The South Island of New Zealand is one of the world’s greatest adventure playgrounds. From walking on an amazing glacier to viewing the country’s highest peak, there are so many travel highs, but the top real life experience for Intrepid traveller Kirra Worldon was taking to the water on Milford Sound…
“Dolphins, seals, waterfalls, clouds wisping over and around snow-capped mountains; Milford Sound is one of the most serene and beautiful places on earth. While there are dozens of different ways to explore it, I opted for an up close and personal wildlife experience. Fjord kayaking was an ideal way to embrace the natural spirit of this place.
Many Intrepid travellers to Vietnam have enjoyed great food and service at the marvellous KOTO on Van Mieu restaurant in Hanoi. On Sunday October 31, KOTO trainees were honoured by an extra special lunch guest, the Hon Julia Gillard MP, Prime Minister of Australia.
“We’re all thrilled that the Prime Minister chose to come to KOTO during her short stay in Hanoi and we were privileged to meet her,” said Jimmy Pham, KOTO International CEO and founder (and former Intrepid group leader).
Recently our Intrepid Office in Cuzco organised a pollada. Pollada comes from the word pollo, which means chicken in Spanish. The last time we organised a pollada was to support one of our Inca Trail porters who became sick and needed financial help to cover the doctor and hospital bills. This time, the pollada was to raise money for The Intrepid Foundation.
While sometimes it’s not easy for our team to come and join in our regular pub quiz fundraising nights, a pollada requires little to no effort to get the message to our leaders, hotel friends, local transport staff, Inca trail guides, cook and porters. Mention pollada to anyone in Cuzco and text messages will be flying off cellphones as a viral effect, people will anxiously be waiting for the date of the event!
Q: What do a tombola in Westbury, a BBQ in Cuzco, a gourmet picnic in Florence, a bike ride in Hanoi, spiderman sightings in Lima, pot luck dinners in Toronto, a trail clean-up in Oregon, a grand auction in Nairobi, movies in Melbourne and cowboys in Beijing have in common?
A: They were all part of the activities and antics of our 2nd annual Intrepid Foundation Day.
After a successful year raising and distributing over AU$440,000 to 50 beneficiary organisations, The Intrepid Foundation’s special day was all about celebrating this achievement and getting as many Intrepid offices, leaders (and their groups) as possible participating in activities to further increase their awareness of the Foundation’s activities and the terrific community organisations we support.
“We are thrilled to announce that The Intrepid Foundation has hit a new high. We are giving away a record AU$442,903 for the 2009-10 financial year, representing funds donated by travellers and matched by Intrepid Travel, to 50 fantastic non-profit organisations or projects around the world.
This brings us to now having distributed over AU$2.2 million, since The Intrepid Foundation’s inception in 2002. A very big and sincere thank you to all who contributed this past year and enabled us to give so generously at a time when many communities and organisations needed it most. With all the Foundation’s administration overheads covered by Intrepid Travel, with the assistance of a dedicated team of volunteers, and with donations being doubled by Intrepid, you can be fully confident that your contribution has made a significant and meaningful difference.”
Jane Crouch, Intrepid’s Responsible Travel Manager, and Geoff Manchester, The Intrepid Foundation Chairperson.
Below is our full list of beneficiaries and more information can be found about many of these supported projects on theintrepidfoundation.org…
It’s hard to imagine sitting down to a Chinese banquet that doesn’t include a tofu dish. Since around 900 AD it’s been a popular protein-packed staple food, but some tofu varieties can be an acquired taste. Intrepid leader Fang Lihong follows his nose to an infamous fermented treat…
“Many travellers don’t understand why local people love so many strange things that are considered inedible in their home country. I think everything exists for a reason, and things are not necessarily weird, they are just different. Once you know more about the story behind a local delicacy, you might be willing to try some.
Much more than a break from work, a holiday has the power to change your life, writes Cayla Dengate in MX Escape…
In the shell of a destroyed Sri Lankan hotel, three surfers join the circle of Buddhist monks as they start a prayer ceremony.
It’s one year after the Boxing Day tsunami, which killed more than 3500 people. The monks are saying a requiem for the dead and a blessing for those who continued to live there. “We all sat in a circle with our hands in prayer position and the monks wound a long length of red string between all of our palms,” Keith Barnes, 29, of Sydney, remembers.
Imagine living surrounded by sparkling tropical waters, but having no source of fresh water to drink. Imagine losing your crops in your garden, because the sea water keeps washing through. This situation has become all too familiar for the 2,500 Carteret islanders, living in the Bougainville province of Papua New Guinea.
Through The Intrepid Foundation, we have been supporting the Australian Conservation Foundation’s Asia-Pacific Program and their work with the Carteret peoples. The Carteret communities live a low-carbon lifestyle and yet they are bearing the full force of climate change. Coral atolls are geologically dynamic, but extreme weather events consistent with climate change have been creating havoc.
For several years now The Intrepid Foundation has been supporting the Australian Conservation Foundation’s Asia Pacific Program and environmental protection projects in Timor-Leste and Papua New Guinea. Lee Tan from ACF has recently given an encouraging update on their marvellous achievements with our funds…
Haburas, a local non-government organisation in Timor-Leste, ran an Ecotourism conference in Dili in August 2009. Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao announced that community-based tourism will be a national development priority for Timor-Leste and cited Tua Koin on Atauro Island and Veru Sere (at the eastern end of the country) as positive examples of this kind of tourism. Intrepid was very pleased to hear this news, as the last thing the country needs is inappropriate large-scale tourism development. Intrepid travellers can attest to the successful operation of Tua Koin Eco-lodge, with our groups staying here during our 15-day trip. It remains a very important tourism venture as well as an income generating activity for the community of Atauro Island.
Travellers to the magical region of Ladakh in Northern India will know of the spectacular Himalayan scenery, the monasteries with their colourful frescoes and prayer flags fluttering in the breeze and the gracious hospitality of people – many from Tibetan origins. Tragically, this area has also been swamped by the torrential monsoon rains that are flooding Pakistan.
Our friend Anshu Gupta, from The Intrepid Foundation partner organisation GOONJ writes: “I visited Ladakh shortly after this disaster and the area is certainly devastated – financially, geographically and more importantly psychologically. Imagine a place known for dry mountains and mud houses, where people had never seen rain water in the lanes. All they had seen was the melted water from the glaciers in the nearby Indus River.