The Tranquilo Traveler
The Tranquilo Traveler is a celebration of voluntourism, slow travel, and other interesting ways to see the world. Travel writer and award- winning Moon Handbooks author Joshua Berman created The Tranquilo Travel as a resource for world trippers and international volunteers, a window to the author’s travels in Nicaragua, Belize, and beyond, and an update of his books and articles.
How do you know—without a doubt—that your donation is going to the right cause? How do you know that your money will be well spent and effective? “The answer begins with doing a little research”, says Rodney McDonald, Director of Emergency Response Services for Latin America (ERSLA: www.ersla.org), a non-profit organization based in Estelí, Nicaragua.
Photo by Henrietta Still. Rodney McDonald unloading a shipment of fire hose to firefighters in Nicaragua.
McDonald has been on the dirty front lines of development work for a decade, based in Nicaragua since his service in the Peace Corps there from 2002 to 2004. McDonald founded ERSLA in 2006; to date,he has helped deliver several tons of much needed firefighting equipment to Nicaragua and has worked on water purification projects that have provided over 1800 families with safe drinking water. He has worked with many other good people and organizations, and some not-so-effective ones. I asked him what people should know who are thinking about making a year-end (or any time of year) donation. Following were his eight top tips.
1. Do your homework: All registered non-profits in the United States are required to file a form 990 with the IRS. This is to insure that they aren’t working for profit, but are at least attempting to perform the task they are registered to accomplish. Like most information submitted to the IRS, this form is very complicated but does contain valuable information for the donor. This form is also required by the IRS as part of the non-profit status to be available to the public. This information can be found in many locations, including the following sites: Give Well http://www.givewell.org/, Guide Star http://www.guidestar.org/ and Great Non-profits http://greatnonprofits.org/. (more…)
Happy Peace Corps week, everybody! I’m proud to be participating in the big Peace Corps Palooza recruiting event this Monday evening in the Glenn Miller Ballroom. CU Boulder is the country’s number one Peace Corps Volunteer–producing university (two years in a row!), so it should be a fun event with many colors, sounds, and sights from around the world.
I’ll be giving a presentation, sometime after 6 p.m., about my Peace Corps service in Nicaragua (Environmental Education, 1998-2000) and how it has affected my life and career.
Event Description: “Peace Corps is actively seeking volunteers to serve across the globe. Come to the Peace Corps Palooza to learn about the organization, life overseas and meet with former volunteers. Also, explore volunteer opportunities in areas including: education, youth/community development, agriculture, health and HIV/AIDS, business development, environment and information technology. All CU students are welcome! Life is calling… how far will you go?”
Independent filmmakers Brad Allgood and Joshua Wolff have been toiling to bring the story of Nicaragua’s lobster fishermen to international viewers for years. They have just released a hard-hitting movie trailer (which you should watch if you have any interest in Nicaragua — or where that lobster tail on your plate came from) and they have started a Kickstarter to complete the final production. Please consider helping them, so they can spread this story about the fishermen of Puerto Cabezas.
One of the best volunteer programs out there: American Jewish World Service. I used to lead spring break trips for them. They write: “Attention 18 to 25-year-olds: Want to have a transformative travel experience to learn about social change in the developing world? Apply for AJWS’s May Alternative Break programs in Nicaragua and Mexico! Applications accepted on a rolling basis.” http://bit.ly/h1JKWh ”
“Under ideal circumstances,” reports Laurel Miller, voluntourism is “a sustainable, experiential way to see the world and give back at the same time.” Amen to that. Miller breaks down the ways you can help out in her article:
Miller offers excellent advice for being “a philanthropic traveler regardless of your income, physical ability, educational background, or destination,” and her article has some interesting side links. Enjoy.
ERSLA is ramping up their water filter campaign again for 2010 in northern Nicaragua. They need your help:
Give a gift that could save a life. (more…)
A friend asked me to share this, sounds like an excellent opportunity for anyone visiting or living in Granada, one of the most beautiful cities in the world (and the oldest on the North American continent!):
Enjoy a morning walking tour of some of Granada’s most beautiful and historical colonial homes. Learn about the history and the Spanish colonial architecture while viewing the city’s private homes. Proceeds benefit the children of Nicaragua by providing books, education and other activities through Biblioteca Puedo Leer and Sacuanjoche Kindergarten. (more…)
This short film abut a solar energy installation in rural Nicaragua was produced by Brad Allgood, an independent filmmaker, and Jenean Smith, founder of Power to the People, both of whom, I’m proud to say, are fellow Peace Corps Nicaragua brethren (I love hearing about RPCV compas who have found creative ways to stay connected to their host countries … but I digress).
The video opens with a wonderful, marimba-filled tribute to Nicaragua, then follows a group of volunteers as they travel to La Isla de Ometepe to assist with a solar panel installation. Beautiful scenery, interesting story, worthy cause. Enjoy.
I’m quoted about what age is appropriate to take a child abroad (I aimed low), but I especially like this line by Richard Webb, co-founder of ProWorld: “No matter what kind of adventure travel experience you decide on, the effect it has on your family will be immeasurable. There is so much learning that we get when we expose ourselves to others.” READ THE ARTICLE->
This just in from the Voluntary Traveler: “PAW (Protect Animal Welfare) Cat Sanctuary and Humane Society on Caye Caulker … needs a long-term volunteer and a long-term veterinary volunteer. Stay three months helping the sanctuary and your beach-side accommodations plus a continental breakfast are provided for the duration of your stay.” MORE about the position and how to apply –>
P.S. I took this Belizean kitty photo in Placencia (not Caye Caulker), at the Maya Beach Hotel and Bistro
- About The Tranquilo Traveler and Joshua Berman
- How to Advertise on this Website (and other common queries)
BY JOSHUA BERMAN
- 0. Volunteering Abroad
- 1. Round-the-World Honeymoon
- (0) “Pre-Trip Hum of Excitement”
- (a) Paris
- (b) Dubai
- (c) Pakistan
- (d) India
- (e) Cambodia
- (f) Thailand
- (g) Laos
- (h) Sri Lanka
- (i) Africa
- (j) South France
- (k) New York, Almost Home
- (l) Cross-Country Drive
- Book Review
- Documentary Film
- El Salvador
- Fun with Maps
- Guest Post
- Maya 2012
- Maya 2012 Prophecy
- Outward Bound Wilderness
- Spanish Language Schools
- Travel Gear
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- Travel Writing: Guidebooks, News, & Resources
- Wildland Fire
- World Music Review