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Currently Browsing: Doing Good

Getting More out of Maui: Volunteering and Giving Back

It doesn’t take long to realize there is something special about Hawaii. I was trying to explain it to a friend recently, to put in to words why my love for these islands runs so deep. Yes, Hawaii has beautiful beaches and lush mountains and fabulous opportunities for adventure, but it has something more. The people haven’t let their islands be converted into glorified cruise ship terminals.... read more

Kids Say The Darndest Things… About Travel

“It sounds like some friends do not want special South American candy!” I stiffled a laugh as my sister’s — excuse me, I mean Ms. Baackes’s — shrill threat sent a hush over the crowd of six-year olds. Fresh off the plane from Costa Rica, I was visiting my sister’s classroom in New Orleans for the first time. As a Teach for America fellow, she’s dedicated two... read more

The Eco-Traveler’s Packing List

Last year I re-dubbed Earth Day to it’s more statistically appropriate moniker of Ocean Day — after all, 70% of the planet’s surface is water! — and made a few simple pledges. This year I’m back trying to use this day to pause and reflect on how I can be more ecologically conscious in my travels. It is something that is in my thoughts year-round but that I often stumble in my... read more

Walking with Giants

We send postcards around the world featuring their image, buy t-shirts emblazoned with their silhouettes, drink beer by their name, gasp when we see them through the fence at zoos, and often pay great sums for the opportunity to observe, touch, and ride them. We are fascinated, captivated by these animals. Elephants are magnificent creatures — and they have suffered greatly for it at the hands of the... read more

Open Passport, Open Heart: The Koh Tao Animal Clinic

I was raised in a household where charitable giving was not optional — my parents give their time and resources generously enough to be recognized for it in our community, and raised my sisters and I to do the same. When I was a kid, my allowance was split into four envelopes — spending, short-term saving, long-term saving, and charity. Somewhere between allowance age and adulthood I lost the... read more

Helping Hawaii, One Bite at a Time: Big Island Agriculture

Where did that pineapple I ate on the beach in Waikiki beach come from? What about bananas I picked up at the grocery store in Hilo? The answer might surprise you. Today, a full 85% of Hawaii’s food is imported. This is a shocking statistic, considering the islands used to independently feed a population estimated to be the same size as one living there today. Depending on the outside world for food... read more

Whaling in Iceland: My Plea to Tourists

Astute readers of Alex in Wanderland may note that thus far I’ve had nothing but gushing praise for everything Icelandic (aside, I suppose, from the prices). It’s true, I love almost everything about this tiny island nation. However, Iceland is embroiled in an international debate over an issue that I feel so passionately about that I feel myself forming a disclaimer every time I start to spout off on... read more

Teaching Tomorrow’s Travelers

Somewhere along the way between enthusiastically auditioning for musical theatre in junior high and standing frozen in front of my university peers and stammering out a presentation of my senior project, I developed a bout of stage fright. I started to conquer it a bit this year when I tried getting back on stage to sing again- something Mark had been trying to get me to do for ages to accompany him on the... read more

Happy Ocean Day

Yesterday was Earth Day, a fact I overlooked here in Thailand where it isn’t recognized with quite the same fervor as it is in the US. As a scuba diver and general underwater enthusiast, I tend to see Earth Day through the lens of that mass that makes up over 70% of our planet…. the ocean. The statistics on the destruction of the coral reefs and the general health of our oceans are staggering.... read more

Do it For the Dogs! Cayman’s Petapalooza Celebration

As the official volunteer photographers for the Cayman Islands Humane Society, Heather and I were kind of obligated to attend Petapalooza. But lets be serious, I totally would have been there anyway. Petapalooza is the annual fundraiser for the Humane Society featuring live music all day and night from an impressive lineup of Cayman bands, lots of puppies walking around and a great atmosphere. The event... read more

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