I’ve never known what it’s like to be skinny.
Even as a child, playing soccer at age 6, I was taller and broader than most of my teammates. By the time I was 12, they called me “Bulldozer” because of my penchant for going through a line of defenders rather than around them. Even when I became a semi-pro dancer at age 15, rehearsing 10-12 hours a week, I still had to work out every single day to keep my weight down.
In high school, acquaintances often referred to me as “Big Man.” When it came time to buy my costume for One-Act Play during my Senior year, I had to shop at a different store than my classmates: Back then, a 38-inch waist meant you had to shop at the Big & Tall store.
Did you read our series of stories about cruising down the Amazon River in Peru earlier this year and think to yourself, “Man, I wish I could do that”? Well, now’s your chance, and all it will cost you is a donation to Passports With Purpose!
Green Global Travel is proud to partner with our friends at International Expeditions to offer one lucky winner a free cabin aboard one of their Amazon Voyage cruises in 2013. This is a once-in-a-lifetime adventure down the mighty Amazon River and its various tributaries, departing from Iquitos and venturing deep into the heart of the Picaya-Samiria Reserve. You’ll have a chance to fish for piranha, see myriad wildlife species (such as sloths, howler monkeys, macaws, parrots, caiman, etc.) in the wild, learn all about the Amazon ecosystem, and spend an amazing day in a local Ribereños village. For us, it was truly a life-changing experience.
The trip includes almost everything for up to two people: 8 nights accommodation, tours of Lima and Iquitos, arrival & departure transfers, most meals, guided tours & lectures by native naturalists, wildlife excursions, cooking demonstrations, complimentary laundry aboard the boat, a blessing ceremony with a local Shaman, and more. The only exclusions are airfare, passport/visa fees, departure taxes, tips and items of a personal nature (such as your bar tab). Total value of this prize? At least $5000.
So, how does this whole Passports With Purpose thing work? PWP was founded in 2008 as a way to build community among travel bloggers and to give back to the places that we, as travelers, visit. Each year the founders select a charity based on several criteria, and this year’s chosen charity was Water.org. Working with hundreds of travel bloggers and prize sponsors, the community’s mission is to bring $100,000 worth of fresh water well projects to Haiti– an impoverished nation that desperately needs our assistance– in 2013.
We’re delighted to participate in Passports With Purpose this year. As I mentioned in my Travel Bloggers Give Back post on Water.org last November, I spent several months without running water or plumbing in my teens. More than 3.4 million people die each year from water, sanitation, and hygiene-related causes. Bringing fresh water to two Haitian villages? You just can’t put a price tag on that sort of thing. And International Expeditions makes a perfect partner because one of their main eco-initiatives is to provide water treatment plants to Ribereños villages at various spots along the Amazon River.
So here’s how you participate: This year’s fundraiser launches on Wednesday, November 28th. On that day, you’ll be able to find a full catalog of prizes from more than 150 bloggers. The list will include everything from luggage and overnight hotel stays to week-long getaways and, of course, the aforementioned Amazon River cruise. The fundraiser closes on December 11 at 11:59 pm PST, and for every $10 donation you make before then, you’ll have one chance to win a prize.
Whether you donate $10 (for one chance) or $200 (for 20 chances), it all brings us closer to our goal of $100,000. You get a chance at amazing prizes, Haiti gets a chance at fulfilling a basic human need, and we all get a chance to feel good about spreading positive energy throughout this world we love. Please give generously, won’t you? Visit the Passports With Purpose donation page to get started and see all the fabulous prizes. –Bret L0ve
If you enjoyed our story on how you can win an Amazon River Cruise, you might also like:
I’ve had a crippling fear of water (specifically, putting my face into it) ever since I was little.
For two weeks each summer, I stayed with my grandparents in New Hampshire on the banks of the Merrimack River. My grandmother would watch us play in the water, but couldn’t swim, so she was terrified that we’d go under and she wouldn’t be able to save us. You could see the tension in her eyes, encompassing her entire body. Her fear of water became my own, and I became more and more cautious every time I entered the water.
I also vividly remember getting caught up in the surf of the Atlantic Ocean at the Jersey Shore as a child. I was sitting at the shoreline and a huge wave tumbled me. I got caught up in wave after wave, rolling with the surf, and couldn’t find my way up for what seemed like a very long time. Even though I was close to the shore, it was very scary. Is it any wonder that even the thought of putting my face in the water started giving me the heebie-jeebies?
Thanksgiving has always been a special day for me for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is the fact that my family has always considered the appearance of Santa Claus in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade to be the official start of the Christmas season. As anyone who knows me will tell you, I absolutely LOVE Christmas, and especially the story of Saint Nicholas: I do my best to embody his spirit of giving throughout the year.
Though we’re not what you’d call religious, Mary, my daughter Alex and I tend to go all out in decorating our home for the holidays. We do our best to stay “Green” by buying real trees rather than plastic ones, reusing wrapping paper, buying energy-efficient LED lights, shopping from independent retailers rather than chain stores, and making many of our own Christmas gifts. But overall, we’re pretty traditional in our celebration of the season, from Mary’s antique Elf on the Shelf doll to the classic Christmas music we tend to listen to while decorating the tree.
This year’s holiday season will be an unusual one for us: Never before have we traveled between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Unlike a lot of our fellow bloggers, we are not nomadic, round-the-world adventurers. The concept of home is extremely important to us and, when traveling, we always feel torn, missing my daughter, our dog Huckleberry (who’s part Aussie Shepherd and part Beagle), our family and friends, and the simple comforts of being in our own space.
These conflicting feelings are more powerful than ever as we plan for our 2-week trip to Patagonia and Antarctica. On the plus side, we know without a doubt it will be the adventure of a lifetime, allowing us to see incredible things we would never have gotten a chance to see without GGT’s success. But while we’re grateful for these opportunities, we know we’ll be missing home like crazy, especially because we usually we spend a lot more quality time together during the holidays.
So this year we’re doing things a little differently. We decorated our home for the holidays last week– a week earlier than usual. Where we usually check out Christmas light displays such as Lake Lanier Islands’ Magical Nights of Lights in December, instead we’re going tomorrow. We won’t be getting our tree until we get back from the trip, but we’ve already got more than half of our presents wrapped and stacked by the fireplace. And we’ve already started baking tasty homemade goodies to help kick-start our holiday spirit (Alex is baking an Apple Spice Cake as I write this).
We know a lot of people have had a tough 2012, and it may be a little more difficult than usual to get into the Christmas spirit this year, so we wanted to share some of our favorite Christmas-related posts with you. Whether it’s the recipes of our Global Cuisine section, the Go Green Tips for a more eco-friendly holiday, or our trivial tidbits about the History of Santa, we hope these stories will inspire everyone to embrace this season of giving and fellowship. -Bret Love
Late last year, when we were compiling our list of our Top 10 Travel Destinations for 2012, we had two basic criteria in mind: 1) Which ecotourism destinations did we most want to visit, and 2) Which ones could we foreseeably have a snowball’s chance in hell of getting to?
To be honest, this time last year Green Global Travel was a very small fish in a very big travel blogging pond. With around 5000 page views per month, nobody knew who we were yet. We had big dreams and high hopes for our future growth, but there were certain destinations (including New Zealand and Bora Bora) so far outside the realm of possibility, we didn’t even bother including them on our Top 10 list.
What a difference a year can make! As we noted in our post commemorating our 2nd Blogaversary, 2012 has brought a humbling wealth of amazing experiences our way. Over the weekend, we finalized details on our biggest trip to date– one which will allow us to send the year out on one heck of a high note!