The Rise of the Inspired Traveller
Is it a calling or coincidence that some of the most marginalised communities, endangered animals and vulnerable habitats of the world are found in dream holiday destinations. The Masai Mara tribe of Kenya are deprived of basics, orangutans remain synonymous to Borneo and are threatened with the illegal pet trading and habitat destruction from illegal logging, and the Amazon rainforest is fast disappearing from booming industry in Latin America.
If tourism, the fastest growing industry on the planet, ever considered it a coincidence, its most compassionate form, Afzaal Mauthoor certainly considered this a calling. A calling that a version of tourism, inspired to do good, is used as a tool to lift marginalised people out of poverty, save endangered animals and ease the destruction on vulnerable habitats. Below, Afzaal shares his experience and why he dediced to do something to help...
Since 1979 the iconic images of Sir David Attenborough’s first encounter with a family of wild mountain gorilla were broadcast on the BBC’s Life on Earth series, thousands have been inspired to visit rainforests of Uganda and Rwanda in the hope of recreating similar magical moments for themselves. Today, it is not nearly enough just to travel and tour, people want an inspired experience. Albeit, their own “ life on earth ” moment in time. What if your life on earth moment gave back to the local people that lived at the foothills of the mountain you climbed or along the trail to Machu Picchu? A sense of responsibility to give back to cause found at the heart of the destination is giving rise to a new breed of traveller. A more inspired traveller.
A cause at destination is an environmental and/or social need. Destinations have become synonymous with cause. Saving rainforests with the Amazon, saving orangutans with Borneo, plight of tigers with India, pandas with China, tribal experience at the Mara. How can you wrap travel around these causes so that tourists can empathise with the cause as well as enjoy the experience of being privilege to either spectate or participate in the cause? I was discover how to do this through a local mountain guide in Africa.
It was a fateful conversation with a local guide called Yesaya, in Mt Kilimanjaro, Tanzania that lead me to conceptualise a more inspired version of travel. Yesaya was a father and sent his children to the local school in Kilimanjaro. Unemployment rate is the highest in Tanzania. Mainly because in schools in rural areas like Kilimanjaro, there are a few books shared among a class of 200. By the time the child is 14 years, they would not be able to read or write properly. Lack of resources and teacher’ s accommodation was the death of education here in the shadow of Mt Kilimanjaro.
Ironically, Yesaya witnessed his mountain being used to fundraise thousands of pounds to Western charities and yet not even 1% supported local causes at the foothills of the mountain. He wished that some of those adventure challengers would stop by the school on their way down their trek, and sympathise with the locals by donating directly to fund the school found at the heart of their adventure. This inspired me to create Inspired Challenge in 2013. Later, we launched Inspired Escapes as we found travellers would fundraise for local projects found during luxury safari or a honeymoon let alone an adventure challenge.
I believed in the concept of “Give more than you gain to gain more than you give”. By giving to a person or a community, you unlock a new level of experience for yourself, driven by the appreciation of people you barely know but have changed their life forever.
By giving a little you gain an access to people’ s lives, their openness and acceptance you would never encounter without. A fixed donation built into our travel packages therefore unlocks an authentic life experience with local people you meet along the way. Travel is no longer a one way street where the traveller gets more from the destination than the destination gets from them. Having a win win enriches your experience way beyond just an experience. Inspired way of travelling transforms your holiday from an experience to an unforgettable, lifechanging and epic moment in your lifetime.
An inspired travel can provide a far more superior holiday experience than a traditional trip. A structured engagement between you, the responsible traveller and the local villager or the endangered animal encounter delivered in a way that makes a difference to these causes, delivers a meaningful and inspirational travel experience.
By Afzaal Mauthoor cofounder of Inspired Escapes.