**This is a matching campaign. Up to $500 will be matched by JoAnna through Rooted.**
In Austria's mountainous Carinthia region, an innkeeper served me freshly baked bread and jam. She asked me how far I’d be hiking that day. My German was rusty, but we carried on a conversation anyway as we sipped our morning coffee.
Walking along the barrier wall separating Israel and Palestine in Bethlehem, my guide Salah talked about his day-to-day life as a third-generation refugee. We chatted about hobbies and summer plans interspersed with talk about what it’s like to live separated from the world by a wall.
While looking through a pile of bracelets being sold by a young woman in Nairobi, Kenya, she asked me about the other bracelets I was wearing. I used the minimal Swahili I spoke and she practiced her English as I told her about buying them in another Kenyan town. After a small amount of negotiation, I exchanged a handful of coins for a new bracelet she had made to add to my collection.
Moments like these have shaped my travel experiences. These are the kinds of memories most people remember when they recall their travels. They are what makes traveling meaningful — and what we are missing as the world remains locked down due to the current global pandemic.
Unfortunately, we the travelers aren’t the only people missing our travels. The Austria innkeeper, Palestinian tour guide, and Kenyan artisan feel our absence too. Without travelers, their livelihood has disappeared. The tourism industry has a powerful ripple effect, directly employing 10% of the world’s workforce and impacting millions of other small businesses and services.
If people want to find those meaningful travel moments again, it is essential to support the local people, businesses, and communities who make them possible right now.
I established Rooted to amplify and celebrate local initiatives that support sustainable development. I am committed to that support with a matching fundraising campaign.
I will match up to $500 in donations given through this fundraiser, which supports Planeterra’s Turn Travel Into Impact From Home campaign.
But it doesn’t stop there. This fundraiser will remain active through Friday, May 29, and I want to see it reach as many people as possible.
Every dollar we raise supports an innkeeper, an artisan, a tour guide — and a shop owner, a driver, a dive instructor — who will be waiting for us when we can finally travel again.
Rooted is a solutions storytelling platform at the intersection of sustainable travel, environmental conservation, and community-based advocacy efforts. Learn more here.