Take a day trip to the Elephant Nature Park in Chang Mai

Years ago, Mike went to visit the Elephant Nature Park during his trip through Thailand. Here’s why you should go there too…

There are about twenty different elephant experiences within an hour or so of Chiang Mai. They run the spectrum from very-elephant-friendly to downright cruel. The worst feature circus shows and pile clumps of tourists on the over-worked elephants (even the Frommer’s guide has a photo of people riding elephants) — and the nicest of concierges have no idea why visitors would even have an issue about this.

I’m no PETA activist, but I couldn’t have enjoyed myself if I thought I was helping mistreat elephants. So after some research, I settled on the Elephant Nature Park in Chang Mai, and I’m really glad I did… Continue reading “Take a day trip to the Elephant Nature Park in Chang Mai”

Pack for a Purpose: How to use your vacation to bring needed supplies to local communities

My favorite part of packing for our honeymoon safari in Tanzania were the toys and school supplies for Pack for a Purpose.

When we were planning our honeymoon safari, Courtney — the fantastic African Travel Resource agent who booked our trip for us — let us know about a charitable program called Pack for a Purpose. It’s a program that encourages travelers to Africa (and so many other destinations!) to bring much-needed school supplies with them.

We were really lucky to be able to do this for several reasons: One of our places to stay was Gibb’s Farm, and they’re one of the places that works with Pack for a Purpose. Plus it was our second stop on our trip. Which meant we wouldn’t be taking many vehicles that would force us to have weight limits on our bags. So unlike (perhaps) most people, we didn’t have skimp on the number of items we could bring based on weight.

Our bag on the way to Gibb’s Farm.

Gibb’s Farm provides a long list of the things that their nearby school needs, but I was getting overwhelmed with choices. So Mike suggested that I email them and ask if they know the top items the school REALLY needed. They got back to me and said, “We spoke with the teacher and they suggested pens and pencils, rubbers, sharpeners and a few netballs if you have space. Whatever you can manage to bring will be most appreciated by the school and the children.” So that’s what they got, plus some other items that our friends donated as well.

5 Easy Steps to using Pack for a Purpose

  1. Select your destination.
  2. Find an accommodation or tour company and a project it supports.
  3. Choose the supplies you wish to take from the specific items requested.
  4. Drop off the supplies at the accommodation or tour company.
  5. They will be delivered to the project; it’s that easy!

So if you’re heading to Africa, the Caribbean, Central or South America, Southeast Asia, or any of these places for your next trip, you should definitely add a little charitable action to your plans, and pack for a purpose!

How to use your stomach to help Puerto Rico

This week in LA (October 7-14, 2017) 60+ restaurants, bars, and food trucks are donating all the proceeds from certain meals and drinks to Unidos Por Puerto Rico — providing aid and support to those affected in Puerto Rico by Hurricane Irma and Hurricane María. Which is awesome, because Mike and I can help Puerto Rico (beyond our previous donations) by just doing the thing we do every day — eating at restaurants!

But since most places only have just one or two charitable things on their menus, I broke down how you can turn this into a restaurant crawl and put your helpful money where your hungry mouth is…

Continue reading “How to use your stomach to help Puerto Rico”