It’s been our collective experience at Trip of a Lifetime that people are profoundly moved by travel experiences. This philosophy is the bedrock of our organization. It seems universal that people are most animated when describing their travels, and how they were changed by the funny, deep and unexpected things they encountered. Once it happens to someone it’s a lifelong adventure, but tales of our travels when young often resonate the most.
There is immense social value in these stories, and that’s a conversation worth hosting. To accomplish this, Trip of a Lifetime is introducing our new social media campaign, #travelchangesyou. We’re inviting alumni, staff, supporters and kindred spirits to share their favorite youth travel stories with us. In about 250 words, tell us about your own most cherished travel experience and how it affected you. If you’d like to send us a photo we’ll put it with your prose. These adventures will appear on the Trip of a Lifetime website, and we’ll post them to our social media streams too.
Help Trip of a Lifetime show the world that travel changes you. Please send your 250-word story (and photo if you have one) to email@example.com. Visit us at www.projecttoal.org to find information about our 2014 applicants and their upcoming travels. You can also like us at www.facebook.com/projecttoal, read our blog at Tumblr, and check us out on Twitter. Our students, staff and friends look forward to hearing your personal favorite travel story.
For their fascinating new book, Travel and Imagination, editors Garth Lean, Russell Staiff and Emma Waterton (University of Western Sydney, Australia) have collected stories of physical and mental travel, and studied how both shape consciousness.
Part of an eight-year longitudinal study, their work actually began in 2005 as The Transformative Travel Project, which “…sought to explore transformation through travel as a socio-cultural phenomenon [and] investigated the influence of physical travel upon changes of knowledge, attitudes, values and behaviours that might be related to sustainability ideals.”
What’s interesting to us is how the book’s in-depth examination of the impact of travel on the imagination (and vice versa) resonates with our beliefs at Trip of a Lifetime. Their scholarly and engrossing work documents how leaving the familiar for the unknown reorders awareness and perception. Travelers never come away unchanged, the authors say, and those changes bring forth new minds.
“When an individual embarks upon a journey they do so in possession of a unique subjectivity informed by a multitude of experiences leading up to that particular moment in time. They usually, though not always, depart from a ‘home environment’ in which they have been travelling in various ways (physically, virtually, communicatively, imaginatively) from birth, albeit to varying degrees (lean 2012a). As such, each individual traveller carries with them a quite unique experiential baggage, which can spark, inform and limit their imaginings in innumerable and unpredictable ways.” – Reimagining Travel and Imagination
Don’t be ashamed. We know all of you have taken a travel selfie (a picture of you taken by you) somewhere. Maybe it was on the beach at sunrise, next to a famous monument while on vacation, or even at a favorite spot in the city. Instead of these pictures being erased for good after just a few seconds on sites like Snapchat, we want to put these memories to good use. During the month of April, we will be using your travel selfies to inspire students to travel.
For every person that uploads a travel selfie between now and April 15th, one of our generous supporters will donate $1 in your name towards funding our student trip packages. All you need to do is upload the picture to our Facebook Page or use the #travelselfie hashtag on Twitter or Instagram. If you don’t have a Facebook, that’s fine too. Simply email your picture to us and we’ll include it in the final count.
Your participation is critical as your pictures ensure our students this summer have the best possible experience on their trips. The more money we raise from this campaign, the more items we can include in our trip packages for accepted students. In years past, we have given students water bottles, backpacks, and even luggage locks. And if you feel inspired by the pictures you see, you can make an additional donation here. Even $5 goes a long way towards changing a student’s life through travel.
Recall your earliest travel experiences. They may have been in the car with your parents, or perhaps a train. Maybe you were only going only from one town to the next, or from the city to the country. Remember how it felt? There was a difference about the light and landscape. People you encountered “there” – store clerks and strangers – hinted at another world, similar but not the same. There was variation and newness. You made discoveries. It was an adventure. Chances are that even such unremarkable trips, taken as a child, made a lasting impression.
That’s because travel changes you.
Mark Twain said, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.” We completely agree. Our staff has benefitted from the instructive nature of travel in our own lives. Now we work to share it. Our organization has been raising money to send deserving high school students on enriching summer adventures since 2007.
“Trip of a Lifetime believes that every student, regardless of race, income, or gender, should be given an opportunity to travel,” says our founder, Stan Rosenberg. “We hope they come back with experiences and insights that change their outlook and get them on the path to college, and to doing other great things with their lives.”
In summer 2014, we’ll send 10 to 15 students on two- to four-week trips that take in the awe-inspiring Grand Canyon, the urban charm of San Francisco, the painted desert of Sedona, Arizona, the majesty of Mount Rushmore, with stops along the way. For older students, trips will include a community service aspect, exposing growing minds to greater responsibilities. We think it’s an enlightening way for young citizens to discover America. We hope you’ll stay tuned as we narrate their trip of a lifetime. It might just become yours as well.
Last week, I was in Israel for a community service project so it’s been a little while since I wrote my weekly reflection. Hopefully this one is worth the wait!
After countless hours of emailing schools, visiting students, and processing applications, the time we’ve all been waiting for has finally arrived. This week marks the start of our application reading period!
Every page tells a story and this is nowhere more evident than in our student’s applications. As we travel from page to page, we are brought along for a journey into that student’s life. Students reveal their role models, display their passion for community service, and even crack some jokes throughout their applications. If you had only a few paragraphs to write about yourself what would you include? It’s no easy feat to write about yourself, especially when a potential “trip of a lifetime” is at stake.
This year, we received a record number of applications, 68% more from last year. Our applicants are more female than male, are more likely to be current 9th or 11th grade students, and span over 25 schools. We even received applications this year from 12 schools we’ve never worked with until this summer, showing the ever growing need for schools to enrich their student’s academic education with extracurricular activities.
Stay tuned to our blog as we post more behind the scenes content from our selection process!
Until next time