Pre-Pandemic we gathered as a community to hear transformative travel stories from our esteemed guests, connect with like-minded travelers and build excitement for future adventures.

We will gather again, very soon. 

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To celebrate Earth Day this year, we wanted to shine light upon the importance of this movement. 51 years ago the first Earth Day took place. 20 million people took to streets across the US to stand up for our planet. Earth Day is the world’s most widely observed secular holiday. This year’s theme, “Restore Our Earth,” encourages optimistic outlooks on our ability to incite real, positive change. After a year burdened with a pandemic and climate consequences, from wildfires to hurricanes to record temperatures, restoring the planet - our planet - is all the more vital. It focuses on steps such as implementing green technologies, sustainable practices, and helping communities that climate change affects the most in order to slow the process of climate change.


Earlier this year, I listened to a podcast interview during which the guest argued that a single person choosing to recycle or reduce carbon emissions has virtually no effect. This upset me; of course one person isn’t going to save the world. It’s when the small actions of every person accumulate that cause real change. Teamwork! Everyone learned about the importance of teamwork on their first day of school. It’s Team Human now, and ALL of us are on it. We’re not here to list devastating data about climate change or make you feel guilty; we merely want to make you believe that yes, you CAN make a difference. We challenge you to be a good teammate and do what you can to give back to this beautiful Earth we live on. Because every little thing matters.


By now you might be asking yourself: what can I do? Perhaps you already consider yourself an environmental whizz, but no matter where you may lie on the spectrum, growth is always possible. If you’re hoping to adopt better habits, here are some great resources:

  1. Leave No Trace: An international education and nonprofit organization, LNT amplifies the movement to practice Leave No Trace when visiting the outdoors. We are excited to announce our new partnership with Leave No Trace! Head to the About Page to learn more.

  2. EARTHDAY.ORG: Today, EARTHDAY.ORG is holding a global climate summit, one part of a three-day virtual climate event. Check out this site for information on live-streamed events and how to get involved.

  3. Kind Traveler: It is no secret that Kind Traveler is a brand we greatly respect. A socially conscious hotel booking platform, they support sustainable travel by allowing people to make a tangible impact on the places they visit.

  4. 7 Tips to Travel More Sustainably: This article is one I personally love - it condenses seven of the most effective (and easy) ways to travel with an environmentally friendly mindset.

  5. Ben and Jerry’s: Hear from the ice cream virtuosos about “5 Reasons Why 2021 is the Most Important Year Ever in the Fight Against Climate Change.” I highly recommend taking a few minutes to read and share this eye-opening article!

Let today serve as a reminder and source of motivation to take the little steps - and big ones - to protect our Earth. Because even if you don’t notice immediate shifts, you will in the long run. It’s past time that we, as individuals and as humankind, recognize the severity of this planet’s condition and vow to each do our part on Team Human. The first step is shifting our mindsets to ones of optimism, so on this Earth Day 2021, we challenge you to do just that.


I am honored to be part of the Travel With Meaning community, but I am even more honored to be part of the TWM community of female travelers. Being a female and an explorer are core parts of my identity. They provide an avenue to connect with similar individuals and learn what it means to be a female traveler. Encouraging and inspiring me to travel deeper and better.

To celebrate Women’s History Month, I wanted to express my thoughts and champion several incredible women. Below are three female travelers from decades past and three female travelers we are lucky enough to have had as guests on the podcast. Their inspiring journeys transcend time and, hopefully, will encourage you to channel your inner explorer.

  1. Annie Londonderry (1870-1947)*: Just after learning to ride a bicycle, Londonderry set off for an adventure and became the first woman to bike around the world in 1895. She left the comfort of her home for 15 months to raise money she needed to settle a wager. Despite receiving myriad doubts and concerns, Annie’s determination propelled her to success.

  2. Isabella Bird (1831-1904)*: Bird sailed from Australia to Hawaii to Asia, climbing mountains and traveling on horseback to reach her next location. She was the first female Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. Bird documented her journeys by writing books and publishing photos.

  3. Jeanne Baret (1740-1807)*: Baret was the first woman to circumnavigate the globe - but here’s the catch: the entire time she disguised herself as a man. This illustrates how restricting these times were for females that wanted to explore. In fact, the chance only arose because she was the nurse for a man who set off on the journey, but Baret threw herself into this opportunity.

  4. Kinga Phillips: Born and raised in Poland, Phillips’ family introduced her to exploration at a young age. They embarked on road trips, camping excursions, and science adventures. Now Phillips travels the globe to dive, spear fish, surf, sky dive, and more, all while capturing her story with a camera.

  5. Christina Ochoa: A student of marine biology, Ochoa devoted her life to exploring wildlife. She serves on the advisory board of both “Oceana” and “Earth’s Oceans.” She loves being underwater and spends her free time in the ocean or working on wildlife conservation projects.

  6. Laura Grier: Called the “Indiana Jones of Adventure Travel Photography,” Grier has spent over 18 years capturing stories of the world through photojournalism. She began living abroad at a young age and, since then, has acted upon her passion of exploring the world.

What do these women have in common? I first notice the independent and courageous attitudes they embody. Opportunities did not fall into their lap; rather, they sought out chances and capitalized upon them. They bravely broke barriers, becoming the first to accomplish a feat or add a twist. These women exchanged comfort for uncertainty, and with that, the ability to explore themselves and the world. No matter the decade, each woman served as a storyteller with a unique voice who will inspire for years to come.

Having a few years of experience under my belt, I am amazed with the level of passion they demonstrate and aspire to capture that energy myself. To me, traveling as a woman means independence. It means hitting the road with enough confidence and positivity to not look back. Especially after learning about the experiences of Londonderry, Bird, and Baret, it means recognizing that the ability to travel is a gift few women in history have had. Even today, many countries prohibit women from leaving. Keeping this in mind makes me extra grateful for every trip I take.

However, traveling as a female also means being alert at all times and keeping your wits about you. This doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your expedition to the highest degree, though; it only means that it is important to have resources you can rely on, whether that be a home base or contact in the area. If you travel solo, do not be afraid to meet others and sit down for a meal with someone you just met. Solo travel is an adventure I have yet to tackle, but I believe it is a right of passage and hope to do so soon. If this is also on your bucket list, I recommend checking out She’s Wanderful, a group that supports and provides resources for solo female travelers.

Women’s History Month is a great start, but it does not end here. I urge you to celebrate the diverse and powerful group of women in our community 365 days a year. We at TWM are honored to have welcomed such inspiring women into our community of travelers, and we are thrilled to welcome many more that will encourage us all to travel more.

Laura Grier
Kinga Phillips
Christina Ochoa

*https://www.historyhit.com/most-inspiring-female-explorers-of-the-world/


More and more world travelers are starting to understand the impact small travel decisions have on the local community. Jessica Blotter and Sean Krejci are early adopters of the mindset that traveling is an opportunity to positively affect the places we visit. Inspired by this idea, they co-founded Kind Traveler in 2016, which is the “first socially-conscious Give + Get hotel booking and media platform that empowers travelers to positively impact the communities and environment in the destinations they visit.”

Kind Traveler posted a blog on their site, written by Ellie Huizenga, that I found relevant and powerful enough to share here at Travel With Meaning. Titled “5 Global Wellness Experts Share Self-Care Tips for Uncertain Times,” it does just that - emphasizes the importance of self-care and creative ways to achieve that at home. So, for now, I am going to summarize the key points so you can put yourself first!

1) Leisure Excursions - Anne Dimon, President/CEO of Wellness Tourism Association, Denver, CO

Taking the time out of your daily routine to leave the house for a “leisure excursion” is essential for reducing stress. Dimon believes that these excursions and local travel will begin to replace long-distance tourist vacations, as people will “want to avoid crowded tourist attractions in favor of more remote, nature-embraced regions.” But, for now, she recommends daily leisurely breaks, while following local guidelines, of course!


2) At-Home Spas - Mary Bemis, Editorial Director of Insider’s Guide to Spas, Gold Hill, OR


With years of experience in the spa world, Bemis believes that a “spa is a cornerstone of personal health and healing… the best thing you can do is to take good care of yourself - be kind to yourself.” She lists the basic elements of spa therapy and suggests ways to incorporate that at home.


Water: connection with fluid and hydration

Bath, possibly with Epsom salts

Contrast shower (alternating between hot and cold)

Enjoy the scent of a bowl of steaming water with essential oils

Hot tea (chamomile or peppermint)

Touch: promotes fluid movement throughout the body

Massage

Foam roller or tennis ball

Movement: tremendous effect on mood

10 minute walk

Dance!

Food: the “greatest source of real pleasure”

Cooking is a ritual that can open your eyes to new cultures


3) Balance - Joanna Roche, Executive Director of Green Spa Network, Nantucket, MA

Joanna offers six different ways that all contribute to “nurturing good health and wellbeing.”

  • Get a good night’s sleep: Developing a soothing bedtime ritual helps tremendously. You’ve heard it a million times, but it really makes a difference to store your device away from your bed. Other tips include an epsom salt bath, listening to relaxing music, or drinking herbal tea.

  • Meditation Practice: It only takes a few minutes each day to explore meditation. Do it right before you get out of bed to start your day or right after you crawl into bed to close out the day.

  • Movement: Take a walk and “be mindful of your surroundings and focus on your breath.”

  • Nature: Try spending time outdoors barefoot. Just 20 minutes a day induces an interaction with the earth’s negative ions and reduces anxiety and stress.

  • Water: hydrate hydrate hydrate and take care of the Earth’s water sources.

  • Connection: When you may not be able to physically be with a friend or family member, it is especially important to reach out and be there for them. “We all need to feel valued and we can all offer value.”


4) “Self-Care Box” - Abbey Stone, Executive Editor of Well+Good, Brooklyn, NY


Not so shockingly, “there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for self care.” It may take some time to try out different practices, but the key to self-care is practicing what truly makes you feel happy. Abbey has a metaphorical “self-care box” that she turns to at least one a week or when she feels stressed. The beauty is you can fill your box with whatever you want, whether that’s reading or doing yoga or playing music - it’s your choice!


5) Creativity with Food - Felicia Tomasko, Editor in Chief at LA YOGA Magazine, Los Angeles, CA


Felicia has taken this time to “be more carefully conscientious about food. Now this doesn’t necessarily mean just eating organic, but being more thoughtful and creative.” Hit up your local Farmer’s Market or buy produce that is in-season. Try a fun recipe from a country you have always wanted to visit! Or look up ways to use the entire plant, like making pesto with radish leaves, as Felicia did. The possibilities are infinite!

As our communities begin to open up and transition into a more social state, it is all the more important to practice self-care. Change can be overwhelming, so we want to encourage and inspire you to put yourself first!

To hear more about the Kind Traveler story, check out the Travel With Meaning Podcast episode #5 with Jessica Blotter. You can also find their website here: Kind Traveler. For now, comment with what your favorite self-care ritual is!


Written by Garland Horwitz