By Matt Leedham @worldofleedham09 Jan 2017What if… whenever we travel this year we combine our journey with a conscious decision to do our bit to help change the world? In fact, imagine sending a client on their travels in a way they could help make positive change too? “Change the world you say?” It sounds massive right? I mean, how? Changing the world is such a huge concept that most of us struggle to actually comprehend how we as individuals might be able to do this. ‘Changing the world’ sounds like a statement Barack Obama might say at the United Nations. Or perhaps something Daenerys Targaryen – A.k.a Khaleesi, Queen of Dragons might shout out in a tirade against one of her enemies. “Travel to change the world you say… Tell me more” For the many charity foundations doing the good work of the world, ‘care fatigue’ is now an increasing problem. By that I mean it’s thanks to modern day media and an endless stream of bad news, that we’ve become desensitised to the terrible daily afflictions, environmental disasters and social challenges that we as citizens of the world are faced with. “I’m almost finished on Facebook here… Honestly. What?” But the world’s problems aren’t going away and yet how simple to evade feeling the first world guilt and become that bit more disconnected from humanity. Swipe. Besides we’re all so busy and don’t have time when we’re keeping our own heads above water, aren’t we? So where to begin when it all feels too overwhelming? And we do care, most of us, but how can we mere mortals and individuals in the travel industry possibly do our bit? TRAVEL AS A HELPING HAND Travel stories are the best stories If you work in the travel industry, my (pretty obvious) guess is you probably got into it because of a deep rooted desire to see and travel the world. Your ‘Why travel’ was a burning curiosity to experience the world’s wonders first hand, meet and connect with diverse people from different cultures and seek out magical, unforgettable adventures and moments all over our precious globe. Those experiences and moments have now formed the fabric of the life stories you tell and it’s working in the wonderful travel industry that has given you the opportunity to make it all happen. Travel gives you perspective. Travel makes you more interesting. Let’s face it, travel is AWESOME. Travel makes you more interesting But more than that, when you work in the industry you want other people to enjoy the same experiences you’ve had, which is why you’re so so passionate about sending your clients off to explore the world too. You inspire and organise their dream trips as if they were your own, sharing your expert tips and advice with them and excitedly listening to their stories when they return. After all, you played an expert hand in making them happen. So if you do truly love what you do (and I know you do), then you’d have to be totally insane to see the product you actually sell (that’d be the world) slowly crumble in front of you as icons, wildlife, societies and destinations degenerate and ultimately disappear off the tourism trail thanks to the world’s biggest problem – Ignorance. What then? WHAT WE’RE GOING TO DO Giving is contagious… At KarryOn we’re heralding 2017 as the beginning of our ‘Travel to change the world’ initiative. As the travel industry media leaders in Australia we feel its our responsibility to share and celebrate the goodwill stories of travel companies who are creating or working on positive projects that influence change. So for starters, Karry On is committed to spreading the many good news stories that are out there (and there are a lot of them, encouragingly). Companies holding the torch within the Australian travel industry such as; Intrepid Travel and their amazing work in Nepal post the 2015 earthquake. With the help of their travellers they have almost raised AUD $1 million dollars to put back into re-building the quake hit communities. An incredible feat and example of selfless giving. Deep down, all of us have the same simple hopes and desires in life G Adventures and their Planterra Foundation undertakes amazing work all over the world with numerous projects. Just last year they launched the Australian travel industries first ever ‘Responsible Tourism Ambassador’ with Helena Turner from STA Travel Chermside as the winner. Melbourne based Travel Group ‘Reho Travel’ and founder Karsten Horne have been trailblazing a positive way of ‘change’ with their staff and customers for the last five or so years and are now a fully accredited ‘B-Corp’ Business that follows a number of sustainable and environmental values in Australia. Incredibly – they are the ONLY accredited Travel Management Company (TMC) IN THE WORLD to do this. Reho are already ‘Travelling to change the world’ And Gate7, RoomsXML and Travel Managers along with ourselves at KarryOn have partnered for the long term with charity Project Karma to help in the fight against child exploitation and slavery throughout Asia. Through the dedicated and brave work of Melbournian founder Glenn Hulley, Project Karma has been able to incarcerate a number of Australian paedophiles and sex tourists in Asia in the last year alone. Karma rules always There are of course, numerous other examples of travel companies doing great work and we actually think that this is just the exciting beginning of quite possibly the best travel ‘trend’ ever (we think) as more people switch on to helping and doing their bit. Got a story to share? Look out for more stories in 2017 of creative innovation, sustainability and selfless giving from the travel industry as we celebrate all those that are going beyond the bottom line of business and helping others and our world at the same time. “The more I travelled the more I realised that fear makes strangers of people who should be friends.” Shirley MacLaine WHAT YOU CAN DO All is usually not what it seems. It’s our job in travel to educate our peers… Believe it or not, when you break ‘changing the world’ down to what you could realistically start doing, your actions could be as simple as; – Actually smiling at locals when you travel (Sounds obvious – Amazing how many people don’t) – Picking up some litter (especially plastic) on your adventures – even just a small amount can make a massive difference – Making sure you’ve turned off the AC in your lodging before you go out for the day – Learning a few words of the local language and trying it out on your trips – Taking time and chatting to locals (They’ll also learn something about you and where you’re from – see above point) – Offering your client responsible tour options that don’t involve animals or attractions such as elephant rides – Suggesting options to tag on some volunteering for a local project or foundation in a destination – Sharing a good news story you’ve seen or been involved with on your travels with us at KarryOn – Using our hashtag #traveltochangetheworld on your travels when you experience positive change in action “Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.” Gustave Flaubert LET’S DO THIS TOGETHER We’re in this together Our belief is that ‘Travel to change the world’ is a state of mind. A lifestyle choice if you like. So we invite you to get involved in 2017, to think more and spread the word with your friends, family, peers and your clients and most of all, know that your small steps will lead to much greater things. Because not only can we actively do our bit to break down cultural barriers and sustain environments and the beings that live in them, we can actually enable more people to travel, to more places in the world so they can become ambassadors too. Now that’s something we can all be really proud of. What do you think? Will you travel to change the world in 2017? We’d love to get your feedback. 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