When Sophie Wade visited Cuzco, Peru, with her family, she decided then that one day she would be back.
So now 18 months later, after completing her final year at school, waiting tables and cleaning rooms, stints working in Intrepid’s Beijing and Melbourne offices and an unlikely but most amusing job as a USA summer camp petting zoo counsellor, she’s finally back in Cuzco. But this time Sophie is there to make a difference on Intrepid’s Peru Teaching and Building trip…
“After a year and a half I did not expect to remember all that much, but I can say for sure that Cuzco has not lost its appeal. Cobblestoned streets, women wandering in traditional dress with blankets strapped to their backs (carrying anything from flowers to children) and the Andes towering above the city still give this place charm. And arriving from ever-imposing New York I could really appreciate the lack of tall buildings… or any building over 3 or 4 stories. Of course not everything is perfect… some streets smell of things you really don’t want to imagine people doing in the street, and occasionally the extreme altitude will hit you, but it’s all part of the Cusquenian experience and personally, I am loving it!
A tuk tuk can cough up 1.1kg of CO2 per person on a return trip from Khao San Road to Bangkok’s Grand Palace, and even hiking to Everest Base Camp can peak at emitting 4.0 grams of CO2 per person each day. Calculating all your holiday carbon emissions could seem impossible, but Intrepid knows it can be done!
When Intrepid set course to be a carbon neutral company by 2010 we knew it wouldn’t be easy, but we also understood that as a responsible travel company it was the only way forward. So we have employed the help of professionals and are definitely on track to achieving this important goal!
A big (and exciting) step in our journey towards carbon neutrality is the release of our first Carbon Offset trips. We’ve taken 38 of our favourite Intrepid adventures, such as Cambodia Basix, Roam China and Moorish Spain, carefully assessed their greenhouse gas emissions and reduced them where possible. Then we will offset the remaining emissions on these trips with our already pre-purchased carbon credits.
Camel rides through the desert in India, elephant rides in Thailand, pony carts in Luxor and donkey rides to the Valley of the Kings. These a just a few of the many animal riding opportunities offered as part of the experience in tourism destinations. But is it cruel for the animals? Or is it actually a good thing because your payment is helping fund the handlers and enable them to better care for the animals?
We asked animal welfare organisations for their views on animal riding…
The Intrepid Foundation’s volunteer administrator, Anna Wade, recently travelled to Cambodia with her husband, two twelve-year-olds and her adventurous septuagenarian parents and one of the highlights for them all was visiting The Angkor Centre for Conservation of Biodiversity (ACCB)…
“ACCB was established in 2003 to help conserve the local wildlife and to educate people on the need to protect their indigenous animals. Located 30 km (18 miles) north of Siem Reap, ACCB endeavours to rehabilitate some animals to return to the wild and care for those who couldn’t survive without their help.
The exact numbers of cyclo drivers in Phnom Penh is uncertain, but what we do know is that the people who do this exhausting job are amongst the poorest of urban poor in Cambodia. In 1999 the Cyclo Centre Phnom Penh was established to improve the welfare of cyclo drivers through the provision of support services, basic medical care and livelihood support.
We are very pleased to announce that the Cyclo Centre is now one of the beneficiaries of The Intrepid Foundation Community Project Fund and donations received will be used to increase the profile of the Cyclo Centre, highlight the situation of cyclo drivers and to seek ways which increase the drivers’ self-sufficiency and sustainability of the Centre.
Some say you’d be mad to travel to Mongolia in winter, but as Kate Sykes discovered there are precious rays of sunshine to be enjoyed even in the freezing temperatures.
Kate visited Mongolia as a volunteer for Lotus Children’s Centre, a dedicated non-government organisation that has been operating since 1995 and benefits from the support of The Intrepid Foundation and Intrepid travellers. There are 300 days a year of sunshine in Mongolia, but it’s the smiles of those children that warms Kate’s heart most…
“Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia’s capital city, is generally not a pretty city, especially in winter. The weather is bitterly cold, the building facades grimy, the pavement is cracked and undulating, making walking difficult even without the slippery ice, the haze grim and the cacophony of tinny car horns in rush hour punctuates what could possibly be calm mornings. There are a few diamonds in this rough place though, and certainly make a visit, even in winter, worthwhile.
One of the exciting aspects of Intrepid is that our responsible travel philosophies can translate into assisting local communities in a variety of ways. Intrepid Thailand is involved in a three-way partnership with Nakhon Sri Thammarat Rajaphat University and the Thailand Community Based Tourism Institute (CBT-I), to help students become confident local guides. Travellers on our Colours of Asia trip get to spend time with these wonderful young people and later this year we look forward to excited students joining some of our trips for special work experience.
Peter Richards from CBT-I has recently returned from Nakhon Sri Thammarat, where each Monday and Tuesday Colours of Asia travellers are looked after by the student guides who escort them to the birthplace of Thai Buddhism, Wat Mahataad Temple, and to a Shadow Puppet show by the nationally recognised master artist Suchart Subsin.
At Intrepid we figure fundraising should be fun and our Intrepid Cambodia team put that into action when they raised money for the Sala Bai Hotel School For Underprivileged Cambodians. Jane Dearden, Responsible Travel Coordinator Cambodia, tells how Team Intrepid enjoyed the recent festival and managed to stay afloat for a good cause…
“After a gruelling week of rowing training and only once upturning our boat, our team felt like we were dreaming the three words ‘Muy, pii bei’! The Cambodian cry of ‘one, two, three’ signalled the start of our daily training ritual for the annual Bonn Om Touk in Siem Reap.
Wow! The race weekend finally arrived and suddenly the once quiet river banks were overflowing with Khmers ready to celebrate the Moon and Water Festival.