University of the World

As travelers to other countries, we are not merely buyers of goods, but most importantly students and teachers. Everywhere we go and everyone we meet, has the opportunity to teach us and learn something from us. Even with the anonymity that internet gives us, no transaction is simply monetary. We have the privilege to be learning at the University of the World and have the power to leave an impact on other people’s lives one interaction at a time.

Sometimes do travel on public transport. Have a good look around, smell the odour even if it is not always the nicest of perfumes, and appreciate the people around who cannot communicate but smile, whilst crammed on top of each other

Visit schools and listen to the stories of children who walk for hours in mountain paths to get their education, something we take completely for granted

Try new things, explore foods, plant the rice, try your hand at pottery, at carving, learn how to cook local dishes, learn some new words. All these memories will last a lifetime

Visit countries not for luxury but for experiences. It is in the countries we assume are the poorest that we realise are richest in respect and integrity. It is the people who have the least, but who are most ready to give you all they have​

If you do not have enough time to do a voluntary experience, find at least one good NGO, visit, listen, learn and if possible donate a little in gifts or money to help them on their mission

Sustain local small businesses.  The most treasured thing you buy may be from the local crafts man who does not have sophisticated tools, yet does his work with age old knowledge and passion

Review with integrity the places you visit.  As reviewer, you are providing a service to your fellow travellers and as we all want honesty when reading reviews, so should we review fairly the places we visit

Give visibility on the internet to noble causes and praise sustainable initiatives.  Help them get more business so that they can continue to do good

Don’t stress too much on the odd dirty sheet or the wilted flower on the restaurant table. Positivity makes every ordeal bearable, and turns mishaps to great stories. But, if things turn too tough to handle, remember that there is always help available. 

Open the door to the next person coming into the building, listen to people's stories, move aside for the guy rushing to get to the office on time, reach out to the lady who is struggling to get the push chair up those subway stairs, smile as you give money to the homeless guy. Kindness costs nothing but has a lasting impact

Don’t miss out on sunsets, take the time to smell the roses, don’t rush through places just to tick them off the bucket list

Here are a few things we encourage everyone to try out:

Travel is an empowering agent, it changes our perspective, teaches us and gives us meaningful lives.  As the saying goes, “With great power comes great responsibility”.  Travel is also an opportunity for us to give back, to make a difference to the people we meet and to impact economies and lively hoods.  Thus let’s do everything within our power to build better societies and leave a positive impact on people, one interaction at a time.

© Corinne and Noel Fenech 2019

Shots and Tales - Enabling Independent and Responsible Travel

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