Impacts that Last a Lifetime through Responsible Travel

Written by Chloe Friedland – International Development and Social Entrepreneurship student at McGill University.
I had the opportunity to speak with McGill Student and Travel Enthusiast Madeleine Loh, who has had numerous opportunities in the past to travel with G Adventures and visit Planeterra Partners. From what she told me, her travels with G have been a whirlwind of discovery and connection. Each trip, each visit to a Planeterra community partner, has been a step into a world that's as vibrant as the local markets and as warm as the welcoming smiles of the local peoples.

In Cambodia, India, and Vietnam, Maddie discovered the resilience of the human spirit. At New Hope, a vocational training restaurant in Cambodia, and City Walk in India, she saw how Planeterra partners empower individuals to rise from adversity, as the Partners’ outreach programs touch some of the poorest areas in the region, and gives people from those communities a renewed spirit through job opportunities and health care support.

Her favorite experience, however, was at Oodles of Noodles in Vietnam. Oodles of Noodles acts as a curriculum for youth to practice their English skills in order for them to succeed in the hospitality industry. The students lead a noodle-making class with travelers and teach them about the twenty-six different types of noodles available in Hoi An, Vietnam. Many of the students go on to work at large five-star hotels in Da Nang and neighboring cities. Through this experience, Madeleine learned that food is more than sustenance; it’s a cultural connector and a tool for change. And let’s be honest, who can resist a good noodle?

City Tour in India
A warm welcome in India

As Maddie journeyed to Nicaragua and Morocco, she experienced the power of community and the joy of cultural exchange. At Puesta Del Sol, a tourism cooperative in Nicaragua, she saw how tourism can support local economies and preserve cultural heritage. She saw first-hand how the creation of new job opportunities through Puesta Del Sol, profoundly uplifted the livelihood of the community.

In Morocco, through AFER HomLunch, an organization that empowers and develops the skills of rural women in Morocco through kitchen spaces and cooking training, Madeleine tasted authentic local cuisine and experienced the warmth of Moroccan hospitality. 

Madeleine also had the opportunity to journey to Tanzania and visit the Maasai Clean Cookstoves. Here, she saw the strength of women who build and sell clean cookstoves, improving health conditions and creating a sustainable income for themselves. 

These experiences deepened Madeleine’s understanding of the ways in which supporting women and creating job opportunities can have a ripple effect throughout an entire community, bolstering its economy and revitalizing its collective spirit. 

Madeleine’s travels with G Adventures and to Planeterra Partners have shown her the power and value of responsible tourism. They’ve demonstrated that when we travel with an open heart and a desire to connect, we can find common ground with people from all walks of life.

While Madeleine thoroughly enjoyed each and every one of her trips, she recounted how much her visits to Planeterra partners resonated with her, as these experiences brought her to the next level of immersion into the local cultures. By visiting Planeterra partners, Madeleine was truly able to connect with local communities and understand where their values are rooted. 

Madeleine on a Jeep in tour Kenya

She says “I have amazing memories of all my adventures with G Adventures, but my experiences visiting Planeterra partners will always hold a special place in my heart. When I visited these organizations I really felt like I gained a new perspective on their communities and now have a really deep appreciation for what they stand for.”  

When planning your next adventure, remember Madeleine’s insights and consider seeking out experiences that will allow you to truly immerse yourself in the local culture. Connect with local organizations, visit Planeterra Partners and other community projects, and embrace the customs and traditions of the places you visit. By doing so, you’ll not only enrich your own travel experience, but you will also contribute to the well-being and preservation of the communities you encounter along the way. 

Chloe Friedland

About the author:

My name is  Chloe Friedland, I’m a fourth-year student at McGill University, studying International Development and Social Entrepreneurship. I have a passion for travel because I love the way it can foster new perspectives. I am very interested in the Responsible Tourism Industry as I am committed to creating a positive impact for both communities around the world and the environment.

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