Why Community Is More Important Than Ever Before
During times of division, we need unity - and few things are more powerful than travel to connect and bring us together.
As I sit here in Costa Rica my heart is heavy from the events in Charlottesville this past weekend...
I am the Chief of Community for Under30Experiences and I am writing this piece because we are living in a time when more barriers between people are being created - instead of barriers being removed to bring us together.
As a travel company, U30X strongly believes that travel + community brings people together in ways that foster deeper connection.
The beauty of our community is that we connect people. In doing so we are removing barriers, deepening our understanding of other cultures, and providing opportunities for people from different backgrounds to meet others whom they may have otherwise never met.
In creating these experiences, we create space for dialogue.
And, when we talk to one another we build unbreakable bonds.
It is why now, more than any other time, our community is so important and why Under30Experiences is even MORE committed to creating cross-cultural experiences that bring people together while building an inclusive community.
And not just building any kind of a community, but one rooted in empathy, kindness, understanding, and support.
U30X is proud to be at the forefront of this charge and here is how we are doing it:
Providing more opportunities for women to travel solo
No one can deny that female solo travel is on the rise (go ladies!). From a 350% increase of boards for "solo female travel" on Pinterest to the rise of online networks like Girls Love Travel with nearly 500k members, women are seeking out travel experiences now more than any other time.
The Travel Industry Association of America recently reported that the average traveler is a 47 year old woman who wears a size 12 dress - meaning that its not a one size fits all image of who a female solo traveler is.
U30X understands that more and more females want to travel and we encourage all women to seek out their own adventures.
But it doesn't stop at just women
U30X is committed to curating experiences for all people regardless of gender, race, nationality, sexuality, or religion - ensuring that no matter how you self-identify, you will be welcomed and accepted into our community.
Focus on local community exchanges
"You don't have to speak the same language to connect with someone. Souls speak louder than words." - Lindsey Dukes in Peru
From visiting Balinese homes & temples to having a cultural exchanges in Palenque, Colombia - the first freed slave town in the Americas - U30X strives to offer travelers experiences that dig deep within the culture of our host countries.
These exchanges expose our travelers to new ways of thinking about the world.
Hiring a diverse staff
U30X is proud to bring together staff from six countries and multiple ethnic and religious backgrounds. We believe that our diversity contributes to one of best company cultures on the planet.
Commitment to environmental conservation
At a time when the effects of climate change are beginning to be felt and seen, U30X tries to limit our environmental footprint as much as possible.
From requesting travelers use reusable water bottles instead of buying plastic bottles throughout their trip, to staffers buying locally grown food and supporting local businesses, U30X is re-committing our pledge to serving the environment.
Local communities at home
As we often say at U30X "Travel connected us, but community keeps us connected".
Once a trip is over, its just the start of our relationship with our alumni. We continually strive to invest back in our community through local chapter groups, community meetup events, and conversations across many of our Facebook groups.
Travel unites us - and at a time when our nation is divided, travel opens the doors to meeting new people and opening our minds to different ways of living.
We ask that our travelers bring home these lessons and lead by example by being kind, empathic, mindful, and accepting leaders in their home towns.
I leave you with this question: how do we collectively continue to create even more space for kindness and inclusion in our community, in our home towns, and in our country?