana. A large number of the San of Southern Africa, a marginalized group of indigenous people, resides there. They are excluded from the economy and lack social services. Moreover, they are under constant threat of their language and history being demolished by infrastructure development and lack of cultural resources. 

In the D’kar village, the Dqae Qare San Lodge is a wildlife area, lodge and campsite. It also aids in the protection of the San of Botswana. It offers full-time employment and part-time work for those who offer cultural activities and other small jobs there. Over USD $38,000 is annually paid to upkeep development projects like freshwater infrastructure and resources for preschool. Such projects are invaluable to the community, which lives in extreme poverty.

Planeterra partners with Dqae Qare San Lodge to assist them with upgrades to their site and accommodation. Funds are used to improve facilities and connect the lodge with a steady stream of travelers from G Adventures. The tourism income ensures a regular revenue for the camping grounds.

2. Reef Ecologic – Whitsundays, Australia

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The Whitsundays is just right on the corner of the Great Barrier Reef in Australia

The Whitsundays Islands is made up of 74 continental islands off the coast of Queensland, Australia. People from all over travel head here to see some of world’s finest white sands beaches and barrier reefs. However, a tropical cyclone swept through the Whitsundays region in 2017, decimating terrestrial and marine ecosystems. Along with the environmental and economic impacts, the ecosystem began to collapse because of damage done to the coral reefs. The lack of coral reefs affects marine life and leads to the disappearance of fish, sharks and sea turtles.

In a collaboration with Reef Ecologic, Planeterra integrated reef restoration programs into tourism experiences in the Whitsundays. With the sponsorship of a new coral garden, Reef Ecologic secured funding for monitoring efforts for the coral garden through tourism. When booking a trip to Whitsundays, Australia, travelers engage in various materials to learn about marine rehabilitation. They also physically help in reef recovery and integrate tourism with the community.

3. Soa Zara – Ranohira, Madagascar

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Approximately 22% of Madagascar is forest

Located off the east coast of Africa, Madagascar is the world’s fifth-largest island. It has some of the world’s largest coral reef systems and mangrove areas. In addition, it is home to an abundance of plants and animals found nowhere else on earth. However, Madagascar has lost 90% of its original forests because of destruction caused by humans. Deforestation is a major issue that has spurred from agriculture and fuel usage.

L’Association Soa Zara has planted over 10,000 trees, and Planeterra worked with them to create a tree planting activity for travelers staying at the ITC Lodge nearby.

Learn how trees sustain our planet in this book

Planeterra further supports the local organization’s efforts through community outreach programs. Soa Zara helps create washbasin stations and a water filtration system. As a result, they bridge the protection of the environment with economic development for the local people. Travelers stay at the nearby ITC Lodge and have hands-on experience with planting their own trees next to the Isalo National park. In addition, travelers learn about the reforestation project and discover ways their trip can support the renewal of habitats.

4. Libaran Island – Borneo, Malaysia

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At Libaran Island, the best time to watch turtles is between July and September

On the northeast coast of Sandakan in Malaysia, there is Libaran Island. There, you will find long beaches and crystal blue water. With its beautiful sunsets, it is also called the “Turtle Island”. Libaran Island has two species of turtles – Green Turtles and Hawksbill turtles. The remote island has little economic opportunity, but the importance of the island as an endangered sea turtle nesting site also ties into the local people having the ability to earn an income on their island. 

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The Planeterra Foundation provided a grant to fund the necessary training for Libaran villagers to make souvenirs from ocean plastic waste. Local plants are weaved and local snacks are cooked to create new tourism activities while having a new way to earn income. Travelers have more opportunities to learn about the community, observe traditional craftsmanship and enjoy the local cuisine. The project helps locals increase their capability to earn an income from sustainable tourism opportunities on the island.

5. Mesilou Home Stay – Borneo, Malaysia

At Mesilou Atamis Homestay, all travelers can engage in the daily traditions of the locals

The Mesilou Atamis Homestay is “The Highest & Coldest Homestay in Malaysia.” It lies at an altitude of about 1600m above the sea, and temperatures can reach 15 degrees celsius. The cold, highland area once showcased unique and traditional cultural activities to guests, but it had become a home rental service due to the demand from domestic tourism. The community’s goal to share their unique travel became difficult to do as many travelers saw the area only as a place to stay. Since then, a large disconnect between locals and travelers resulted.

From the former CEO of renowned travel guide publisher Lonely Planet, a look at how travel can transform not only the traveler, but also the world.

G Adventure’s Planeterra funds improvement to the homestay operation and created new tourism activities for tourists to enjoy real experiences. As a result, the project provides opportunities for young entrepreneurs returning to their home town and turning their family home into local accommodations. Also, the community can feel that they are able to shine again after years of not having the ability to share their culture with international guests. There, travelers can engage in fishing, farming and cooking with members of the community, while economically aiding through tourism.

~By Virtual Marketing & Communications Intern, Laura Vo. Laura’s a Public Relations Major at Kennesaw State University and has a passion for supporting great causes like Go Eat Give.

The Funniest Travel Stories from the Go Eat Give Team

When you travel, interesting things happen. You may miss your flight, get almost arrested, find yourself communicating through signs, indulge in a whimsical cultural nuance, or forge lifelong friendships with total strangers. In the moment, you may feel anxious, frustrated, or pushed out of your comfort zone. Yet, when you look back and think about those times, you have a good laugh about it. Every travel memory is a learning lesson and a great story worth sharing.

While our team is working virtually during summer 2020, we decided to share our funniest travel stories with our readers. We hope that in sharing ours’ you may be reminded of your own humorous travel moments.

Melissa Ting: Always Do your Research

Melissa Ting in front of Notre Dame in Paris, France
Melissa on her anniversary trip to Paris

I always research restaurants before I travel to make sure I’m getting the best representation of a country’s food. On this particular vacation to Paris however, I may have fallen a bit short… 

It was my first time in Paris, France, and as it is a place known for its marvelous food, I knew I wanted to do something absolutely amazing to celebrate my boyfriend and my anniversary of being together for 3 years. In conducting my initial research, I discovered that Chef Cyril Lignac had a 1 Michelin star restaurant, and I just had to try it! 

I had done my research and had even made my reservations several months out; and before I knew it, we were finally in Paris. I thought I had done everything right. On the day of, however, I was on the restaurant’s website, drooling over the photos of the foods we were going to later experience, when I happened to stumble upon the menu…and the price. I was flabbergasted! I quickly converted the Euros into USD, hoping that somehow the value of a Euro had dropped and my USD was worth a lot more. It wasn’t. I debated whether to tell my boyfriend but figured it was better to let him know before we made a scene in the restaurant. When I told him, he was in shock. Lucky for me, we decided to go anyway. 

This quaint little restaurant had the most exquisite food I had ever had in my life. We had a 7-course meal with white asparagus, scallops, lobster, steak, and adorable little desserts. When the bill finally came, we had been subdued by the incredible food and the 4+ hours of impeccable service. It’s a night that we (mostly me) still laugh about to this day! 

Lesson Learned: Research beyond the pretty food pictures and definitely confirm the price in your own currency before booking a restaurant.

Laura Vo: Beware of the….Bucket? 

Laura Vo on a travel trip
Laura Vo on a vacation

I was around four-years-old when I first traveled to Vietnam. Being a Vietnamese American, I was in tune with much of our customs and culture. However, it wasn’t until I went for the first time that I genuinely was culture-shocked. It was mid-day when it was time for me to take a bath. 

Being only four, you’d think my parents or someone would supervise a child during this time, but everyone thought that I’d be okay on my own. So I walked in, ready to wash, only to come face to face with two buckets. One was small and filled with water, and the other was large enough for a person to stand in.

At first, I was confused about what I needed to do, but I decided to sit in the larger bucket for a few minutes. I don’t know when the thought hit me, but I realized that the water from the smaller bucket needed to go into the one I was sitting in, so I began dumping all the water into it. I also found a soap that I could use and proceeded to squirt as much of it as possible into the water I was sitting in. This resulted in a slippery, bubble bath concoction.

As the bucket was quite deep and everything was wet and slippery, I couldn’t get myself out and could only sit there screaming in sadness. I was in there for about 30 minutes when my mom finally came in to check on me. I remember her being so shocked to see the makeshift miniature pool and me hysterically crying. With my mom’s help, I was freed and cleaned off. For the rest of my stay, however, I was told that I was extremely terrified of buckets.

Lesson Learned: Don’t underestimate the bucket… or unexpected cultural norms.

Jordan Dunn: The Brig Is Real  

Jordan Dunn on a Caribbean Cruise to St. Thomas
Jordan Dunn on a Caribbean Cruise

I am no stranger to cruise travels. Starting with my first cruise at the age of eight, my memories of these trips are endless. I will never forget however, the day I learned that the brig is real. 

At fourteen, no one could have convinced me otherwise that I was not, in fact, invincible. With that mindset in tow, it never once crossed my mind that I should have checked in with my grandparents, or even my older sister about where I was venturing off to.

In my defense, I had simply made a new friend, a girl my age from England and we had spent the late afternoon and evening hanging out, exploring the boat, and talking about our respective cultures. Having always encouraged me to learn about new cultures, I thought my grandparents would be so happy to hear about how I had spent my time.

Never did I expect to hear “Jordan, please come to the main desk on deck 5” come blaring over the loudspeaker! I was mortified but of course, and made my way to the front desk, where I was met by – none other than my anxious grandparents and a terrifyingly stern cruise ship security officer. Expecting to speak my case and be scolded but lovingly embraced for my safe return, I was taken aback by what happened next. The security man said that if I did it again, I would be sent to the brig! My fourteen-year-old self didn’t even know what the brig was, so needless to say I was scared straight. 

To this day I have no clue if that security man meant what he said, or if it was just a scare tactic, but it can be said for certain that I never again wandered off on a cruise… 

Lesson Learned: 14-year-olds do not, in fact, know it all, and cruise security means business.

Sucheta Rawal: All’s Well That Ends Well

Travel Stories from Sucheta and Dipak in Santorini, Greece
Sucheta and Dipak in Santorini, Greece

A long time ago, my husband and I traveled to Greece. We rented a car in Athens, Santorini, Mykonos, and Crete, exploring the little villages and getting a flavor for authentic Greek life. This was back in the days before GPS and smartphones. We didn’t speak Greek and only had a physical paper map to guide us through the complicated streets.

After our road trip around Athens, we were supposed to head to the port to sleep on an overnight ferry from Athens to Crete. I had everything printed out – direction to the port, car rental papers, cabin reservations, etc. Even with all my preparation, we just couldn’t find the port! We drove for hours and hours, until all the streets started looking the same. Finally, we asked a taxi driver to lead us to the ferry port. We followed him in our rental car and found the port that was only a few minutes away. We had been so close! In our minds, we had fortunately planned enough time to get lost and still make our departure time.

However, just as we got to the docks, the ship was pulling away. Based on my calculations, we still had hours before the ferry was supposed to leave. I pulled out my printed reservation which read as “Departure 19:00.” Somehow my brain misread the military time and converted the actual 7pm departure time to 9pm!  

Since we still needed to get to the next island, we found the cheapest hotel nearby and booked the first flight out the next day for a quick flight to Crete.

Everything went smoothly. Instead of a 9- hour ride on a ferry, our flight took less than 1 hour. The hotel we had booked in Crete was walking distance from the ferry port (as per the original plan) and had a nice view of the Mediterranean. Just as we settled into the room and looked out the window, we saw our ship just pulling in. We had a good laugh at our own blunders and misadventures. At least we were right on schedule!

Lesson Learned: Know how to read Standard time vs Military Time, and just because the original plan didn’t work doesn’t mean everything is ruined.

For more unexpected adventures, read about driving into Mexico…by accident!

~By Jordan Dunn, Marketing and Communications Intern at Go Eat Give. Jordan is a Public Relations and Communications Marketing Major at Siena College in Upstate NY. She has a passion for writing, traveling, and advocacy. Follow her on Facebook and Blog for more about her personal travel stories.

What You Need To Know to Travel Sustainably and Meaningfully

More than Just Memorable

Painting a Rural Community Church in Jamaica
Painting a Rural Community Church in Jamaica

The more I travel, the more I find myself seeking meaningful, not simply memorable, travel experiences. This desire has taken me down the path of researching how to travel sustainably, considering the footprint that I have left on past trips, and even partaking in immersion travels where the focus is on cultural awareness and international relations.

I know first hand that this kind of travel can take a lot of time and effort to plan out, so let’s talk about some of the easy ways you can start traveling sustainably today.

Keywords of Sustainable Travel

In recent years, many keywords have emerged in regard to sustainable travel. These words include – Green Travel, Social Responsibility, and Environmental Consciousness. 

While figuring out the nuances of each term can be a bit tricky, it is important to know that they all promote the same thing – that is traveling with footprints and impact in mind.

Decide What it All Means to You

Impact Travel Alliance Mission for Sustainable travel changes
Impact Travel Alliance’s Mission for Change

Kelly Campbell, co-founder and executive director of The Village Experience, an organization we partner with, says “Green/Sustainable travel is traveling in a manner that respects and takes into consideration the local community, wildlife, and the environment.” Her company organizes tours to Kenya, India, Guatemala and other countries, that also combines giving back to the local communities.

Meghan Aftosmis, SR PR and Media Network Lead at Impact Travel Alliance, states that green travel and sustainable travel are not interchangeable concepts. Green travel connotes that it’s solely focused on environmental conservation, whereas sustainable tourism has a much broader perspective and meaning. The keys to sustainable travel are that a destination’s local people, culture, economy, and environment – are all benefited by tourism in that place. Even beyond the travel industry, businesses often describe this as a triple-bottom-line: people, planet, profit.

With this in mind, think about your own travels and decide what sustainable traveling means to you. Ask yourself how you will integrate more best practices on your next trip?

Do Your Research and Choose What’s Right

Traveling sustainably with the Village Experience on a Kenyan Safari
Sunset on a Kenyan Safari with The Village Experience

With sustainable travel, as with any kind of travel, it is important that you do your homework before you go. Doing so will ensure that you not only choose the right destination, but that you also engage with the right kind of organizations and travel companies when you get there. To get an even better understanding of the destinations practicing sustainability, check out Go Eat Give’s recommended travel destinations and blog here.

One place to start your research is to look for travel companies that have direct partnerships with locally owned hotels, restaurants, excursion tours, and shops. Choosing entities like these, over large commercial tourism companies, helps to confirm that tourism dollars stay local. This also helps the community stay economically stable and that the culture of that destination stays intact.

Prepare For the Trip

Traveling Sustainably Starts with Packing Sustainably

If you are like me, you have a stash of basic travel products that you bring on every trip. In the past couple of years, I have personally added a reusable water bottle, snap and go snack containers, a cotton wrap sheet (to be used as a beach sheet, picnic blanket, or poolside cover-up), and a packable travel towel – to my ever-growing expanse of sustainable travel gear! Each item has saved me so much time and effort while I’m jetting off from place to place. It has also cut down on the waste that I have left behind.

These Hydro Cell Stainless Steel Water Bottles keep liquids hot or cold and come in a variety of fun colors. 

Take the time to purchase a few sustainable travel products that you can reuse on all your trips. Keeping these items on hand can go a long way in saving you money, while reducing the footprint you leave behind.

Engage With The Local Community

Immersion Trip to a Guatemalan Elementary School
Immersion Trip to Guatemalan Elementary School

In addition, it is important to continue giving back to the destination you visit every time you travel. By partnering with local charities and social enterprises that have sustainable visions and missions, you’ll leave a positive footprint behind. There are many easy ways to integrate this into your next trip, no matter where you choose to go. When you travel again, consider shopping at fair trade stores, taking eco tours, joining cooking classes led by locals, and eating at locally-owned restaurants

Another way to take this a step further is by donating your time. Many local organizations offer opportunities to volunteer for a few hours to a few weeks, bring much-needed supplies, or donate any special skills you may have. It is best to find out from the local organization what assistance they need. Go only with reputable nonprofits that ensure that no one is taken advantage of in the process.

Also, some of the activities Go Eat Give volunteers have done in the past include teaching English to businessmen and women in Spain, farming on a cooperative farm in Cuba, giving lessons on health and sanitation in Indonesia, and organizing life skills classes for women in India. Anything that involves touching wildlife is typically a No Go!

Start the Connection at Home

Even when you are not traveling, you can continue to learn about sustainable and meaningful travel while at home. Doing so will ensure that you have the right mindset before you take off on your next adventure.

The nonprofit travel organization, Impact Travel Alliance offers a series of virtual events that introduce travelers to a sustainable mindset. These are educational, offering facts and perspective from travel industry members from around the world. All events are free, but donations directly support their travel partners.

If you are ready to start planning your vacation, with sustainability in mind, of course, The Village Experience is offering $100 off any 2021 trip listed on their website. Make sure to mention this post when you book!

~By Jordan Dunn, Marketing and Communications Intern at Go Eat Give. Jordan is a Public Relations and Communications Marketing Major at Siena College in Upstate NY. She has a passion for writing, traveling, and advocacy. Follow her on Facebook and Blog about her personal travels.

SharedKey: Property Sharing Just Got Easier!

Are you in need of a weekend getaway but tired of arguing who gets to use the family cabin? Do you co-own a family rental, and you’re getting calls asking about which plumber to use, who booked the location for next month, or if there’s enough toilet paper? Luckily, SharedKey makes the nitty-gritty aspects of homeownership simpler to manage. While helping families in over 30 countries, this unique application takes the stress out of sharing a property.

“SharedKey has been developed as a private and secure solution for the millions of vacation property owners around the world. For owners of rental and home exchange properties, SharedKey is a great way to share all of the logistics, instructions and other details after a booking has been made.The result is an easy, positive and rich experience for all users,” says Mattea Spradling, Account Executive at Everything Branding

What Is SharedKey?

Anyone can try out SharedKey with a 30-day free trial

Chris and Eric Thrall vacationed at their grandparents’ log cabin in the Canadian Rockies for decades. As their families grew larger and the cabin became a shared property, scheduling and maintenance conflicts began to come up. With only virtual calendars as an option, the Thrall brothers created SharedKey

SharedKey is a centralized online system that provides a communication hub for co-owners. In addition, owners can post house rules, a schedule of occupants, a notice board for supplies and even recommendations for things to do in the area. By keeping everyone on track with lots of details, SharedKey promotes greater harmony between owners and family members. Also, sharing property among family, friends and guests is now simple and easy.

Make sure to get yourself a sturdy doormat as family members and guests enter your home!

How Do You Use SharedKey?

SharedKey promotes family harmony and fun vacations

With a 30-day free trial, SharedKey offers a $49 pricing plan for one property with unlimited members and guests. Anyone can sign up on the website link or download the mobile app for complete access while on the go. On the platform, users post reminders for maintenance work, cleaning requirements, and create an information book for any important contacts or emergency services. Also, users have access to their personal booking calendar, which helps avoid scheduling conflicts and manage event planning. In addition, SharedKey can even help you be the perfect host by providing customized directions, a personalized welcome message, a list of activities to enjoy in the area and a virtual guest book for visitors to sign.

Why You Should Use SharedKey

SharedKey helps take the stress out of co-managing a residence or planning a vacation at a family rental. The application is also useful for managing your own home and for times when you’re hosting a get-together. In addition, when signing up for SharedKey property information is only open to owners and their selected guests. Also, the program uses SSL certification to ensure an encrypted connection for each time you log in or record personal data, which makes SharedKey a secure system to use among friends and family. 

SharedKey can reinforce sanitation rules and correlate booking times to maintain adequate social distancing, which also helps keep COVID-19 regulations in mind. So try out this unique application for your next family vacation or trip. It makes communication much more efficient and easy to do.

~By Virtual Marketing & Communications Intern, Laura Vo. Laura’s a Public Relations Major at Kennesaw State University and has a passion for supporting great causes like Go Eat Give.

Best Travel Books of 2020 That You Need To Read

With several countries still closed and vacation plans coming to a halt, the need to travel is at an all-time high. If you are looking through old travel pictures, feeling nostalgic about places, or still trying to plan a trip for the near future, you’ll definitely get the travel blues. The pandemic has everyone on the edge of their seats, and eager to book the next flight out of town. However, who says you can’t scratch that travel itch while in lockdown?

Books are a fantastic medium to introduce yourself to new worlds, cultures and people, all from the comfort of your own home. Even if you’re not an avid reader, lounging on your patio, book in hand, while sipping a refreshing drink, is a great way to unwind or easily expand your knowledge. With the pages transporting you to a new world and life, this pastime takes your mind off of any current worries you may have.

Specifically, travel books take our imagination on endless miles that’s just as transformative as a physical journey. While self-quarantining, pick up a travel book to transport yourself to unbelievable locations, or simply cradle your wanderlust and be inspired. By the time traveling is safe again, you’ll have ideas for your next hike, drive, or even bike!

Here are a few travel books I recommend for the summer of 2020…

Hidden Places: An Inspired Traveller’s Guide by Sarah Baxter

Hidden Places: An Inspired Traveller’s Guide by Sarah Baxter. Illustrated by Amy Grimes.

Hole-in-the-wall places can be as unique and fun as going to the Eiffel Tower or the Taj Mahal. Author Sara Baxter is a travel journalist who wrote for Wanderlust Travel Magazine and The Telegraph. From her travel experiences, she compiled a list of the world’s most beautiful and unknown destinations for people to discover. From ancient gateways to underwater monuments, Hidden Places instantly transports its readers to cities with meaningful stories. The Black Forest in Germany, the Turban Oasis in China and the Kaisertal Valley in Austria are a few examples.

From the USA to Ethiopia, 25 countries are illustrated through colorful pages and descriptive details. For your next awe-inspiring view or moments that’ll take your breath away, check out this travel book.

Love with a Chance of Drowning by Torre DeRoche

travel book
Love with a Chance of Drowning by Torre DeRoche

This charming memoir tells the story of an Australian woman with a great fear of the ocean. But one day, the man of her dreams decides to voyage across the globe on his small boat. To save her relationship and conquer her fear, she takes the plunge and sails across the Pacific for one year. While traveling, they encounter tropical landscapes, welcoming natives and have thrilling adventures. 

Love with a Chance of Drowning is an irresistibly, funny tale about the risk and rewards of living and the need to get out of one’s comfort zone. It’s a great read for someone wanting to overcome their travel fears!

The Only Gaijin in the Village by Iain Maloney

travel book
The Only Gaijin in the Village by Iain Maloney

In 2016, Iain Maloney moved to a rural village in Japan. Maloney, who is a native Scot and now a foreigner or “gaijin” in a small Japanese village, talks about his experiences of trying to fit in and finding acceptance in the Gifu Prefecture. He learns the language, attempts farming, and even grows his own garden, while under the guidance of his neighbors. 

As a travel book, The Only Gaijin in the Village enlightens the readers with aspects of Japanese tradition, history, language and politics that were never highlighted before. It also asks the question, “what truly makes a home?” With his sarcastic humor and unique personality, Maloney describes a side of Japan that is rarely seen and speaks about the positive benefits of immigration.

The Snow Gypsy by Lindsay Jayne Ashford

travel book
The Snow Gypsy by Lindsay Jane Ashford

This novel narrates a story of two women. One searches for her missing brother, while the other hides from the truth of her past. Though both characters seem completely different, fate draws them together and takes them on a journey from London to Spain.

This novel dives deeper into the wildlands of the Camargue to the highest peaks of Spain’s ancient mountains, as both women discover a new understanding of themselves. The Snow Gypsy also plays out relationships among the British, Gypsies, and Spanish, making this travel book thrilling and informative.

Time of Birds: Reflections on Cycling Across Europe by Helen Moat

A Time of Birds by Helen Moat

Leaving her day job, Helen Moat and her teenage son set out to cycle across Europe in the new novel. While this is a story about familial relationships, A Time of Birds also touches on topics of forgiveness, understanding and self-discovery. As Helen and her son pedal through Europe’s great forest and waterways, they make new friends and find a sense of belonging in unexpected places.

This travel book narrates the importance of going to new places, meeting new people and enjoying the little moments along the way. It is a must-read for those wanting a meaningful journey and for keen cyclists!

A Month in Siena by Hisham Matar

A Month in Siena by Hisham Matar

If you’re still nostalgic of your last trip to Italy, then this book is a must-read. Hisham Matar is a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, who fell in love with Sienese art more than 25 years ago. A Month in Siena depicts the relationship between art and life during Matar’s month-long stay in the Tuscan city.

With beautiful illustrations, the inhabitants and culture come to life through recollections of food, conversations and artwork. For those who love to learn the history of a city and have an in-depth look at the lives of the people in Siena, A Month in Siena is the book for you.

~By Virtual Marketing & Communications Intern, Laura Vo. Laura’s a Public Relations Major at Kennesaw State University and has a passion for supporting great causes like Go Eat Give.

Greetings to Learn From Other Cultures

In America, what’s a common way for a person to greet someone? A usual “Hi! Nice to meet you!” followed by a handshake is what many would think of when asked that question. What started as a Greek symbol of peace has became an everyday action now, but how do you feel about the new elbow bump that’s becoming commonplace with social distancing?

With COVID-19 still a concern, you may be wary of exchanging physical contact. So instead of the usual universal greeting, why not take a look at how other cultures greet each other? Though the handshake has been a long tradition in American life, learning and trying out different new ways to greet people can be a fun, unique experience, while also helping you build stronger bonds with people from various backgrounds. It may even come in handy on your next business or leisure trip!

1. Bow

bow greeting
In Asia, a bow is appropriate for all social settings.
photo courtesy of TripSavvy

In Eastern Asian countries like Japan and Korea, bowing is a common greeting. Though everyone greets by bowing, the meaning of the gesture can take on different forms. It can symbolize respect, sincerity, humility, and remorse, depending on the context of the situation. Increase the emotion behind the greeting by bowing lower than the other person.

For a Japanese bow or “ojigi,” men should have their hands to their sides, while women would place their hands onto their laps. During the bow, make sure to lower your gaze and avoid eye contact. The neck and back should be a straight line. In informal situations, a 15-degree angle bow is acceptable, but during formal situations, a 30-degree angle bow is expected. In Korea, however, numerous bows or “konsu” are practiced. They vary from casual and respectful, to “belly-button” bows. Each gesture has different guidelines to follow for specific settings a person may be in. 

Check out this video for a more in-depth explanation and the difference between the two cultural bows!

Want to try some Japanese snacks? Check out this fun box that comes with an assortment of food items anyone can enjoy!

2. Shaking Fist

I tried out this fun greeting, and it’s super easy! Try it out next time you’re with friends!
Photo courtesy by Mental Floss

This greeting of shaking your own fist in the air is common among the Kanuri tribe in Niger. The Kanuri tribe belongs to the Saharan Branch of the Nilo-Sharan, and its lineage traces back to the medieval Kanem-Bornu Empire. As farmers, fishers and traders, it’s common to encounter the Kanuri people in Southeast Niger. Instead of smiling or waving, shaking fists is a formal greeting!

To correctly do this, raise your hands at eye level and then form them into fists. Then, shake your fists while saying “wooshay!” which translates to “hi!”

3. Wai

For the wei, the higher your hands symbolizes the amount of respect shown.
Photo courtesy by Koh Samui Sunset

The wai, pronounced  “why,” is exclusive to the people of Thailand. The wai complements the Thai word “sawasdee” which means hello. However, it’s recommended to not gesture the wai to people who are younger than you, as age plays a major role in social ranking in Thailand. Instead, give them a nod and smile. Use the greeting to say goodbye, to apologize, and to pay respects to spirit houses, temples or shrines!

To wai, place your palms together with each finger touching its counterpart. With your hands at the center of your chest, bend your neck toward your fingers. As your neck is lowering, rotate your hands to where your index figure will touch your nose. The higher you place your hands, the more respect is conveyed.

4. Tongue Out

greeting
This Tibetan greeting will make kids chuckle.
Photo courtesy of Home Exchange

Across the globe, children often stick their tongues out when making fun of each other. As adults, we refrain from this as it is considered rude. In Tibet, however, it’s quite the opposite, and is actually a formal greeting. The tradition stems from the 9th century during the rule of Tibetan King Lang Darma. Known for his cruelty and black tongue, Darma is an infamous figure in Tibetian history.

Tibetans fear Darma’s incarnation and stick out their tongues as a greeting. If the tongue is not black, they are deemed not guilty of evil deeds, and are not incarnations of the malevolent king. When you visit Tibet, you don’t have to worry about being impolite since the greeting is actually a form of respect!

5. Namaste

namaste greeting
Namaste symbolizes unity and good energy.
Photo courtesy of Stuff

During this time of social distancing, namaste has become the go-to method across the globe for greeting people. The action is a customary, non-contact form of Hindu greeting predominately found in India. The meaning behind the custom is to welcome guests, relatives, or to acknowledge strangers. It expresses courtesy, politeness and gratitude, while also acting as a salutation and valediction. Derived from the Sanskrit language and meaning, “I bow to the divine in you,” namaste is the highest and most respectful greeting in the world!

To say namaste, hold both palms together with forefingers posing upwards. Bring your thumbs close to your chest. Close your eyes as you bow, and say “namaste” loud and clear. For an example of how to correctly observe this greeting, watch this video from Hemalayaa.

~By Virtual Marketing & Communications Intern, Laura Vo. Laura’s a Public Relations Major at Kennesaw State University and has a passion for supporting great causes like Go Eat Give.

Sustainable Father’s Day Gift Guide

Many malls and shops around the world are still closed, but that should not stop you from shopping for the special man in your life. This summer, shop for products online, that will make dad happy and help change the world! Here are some recommendations for Father’s Day gifts that give back to the community...

Vintage leather toilet bag is handmade and ethically sourced.

Toiletry Bag for Zambia $34.95

A 100% authentic Leather Toiletry Bag that comes in a vintage style, is timeless and useful for when dad is ready to travel again. Each wash kit varies in appearance to be as unique as your loved one. All Moonster products are handmade and ethically sourced. With every Moonster product purchased, a percentage of profits are donated to Tehila, a non-profit organization in Zambia that promotes the prevention of child cruelty.

Order the toiletry bag from Amazon and ship it directly to your dad this Father’s Day.

father's day gifts
Help your family and event planner in Florida.

Ultimate Care Package to Combat COVID-19 $48.50

Send dad a thoughtful care package for his Father’s Day gift, which contains all the essentials he needs to stay healthy and safe. PPE Gifts has created care packages of personal protective gear including a large bottle of hand sanitizer, flushable wipes, two pairs of safety glasses, and several pairs of gloves. Event Services Group (ESG) created PPE Gifts after the coronavirus pandemic completely shut down their event business in Florida. It helps keep their employees working, while also donating much-needed supplies to essential workers on the front lines of COVID-19.

Simply order online at PPEGifts.com and they will ship it directly to his door. Use code GOEATGIVE10 to receive 10% off your order.

For every pair purchased, a pair of socks is donated to charity.

Sock Subscription For The Homeless $57

Need to refresh your sock drawer regularly? Forget the boring black-white-brown socks and look at these fashionable designs! With a Society Socks subscription, dads will receive 2 new pairs of bold and expressive patterned socks each month. With every pair of socks purchased, another pair is donated to charity. Society Socks works with several charities to not only donate socks, but to create a positive change through community involvement.

Gift a pair ($6) or a 3-12 month socks subscription.

father's day gift
Demeter Cologne will transport to you to another country!

Nostalgia Inspired Cologne $36

For something unique, check out this travel and place inspired cologne from Demeter Fragrance Library. Through the limited edition Destination Collection, dads can travel to New Zealand’s fresh green outdoors, walk through the meadows of Ireland, or experience the vibrant nightlife of Cuba.

Demeter also sells fragrant hand sanitizers, and donates them back to the community. They have donated over $20,000 worth of their hand sanitizer to first responders in the Selinsgrove, PA area where they produce their line of fragrances.

Map Mug to Save the Trees $18-24

father's day gift
Color your own Trouvaille Global mug.

Dreaming of all the places you will go to? Color these USA or world map mugs to remind dad of the places you have visited together or would like to go in the future. Each set includes a mug along with a special green ceramic pen to color in. Make the ink permanent after baking it! Trouvaille Global sustainably produces the mugs in Europe. One of the charities they support is Tree Aid. Tree Aid prevents deforestation and promotes sustainable development by helping communities plant and protect trees. This helps them make their way out of poverty and protect the environment for now and for future generations.

Buy customizable map mugs on Uncommon Goods.

father's day gift
Leather wallet that keeps giving back!

Wallet for Charity $28

This trendy and company Fair Tribe men’s wallet is embossed with the world map and the phrase “miles to go” onto its sustainable leather. It is made with leather from sacred cows that die of natural causes and vegetable tanning methods, instead of chemicals. Each of their products has a story about the artisan who made it and this one comes from India! 1% of every sale is donated to one of 6 preselected, vetted non-profits of the customers’ choice, and the giving increases to 10% on Black Friday. Choose from charities that provide micro-loans, medical care, food security, environmental and wildlife protections. 

Check out the Fair Trade Artisan shop.

father's day gift
Sydney Duo Nausea Relief Bracelets

Blisslets For Good Health $29+

If your dad suffers from nausea or motion sickness due to flying, riding in the car, cruising, due to medication or even over-indulging during a Zoom happy hour, this is the right Father’s Day gift for him! Fashionable wrist bands called Blisslets discreetly trigger a pressure point on the wrist connected to the area of the brain that regulates feelings of nausea. “We designed Blisslets to be a product people would want to wear: one that worked, felt good, and looked good,” says founder and mom Katie Aparicio.”

Take 10% when you subscribe to My Blisslets newsletter.

father's day gift
Recycled sail cloth carries beverages in style.

Beverage Bags Made of Recycled Sails $75

For a picnic, golf day out, beach getaway or cookout, dad’s will love this gift. Marlin Beverage Bucket Bags from Sea Bags are stylish and durable for any occasion. There is a grommet in the bottom of the bag so the melted ice can drain, while beers, drinks and ice creams remain chilled. The durable bags, totes and accessories from Sea Bags are handmade from recycled sail cloth, in Portland, Maine. Through their unique recycling and upcycling efforts, Sea Bags has helped keep over 700 tons (and counting) of sail cloth material out of landfills. 

Purchase on Sea Bags website.

father's day gift
10% of proceeds from sales of men’s masks go to #HealthyHappyFund

Handmade Masks $10

Masks are not a traditional Father’s Day gift, but an essential to go to work, grocery shopping or the airport! The triple-layered, 100% cotton reusable masks from ChicTweak, New York while also in fashionable prints and colors that men love. 10% from the profit of each purchase goes to a #HealthyHappyFund, which supports the Children’s Village and the International Rescue Committee.

Order your mask for a cause at ChickTweak.

Virtual Tours Across the 7 Continents

Popular destinations across the globe are virtually capturing their highlights, so that people can still travel, even if it’s from the comfort of their own home. Follow us on an adventure across the seven continents, as we journey through some of the must-see places around the world.

Let’s take a (virtual) trip around the world!

North America

Alaska, the Last Frontier. Virtual tours in North America.
Tagish Lake, Alaska

Start at the edge of the globe by taking in the breathtaking sights of America’s infamous Last Frontier, with a virtual vacation by Travel Alaska. Watch the brown bears at Katmai National Park and Preserve, or follow alongside a professional guide as he explores the glaciers at Kenai Fjords National Park.

Continue south and take a journey through the National Parks of the American West. Explore your way through the diverse landscape of Yosemite, the unique water features of Yellowstone, and the great expanse of carved rocksides of the Grand Canyon.

South America

Amazon Rainforest

In South America, begin in Peru with a tour of Machu Picchu. Soak in the ancient culture of the long-ago Incas, and marvel the site’s ability to withstand the test of time. Then, take in the astonishing grandeur of the Amazon Rainforest in Brazil. Finally, finish your South American tour, with an immersive venture into the wilderness of Patagonia, the famous mountain range shared by bordering Argentina and Chile.

If you have little ones, read with them children’s picture book on travel – Beato Goes To Brazil.

Europe

Cliffs of Moher, Ireland. Virtual Tours around the world, Europe.
Cliffs of Moher, Ireland

Start your European journey on the coast of Ireland, and have your breath taken away by the vertical plunge to the sea that sits just past the ridge of the Cliffs of Moher.

Next, travel to the popular city of London, England, and take in the city sights from the top of the London Eye. Or, immerse your self in the history, culture, and heritage that is encompassed by the virtual tour of Buckingham Palace.

Learn about the history of the famous architectural feat, the Colosseum in Rome, Italy. Virtual traveling does not require a lot of stamina, so you can continue on with a virtual walking tour of the entire city of Rome.

Africa

Learn all about the geography, the people, and of course, the animals of this vast continent, with a short informational video from PBS.

Continue on your journey and view Victoria Falls, one of the biggest waterfalls in Africa, from an aerial perspective. Finally, take a virtual Safari compliments of Asilia Africa. You will quickly fall in love with the native elephants, hyenas, lions, and so many other wild animals.

Asia

Asia is a vast continent and it can be intimidating to pick where to start. The good thing about virtual visits is you can explore all the places you want to from your home and for free! That ways you can pick and choose where you want to go in the future.

Take a walk along one of the wonders of the world – the Great Wall of China. This amazing structure boasts a history of over 2,000 years and is over 3,000 miles long!

In Indonesia, walk through temples, rice fields, or even the famous sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary.

Continue on westward and travel to Vietnam to experience the world’s largest cave – Hang Son Doong, located at Nha- Ke Bang National Park. 

Antarctica

Watch penguin colonies up close in Antarctica

Finish your virtual tour around the world on a different edge of the globe – in Antarctica, also known as the 7th continent. To see this snowy landscape, Shackleton 100 has a great interactive map of the whole continent. Additionally, Quark Expeditions has created an online guide for viewers to get to know the animals that inhabit the land. These include but are not limited to Gentoo penguins!

Read about our adventure to Antarctica

Continue the Adventure

If you are looking for more opportunities to see the world from your own home there are numerous avenues to do so. Google, for example, has partnered with entities around the world to create vast galleries of Art and Culture, as well as a unique platform for Heritage Sites that are threatened by climate change. Or if you’re just looking for a day trip, National Geographic has created a gallery of 24 sites, one new place for one new hour of the day.

For even more, check out How to Satisfy Your Wanderlust at Home, here.

~By virtual Marketing and Communications Intern, Jordan Dunn. Jordan is a Public Relations and Communications Marketing Major at Siena College in Upstate NY. She has a passion for writing, traveling, and advocacy.

A Complete Road Trip Guide During COVID-19

Due to the Coronavirus, the closing of numerous states and countries have put a pause in many people’s travel plans. Though it may be a while before the tourism industry takes full flight again, the United States is beginning to ease its quarantine restrictions as states make plans to reopen. That being said, family-friendly, affordable and fun summer getaways can still be enjoyed, while abiding by CDC’s health guidelines. Now is the best time to start planning for practical road trips you and your loved ones can experience, and here are a few tips to keep in mind when preparing for your upcoming road trip.

Heath and safety reminders at Rock City Gardens

Pack An Essentials Bag

An emergency bag is important for every road trip you take, especially during this time. When preparing your kit, remember to gather any over-the-counter medications like Tylenol, Pepto Bismol and Benadryl, so you’re ready to combat any health symptoms you may experience and avoid an impromptu trip to the store. To save money and avoid too many stops, pack granola bars and energy drinks along with other non-perishable foods. 

Your main essentials to pack to help you practice good hygiene and ensure your safety include –  sanitary items such as gloves, wet wipes, at least 60% alcohol-based hand sanitizer, and face masks. Use disposable gloves when pumping gas or entering rest areas. Wear a face mask whenever you leave your car to protect yourself and those around you. Be sure to regularly wipe down surfaces before and after touching them, and you’re ready to go!

The Ultimate PPE Care Package includes all the essentials you need for travel

Get 10% off Ultimate PPE CarePackage with code: GOEATGIVE10. The ready-to-go travel box comes complete with reusable and disposable face masks (including KN95 Face Masks), hand sanitizer, flushable wipes, safety glasses and several pairs of gloves.

The Riverview Inn is tucked away in the historic Lookout Mountain

Stay In Places Where Social Distancing Is Easier

With new regulations in place, several hotels, Like Extended Stay America and Hyatt, have also implemented new policies on how they will maintain social distancing and sanitize their facility. Familiarize yourself with the guidelines provided by the American Hotel & Lodging Association

Before booking a room, call the hotel or visit the website to see what COVID-19 protocols are in place. When checking into your hotel, also ask to decline housekeeping to reduce the number of people entering your room. Try to avoid densely populated locations that are popular “tourist areas,” such as Las Vegas or New York. Also, now may be a good time to stay at a short-term vacation rental, condo, or AirBnB that will limit frequent contact with others. 

Set ground rules for traveling together

Travel With People You Are Quarantined With

Some say that the best part of a road trip is the company they bring along. When planning for your destination, consider who to travel with. It is best to choose people you’ve been in constant contact with or have been self-quarantining with. Such individuals can be family members in the same house, roommates and significant others. 

Try out this fun game that anyone can enjoy while on the road!

Establish social distancing rules that everyone follows before, during and after the road trip. Make sure everyone is on the same page with protecting themselves and potentially exposing others. It’s important to pick people who can earnestly self-quarantine themselves and can guarantee they will not come into contact with others after the trip.

Wash hands after visiting and touching public areas

Disinfect Frequently During The Road Trip

The CDC released a disinfection guide for everyone to follow good hygiene practices for any situation. When making stops for food, gas and resting, bacteria is easily transferred from outside surfaces and to those around you. With your road trip kit packed and ready to go, make it a habit to wipe down the inside of your car and surfaces that you may touch often – such as gas pumps, car door, restroom fixtures, handles, and your phone. Wash hands frequently and avoid touching your face. It’s also a good idea to disinfect your room when checking into your hotel.

Plan ahead and be a smart traveler

Preplan Your Locations and Activities

With several businesses and attractions being closed, there’s a good chance that your typical summer activities are on hold. However, The National Governors Association created a terrific resource to show which states are under stay-at-home orders. For your road trip, prepare for closed theme parks, boardwalks, beaches and parks. Map how many rest stops you may take, and be on the lookout for any toll collection sites that require either cash or card. Also, know which restaurants allow on delivery/carry out, have limited dine-in services, or are reservations only by checking online and calling. It’ll save you the hassle once you hit the road!

~By Virtual Marketing & Communications Intern, Laura Vo. Laura’s a Public Relations Major at Kennesaw State University and has a passion for supporting great causes like Go Eat Give.

Get Your FREE Issue of AllWays Traveller Magazine

If you are looking for travel inspiration and want to start planning your next trip, the first virtual travel issue of the Alliance’s AllWays Traveller’s Journal is out. I’m sure you have lots of websites, emails and magazines enticing you to travel when it is safe to do so.

How to Use Digital Travel Magazines To Plan Your Trip

I personally find it easier to bookmark links, highlight content, and save notes off digital magazines, than printed ones. These often stack up in a corner and I never know where I read about a certain resort in northern Norway I wanted to visit! I keep a notes folder on my Mac, for Travel Research by country or place that I may have read about and may be interested in traveling to. Here I save info and dates about important festivals, sample itineraries, names of restaurants or dishes I want to try, and links to hotels and tour companies. And since the Notes sync digitally, I can add info to each country tab from my phone as I am speaking to a friend and getting recommendations.

Try this yourself. It will save you a lot of time when you are ready to book your trip!

Now Your Free Magazine

As AllWays Traveller is a beautiful consumer travel magazine produced by the International Travel Writers Alliance, that you can download below for free. The overriding aims of the International Travel Writers Alliance are to:

· inspire others to broaden their horizons (not just by traveling)

· encourage diversity, cultural difference and national identity

· champion indigenous populations and local communities

· embrace environmental and sustainability initiatives

The editor, Ann Mealor will be delighted if you could share this issue with your family, friends and colleagues as well.