Philanthropic Travel and the Empty Nest

Did you know that the average age of an adventure traveler is not a twenty-something year old male, but rather a 47-year-old female? According to the Adventure Travel Trade Association, fifty-two percent of adventure travelers are women and those numbers are rising rapidly.

Helping Hands
Diverse group of people holding hands in a circle

As women become more powerful in the workforce, they are also finding themselves interested in compelling philanthropic travel adventures around the globe that help improve the lives of others.

Beth, a social worker for 20 years with two children in college, found herself wanting more out of her life. Over the years Beth and her family went on modest vacations that she always enjoyed. With all the members of her immediate circle healthy and going about their lives without any major problems, at first Beth could not identify what was missing for her. Good marriage, good kids, good job – not perfect – but “good enough” as we psychologists often refer to it. Yet Beth still found something lacking in her world. Turns out, she was in the throes of an important life transition. Her nest now empty, Beth took the time to consider more deeply what she needed to do in this next phase of her life.

Initially Beth questioned her marriage and work situation. After some detailed discussions and a considerable amount of introspection, she realized that these aspects of her life were not the issue. Beth realized that she needed to tap into an inner passion that had long been on hold since raising her children.

Beth decided to research travel opportunities during school breaks. Her husband, an executive in a pharmaceutical company, was deeply engaged in his work and could not get away during this time. Layoffs in his company had been rampant and he needed to maintain a presence.

Ultimately Beth planned her time off not just for the sake of “aimless travel” as she referred to it, but to turn her travel experience into a philanthropic opportunity. She investigated numerous organizations that offered “…socially-conscious travel…committed to helping individuals and small groups create meaningful life experiences through Travel Philanthropy in some of the world’s most inspiring destinations…[and] committed to leaving a positive footprint in each region-helping to preserve the past and enrich the future.”

In the end Beth made her first philanthropic travel experience within the United States. She spent a week in early March working with Habitat for Humanity in New Orleans. During that time she hammered away with other volunteers and witnessed a house taking shape. She built friendships with people from around the country, who all came together to make a difference. Beth found the experience exhilarating and profoundly enriching. She is already looking into her next philanthropic travel adventure.

“It’s what each of us sows, and how, that gives to us character and prestige. Seeds of kindness, goodwill, and human understanding, planted in fertile soil, spring up into deathless friendships, big deeds of worth, and a memory that will not soon fade…”
~George Matthew Adams

Beth discovered how she could successfully combine her love of travel with adventure, philanthropy and surprising connections. She says this is the first step towards her personal transformation.

If you took a similar trip, where would you go and what would you want to do?


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