Category Archives: Volunteerism

Grassroots Game Changers

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Have you ever been a part of something bigger than yourself that took moments, hours, days, months and even years to process? After this weekend’s events, I’ve needed to take a little time to reflect, rejuvenate and remind myself how incredibly lucky I’ve been to feel such waves of gratitude and encouraging interactions with the universe. Three different Novembers, three different cities, and three different mediums for change have affected and influenced my life. Each has catapulted me in different directions of inner thought, social activism, and sent me on a path of working to make the world a more hopeful, positive, kind and equal place. Read the rest of this entry

Giving Back

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Like everyone else old enough to remember, I know exactly where I was on the 11th of September 2001. I was sitting on hall duty in Farmingdale High School, New York when the first of a few letters was delivered. Like everyone else who tried to get through, I found the mobile phone lines weren’t working. Kids were pulled out of class, teachers rode the busses with elementary school kids and we all sat in silence for hours glued to the television. Later, I found out that my sister, who traveled on the subway through the Twin Towers station every morning had made it through and a co-worker of hers provided shelter on Staten Island for the next few days. My Dad was in Europe at the time and eventually, through the kindness of strangers, coworkers and embassies made it home from Belgium a few days later. In the years since, at school, we had no morning announcements aside from a moving tribute coupled with a talented singer serenading the school with the chorus of Sarah McLachlan’s, I Will Remember You. Read the rest of this entry

Joy in Simplicity

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Pure Bliss - the gift of travel

Almost a decade ago, my cousin got married in North Carolina. I flew in for her wedding and stayed with a summer camp counselor and her family for the night. They picked me up at the airport with their two little girls in tow and we chatted the entire drive home. Along the way, her husband (who was also a camp director of mine) pointed out whimsical trees, purple flowers on the center median and even a deer on the side of the road. The visit was great, the wedding was beautiful and the time with family and friends precious, but Chris pointing out wildflowers to his young daughters has stuck with me. Read the rest of this entry

Interview: The Happiness Plunge (Adam Pervez)

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Have you ever had that feeling that there was something more out there? Do you find yourself daydreaming from your cubicle, classroom, job or office and thinking ‘I had a goal, I’ve met that goal but now I have a new one?’ How many times do you say to yourself ‘this is no longer my passion and if I could, I’d rather be doing THIS!’ Meet Adam Pervez. He did just that. He went to school and then more university, had a career and then a second career and decided to ditch it all for HAPPINESS. He quit a six-figure job to explore the world and created the Happiness Plunge. Traveling, remaining off the beaten path and learning how others find their happy became his. Here he shares his story of bringing out his happy and what he believes to be the gifts of travel.

208 Speaking At TEDxYerevan In Armenia (4)

Speaking at a TEDx event in Armenia

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Interview #2: Elana Duffy of Team Rubicon (Disaster Relief ‘traveler’)

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The travel community is filled with incredibly interesting people. All are dreamers, doers, travelers and some make it their business to be a constant source of good and change in the world. Elana and I met after Hurricane Sandy. We were connected through a new not for profit, Race2Rebuild founded by our mutual friend after the hurricane. We met and connected through volunteer work, disaster relief and a joint sense of adventure. Like many of the fabulous disaster relief personnel that we have been honoured to meet and work with, Mat and I believe Elana is a super hero. She may not see the cape she wears, but we do. She has had her share of ‘travel’ and shares what she believes to be some of its many gifts. Without question, she has brought her gift to thousands. Thanks, Lana. 

Photo Credit: Chris Ryan, Team Rubicon

Photo Credit: Chris Ryan, Team Rubicon

Interview with Elana Duffy, Field Operations Manager, Team Rubicon Region II

1.What/when was the first disaster to which you had to ‘travel’? With which organization were you traveling with on the mission? (ie; FEMA, Homeland Security, Team Rubicon) The answer to the first disaster to which I had to travel really depends on the definition of disaster, and I suppose on the definition of travel. With the Army, I saw Afghanistan and Iraq, Qatar and Romania, Germany and Hawaii. I lived in Europe and spent every long weekend knocking another country off the list. Upon leaving the service, two itches still needed to be scratched: the insatiable need to continue service and the bite of the travel bug. With Team Rubicon I found an ointment for both, and the disaster response travel began. After several months of local travel to cut downed trees, clear debris, and hang sheetrock in nearby northeastern states, I journeyed to Moore, Oklahoma in June 2013 after two subsequent F5 tornadoes hit the town leveling entire neighborhoods.

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