March 20 is proclaimed as the UN International Day of Happiness. The day recognises the importance of happiness and well-being as universal goals and aspirations in the lives of people everywhere.
It was inspired by the country of Bhutan and their political philosophy of prioritising and measuring happiness amongst their people, over income.
“Carpe diem. Seize the day boys. Make your lives extraordinary.” These were the classic words of Robin Williams in the now iconic film Dead Poet’s Society, released in 1989.
Also back in ’89, two 20-something young men called Darrell and ‘Manch’ took these words to heart. They not only made their own lives extraordinary, but those of many thousands of others through the launch of Intrepid Travel, THE classic responsible travel company.
Intrepid trips have always been designed to be as planet friendly as possible – using public transport where we can, staying in smaller locally owned and operated accommodation where available, buying local produce and carefully managing precious resources such as energy and water.
And since 2010, the majority of our trips are carbon offset – this means we measure the carbon emissions from the transport, accommodation and waste generated and contribute to emissions reduction programs ‘balancing out’ these emissions.
Just imagine the Galapagos…with no majestic giant tortoise, no quizzical looking blue footed boobies, no sea lions taking over the park benches on the water front, or no dinosaur-like marine iguanas sun-baking on the rocks.
It’s a scary thought – but if not for one action 50 years ago, that’s how the Galapagos Islands could be now.
Did you know that 1 in 10 African girls drop out of school when they reach puberty? And the reason? They are unable to manage the changes in their body and don’t have access to sanitary pads.
Intrepid’s SAMA Project partner Plan’s Krissy Nicholson gives a first-hand account of a new project in Uganda designed to keep more girls in school with the simplest of solutions – Afripads, a re-usable, washable cloth pad.
Intrepid is a very proud supporter of the documentary film, I Am A Girl, and are now delighted to say ‘she’ is off to school! A suite of high-school education materials have been launched to coincide with International Women’s Day, 2014, to help address discrimination against women and girls.
Developed by the Documentary Australia Foundation, the materials are based on the ‘I Am A Girl’ documentary, an in-depth look at the reality of what it means to be a girl in the 21st century. Following the lives of six young women, the often confronting documentary addresses issues of family violence, disease, poverty and disadvantage in girls locally and abroad.
In what appears to be a never-ending search for the best or most unique cup of coffee…consumers will go to crappy lengths.
Monkeys, elephants, Brazilian jacu birds and civets are amongst the animals that have been employed to eat coffee beans, with their digestive enzymes denaturing the beans and altering the final taste.
Civet coffee, or Kopi Luwak as it’s known in Indonesia, is one of the world’s most expensive drinks, selling for up to $100 per cup. It’s made from coffee beans, which have been partially digested and then excreted by small cat-like mammals known as civets. According to coffee connoisseurs, this unusual production method is what gives the coffee its uniquely smooth taste. But is it cruel or unethical?
Intrepid travellers to Bangkok, in April and May 2013, were amongst those who took part in research for ‘The Child Safe Traveller’ (World Vision, 2013). This study looked deeper into tourist perceptions of child exploitation in connection with tourism in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand and Vietnam.
The research also assessed tourist reactions to child safe tourism communications. A total of 268 tourists from across the globe, representing different traveller types, ages, genders and socio-cultural backgrounds, completed surveys and interviews. Participating tourists had been in Thailand for varying lengths of time and many had travelled (or were travelling) elsewhere in South East Asia and beyond.
Could 2014 be your year to get really high? We mean a 5,895 metre kind of high…to the roof top of Africa! And why might you do it? For the personal challenge of pushing yourself beyond your usual limits? To get more girls into school? Because it’s there?
Well the answer for Intrepid employees Amy Bolger and Ronnie Albanis and two groups of Intrepid travellers who recently conquered Mt Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, was all of the above! And what an experience it was! They tell us more about the whys, the highs and the preparation needed to get there:
Our ‘hairy neck’ in Peru, David Knight, has shared with us many wonderful insights into Peruvian life the past 6 months. But now as his time as Intrepid’s Community Based Tourism researcher is drawing to a close, it’s hard not to wonder if his alternative career ambition is to be a world food writer!
We’ve heard all about spicy aji on the side of soup, the delights of cuy (guinea pig), chicha (corn beer), ceviche, the best quinoa soup around, fresh honeycomb and ‘spider’ punch. Now David shares with us the triumph of the humble tater…