#Adventure2016 Is Our Answer To #AssaultAtSpringValleyHigh
You’ve probably already seen this video. (Warning, it’s “graphic”).
It’s been easy to condemn the officer’s actions – any grown man throwing around a young girl has a hard time defending themselves. It’s just ugly. Even if the young girl was “refusing”. But here’s the thing – the officer was probably trained to do that to anyone who resisted him. As in, he was just “following orders”. Orders that are trained in the same way that officers are trained to fend for their lives in emergency situations. As in, trained until the actions are second nature.
The point is that this sort of behavior can be traced back through superiors and police academies – these issues, the myriad nuanced problems are deep and complex. It’s not as easy as blaming the cop. It’s not as easy as blaming the girl for not getting out of her seat. It’s not as easy as blaming the school or the parents or the “liberals” or “conservatives”.
Sure – we need to change policies. Sure, policing in America needs to change. And sure, we need to take drastic steps to ensure that young black people are not in situations that involve brutalization by police. But in order for that to happen, we think people need to meet each other. Understand each other. Empathize. We need to engage others. It’s cliche, it’s an old addage, but it’s true. We won’t stop the brutalizing, racism, sexism, etc, and general cultural incompetency until we are willing to walk a mile in the “other’s” shoes. We must Go and See. We must honestly seek to understand. And we must stop being violent and seek to engage to do that.
#Adventure2016 Is Our Answer To #AssaultAtSpringValleyHigh.
#Adventure2016 is our answer because it is our first step in scaling our routes around continents. We’re making travelling the world accessible to everyone. We’re normalizing cultural competency. We’re ethically traveling around the whole world and introducing people to the “other”. To the white cop. To the black young person. To the rich businesswoman. To the Planet. To the Trash. To the woods and the wild and the city and the impoverished child.
#Adventure2016 is Ethical Travel (Around America)
#Adventure2016 is our first step toward scaling ethical adventure travel. Here’s why we think that ethical travel, actually going and seeing the “others” that don’t think like us, is the only way forward in getting the whole world – though especially America – to come together against violence and for Peace. Here’s why we think that a few thousand of us, traveling around the US doing service projects and studying a curriculum and engaging communities and police forces and organizations and everyone – here’s how we can answer our own questions and ensure that things like #assaultatspringvalleyhigh do not happen to future generations.
Ethical Travel Engages Everyone.
Ethical travel goes into America’s racial tensions on a bike instead of a fancy car, and asks for help and understanding. It asks for a conversation. It asks to be allowed to understand. It asks to be present in the struggle. And it asks others simply to share a meal. It understands when it is met with skepticism of ill intent. It understands when people aren’t ready yet to engage, but it allows space for potential sincere conversation, now or in the future.
Ethical Travel Learns About People And Places
It’s actually seeing a place. It’s learning about the people and their history. It acknowledges their history. It’s sitting down to listen to locals with the explicit intent to learn from them.
This is it! This is what no one is doing! No one is listening to each other, partly because it is too easy to talk past each other in the (social) media. Ethical travel is emerging as America’s best option for meaningful interactions because it means that those interactions are happening face to face! It means that people are actually seeing the way things are; they understand because they experience the reality (if only slightly) behind the rhetoric.
Ethical Travel Serves The Places It Travels Through
Ethical Travel serves largely because it understands that teaching and/or engaging (you) is time-consuming and arduous. This isn’t service work that thinks it’s actually helping, or that it can fix local problems. This is simply an effort to show gratitude. It is service as a “thanks” for allowing us to enter with the explicit intent to learn. It simply recognizes that people like to engage with people who are willing to serve.
Ethical Travel Travels In Community
It goes to engage others – so of course it travels in community. Community naturally forms around those who go and see for themselves because they’re doing the hard work of engaging others, of asking questions and learning about the (sub) cultures and customs of those they encounter.
It also travels in community because communities get more attention that individuals. In our case, we travel in community to demand the attention of leaders that individuals might not otherwise have access to – and we travel in community because it makes for way better celebrations!
Ethical Travel is Accessible Travel
Just like it’s not cool when kids don’t have access to quality education – it’s not cool when people don’t have access to travel. It’s because Ethical Travel is education in its most useful form. In its elite form. Just look at elite schools – the best one’s on the cutting edge show their students the world. It’s not cool that rich kids get all the opportunities – to learn, to travel, to work in whatever field they feel like and not worry about making ends meet. It’s time to start giving everyone a chance to see the world. It’s time to allow everyone the chance to learn from the whole world – not just a few dingy streets in the city.
The answer isn’t to pick sides. It’s to go and see for yourself.
How would anyone have any idea about what’s going on in America’s cities and rural towns if they haven’t gone to see for themselves? How would anyone construct a picture of American life different than any particular media network unless they Go and See for themselves?
So here’s an idea. Let’s quit listening to the ignorant people in the media, in politics, in leaders who haven’t gone and seen for themselves. And instead of just trusting people who have gone and seen, let’s go and verify their findings. If they’re right in their opinions, not only will we understand why, but we’ll also begin to understand what we, as individuals, can do to help. And when we’re talking about an issue as (potentially) big as oppressing or brutalizing our own citizens, Ethically Travelling to these places and seeing for ourselves is simply what we owe—to ourselves, our friends, and those with whom we disagree.
Come make sure World Peace ensues.
This Is Us!
This is what we do, and this is who we are. We’re just a bunch of people who are keen to go out into the world and see what’s happening. We just want to see what it’s like out there. We love exploring.
The impact that the people that adventure travel has introduced to us is tremendous. Experiencing so much kindness from so many strangers significantly impacts one’s worldview. It’s why we’re making traveling the whole world accessible to everyone – and this is the base of our adventure platform. We think if people would travel to visit other people, the overwhelming hospitality and kindness and sheer humanity would change their lives whether the travel or adventure did or not.
We’re a travel adventure company founded by everyday and professional adventurers. We get that such extreme forms of adventure are not accessible to many people, but the people that one meets, the experiences and interactions one has with locals on an adventure are not replicable. Sure, real adventure takes the certainty, some of the safety, the comfortable predictability out of things a bit. But that’s just when life really starts!
It’s a line we walk carefully with our adventure platform: predictability so as to be of use to local communities with service projects and events, and a safe and dry base and transportation to allow anyone to join, but adventurous and resourceful enough to allow for the uninhibited exploration around a major portion of a continent.
Adventure also allows us to make trips financially accessible, without giving up luxuries of the modern age. But adventure also opens us up to other forms of exchange, and sometimes that means that we are able to meet people differently. When service and education or a meal are goods exchanged for mutually beneficial experience – that’s not a bond money can form. And don’t misunderstand – we’re not stingy – but money only forms the types of relationships and experiences that money can form. Service and genuine interest and a basic acceptance of the unknown and adventure are all forms of currency, of contribution, as well. And sometimes they’re even more dignified and meaningful than cold hard cash. Because it’s the people that make the difference, not the consumption of experience or senselessly travelling for the sake of asserting oneself.
Sometimes it’s better to be a little uncomfortable.
Indeed! Greatness is only born of discomfort!
This is Us!
“People will always have a desire to explore what they haven’t seen…”
So here’s to The Explorer in all of us. Here’s to allowing curiosity to get the best of us for the sake of humanity, for the sake of engagement of others, and for the sake of, well, World Peace.
It’s not cool to be the rich traveler.
No one likes to spend time with pretentious people who simply like to flaunt their successes while trying to remain ignorant about their privilege. And it’s not cool to be the one very obviously wealthy foreigner in a crowd of locals where the average wage is $4 a day. It’s way more interesting to travel in ways that allow meaningful interactions with others, even though they’re often more humble than, well, arriving in style and complaining about the food. We call it Ethical Travel. And we’ve found that when we return from our travels, instead of encouraging us to flaunt our apparent cultural capital, it helps us listen more to our friends, work to be more useful in their lives, and enjoy our time more deeply.
So here are 8 Reasons Ethical Travel Beats Trendy Travel Every Time. That is, Ethical Travel does these things, too many times Trendy Travel does the opposite.
1. Ethical Travel is Accessible Travel.
We call something “elitist” if it isn’t accessible to most people. Working to make travel accessible is inherently part of working to make travel ethical.
2. Ethical Travel is inherently unpretentious.
It is unpretentious because Ethical Travel is an adventure in itself. It may be carefully planned to ensure safety or that meaningful meetings are made, but it goes with other people, however different they are from oneself. Ethical Travel goes as oneself and does not pretend to be anything more than human. Ethical Travel realizes the sacredness of personal experience and does not try to assert their experiences as the only path to happiness. Ethical Travel treasures personal experience, and like treasure, shares it only in respectful and appropriate circumstances.
3. Ethical Travel is (Often) Human Powered
Ethical Travel is not lazy in the slightest, nor does it find meaning in cheap tourism. Ethical travel takes the resources required to travel seriously and respectfully, so it relies on healthier, less wasteful modes of transportation. It relies on human power over fossil fuels at every opportunity. Of course, this also incentivizes us to maintain our bodies, as they provide the power in Human Power. Ethical travel is healthier travel because it is regularly human powered. For example, doing long-distance hiking, cycling, kayaking, or horse-riding types of trips will have positive long term effects on fitness, muscle-tone and strength, weight control, and many other positive physical effects. Long periods of physical activity train your body to be healthier for months, even years to come.
4. Ethical Travel is Community-centric.
We can travel to remote places where no one ever goes, but even on those trips we encounter people on the way. Ethical Travel embraces community everywhere it goes. It does not discriminate between rich and poor, bed and floor, or less and more – so long as there are people. Community. Ethical Travel is not too proud to accept the offer for a place to sleep – in a tent in the yard, on the couch or floor, or in the spare bed overlooking the city! It always repays kindness in double, and practices generosity with personal resources. In short, it strives to create robust community, the type of community that organically benefits other communities it encounters.
5. Ethical Travel is Educational.
Ethical Travel requires a purpose. It requires that we reflect upon and learn from our experiences, our new friends and our exploration of places. And to learn we must listen, explore, and care for – we must humble ourselves, ask questions and maintain ourselves for the rigorous work of understanding. To be educated implies that we do not yet know or understand. To be educated implies an inherently low, un-powerful position. When we say that Ethical Travel is educational we understand the pain, the frustration that the learning process sometimes implies and we embrace it with the heart of the explorer.
6. Ethical Travel Serves.
Ethical travel seeks to give of oneself. Money, sure, when it is appropriate, but of themselves, too. Time. Conversation. Comfort. Talents, too, and simply a willingness to help out around the house. Ethical travel seeks to engage others by serving them. It seeks to clean the house or clean up after the disaster in order to get to know those who are allowing us into their space. And it works hard, it sweats and becomes sore, and at times even overworked and frustrated and un-happy in order to accomplish projects for people they may not know or understand. It serves not with the intent to “help” – for helping sometimes implies a hierarchy – but with the intent to know, to be with, to participate in life alongside.
7. Ethical Travel Is Not Always Easy.
Ethical Travel is not always easy. Given that travel is only accessible to the wealthiest in the world (think about it: much of the world cannot travel to many other countries; certainly the wealthiest countries do not allow the world’s poorest citizens to visit them), Ethical Travel often involves travelling the places where the standard of living is drastically below one’s own. It involves discomfort. And it means involvement in lives of people very different from yourself, with problems and needs and desires very different from your own, and it means engaging them with respect, as humans with dignity and value. Especially for those of us simply traveling to collect experiences as social capital or otherwise neglecting those we come into contact, Ethical Travel can be quite difficult. It can require us to admit deep, ugly flaws in ourselves. It can force us to admit our pretentiousness, our selfishness, and our humanity. And that is a good thing. And it’s the type of good thing that doesn’t come with comfort and ease – it’s only something that can be learned through difficulty. Indeed, Ethical Travel sometimes teaches lessons sparsely learned elsewhere!
8. Ethical Travel is Necessary.
Ethical travel, if you’re noticing, isn’t traveling to Bali to stay in a fancy hotel and consume the “culture”. Ethical travel takes time to engage others in a place, it works to understand, to participate with and serve as much as possible those one encounters. It spreads love and it opens up opportunities for friendships, for economic advancement, and for the education of individuals and communities. Ethical Travel admits that all life is connected and embraces physically those connections that are least often apparent. Ethical Travel is simply Ethical interaction. It is therefore necessary if we are going to adequately collaborate to solve the global crises facing younger generations. It is necessary if we are going to meet and understand and collaborate with others. It is necessary if we are to learn about the world. And it is necessary if we are to learn to love the whole of humanity.
Peter Diamondis wrote Abundance, where he “makes a case for optimism — that we’ll invent, innovate and create ways to solve the challenges that loom over us.”
The Travel industry has the unique ability to make travelling the world accessible. Here are 10 Ways The Travel Industry Could Improve The World By 2021.
1. Travel Could Be Done Ethically – By Everyone!
Doing something “ethically,” for our purposes, implies a few broad categories: Community (it’s done with, in relation to, and does not seek to/or harm others), Service (or some sort of contribution, most commonly done with money; just taking everything and leaving is never ethical), Education (or some sort of personal or intentional reflection is had on the experience, you learn from it generally), the Physical category (it does not harm your body or your health), and Environmental (it does not destroy one’s larger habitat, the planet, end your species, etc). Oh – and everyone is likely to have a better understand of ethics after travelling the whole world. It’s now reasonable.
2. Travel Could Help Us Collaborate With Our Technology Instead Of Fight With It!
2. Travel Could Make Us Care—i.e. feed, mentor, medically care for, allow shelter, etc, for each other
3. Travel Could Teach Us So Much More!
4. Traveling The World Is Necessary To Solve Major Global Crises.
5. It’s More Feasible Than You’d Think – And It’s Only Going To Get Easier!
6. Travel Could Be Huge For Entrepreneurs and Businesspeople!
A global network of friends used to be an elite network – it’s going to become commonplace. Business women and men will want to go and see business people around the world as they become educated. HSBC isn’t wrong in their advertising campaign – “In the future investors will need to be explorers”. Create value in the world – but get an edge by learning about value in the world, first!
If they travel the world, customers will know what conditions are like in their favorite company’s manufacturing places. They will know what it looks like to pick cotton for their shirts, or to produce the things they consume en masse. In fact, depending on your assumptions about the nature of humanity, it could, theoretically, help us in wealthier nations to stop helping our business leaders to treat people in ways we would never dream of in everyday life.
8. Travel Could Ensure Quality Politicians!
9. Travel Could Empower Citizens!
10. Travelling The Whole World by 2021 Will Change You!
FULL DISCLOSURE: My education makes me something like a C-level Ethicist (if we’re talking in terms of Hollywood’s grading system). And The Young Philanthropists, a non-profit I founded with Adventurer Leon McCarron, is working to make ethically travelling the world accessible to the masses. So there, I said it, I’m selling Adventure. (HaHa: Don’t worry, I’m not getting rich on it; also, you can come for free if you want).
So sales pitch aside, it’s fascinating to me that Adventure is inherently an ethical concept. Adventure often directly involves, (indeed, requires!) human interaction. If not with many others, certainly with one’s Self. It’s inward or its outward or (most often) it’s both. But whatever it is, it’s ethical. That’s the nature of human interaction.
So here are five components that are inherently ethical that can allow anyone (assuming your citizenship provides you similar political clout as the BuzzFeed audience) to travel the world.
COMMUNITY—because every Adventurer is a person, they have some sort of community around them. Even Adventures that are done alone require a community to provide the resources necessary to complete the project. We can’t live alone, therefore we can’t Adventure without others. More often, serious Adventures require much effort from many people. Individuals don’t even try to climb Everest alone. For this reason, Community sets a guiding standard for the rest of the ethical principles. That is, we’re going on adventures with friends. This is both the basis for our ethic, and what makes travelling the world an ethical endeavor. There are so many people out there that are travelling the world. Join the community!
This has been made possible by technological advancements by websites like WarmShowers or Couchsurfing, but you can also find community working or studying abroad, and there are sites to help with that, too. (Google: Workers On Organic Farms (“WOOFing,”) for free food/lodging, or things like teaching English abroad for working for pay). And if you have no friends that want to travel via adventuring, The YP has a free service linking individuals with others who want to or already are traveling the world (it’s often with people who are doing human-powered adventures around the world). If you’re keen enough to see the world—think: cycling/kayaking/hiking around a few continents over a long period of time—and you need a support community, we know thousands of people (random example) whose lives are adventures.
ACCESSIBILITY—in the field of Ethics, Ethicists call something “elitist” if it is inaccessible to a majority of people. If the wealthiest people in society, for example, come up with an ethic that asserts that you need at least 1 million dollars to be happy, we call that “elitist” because it means that happiness is not accessible for very many people. Usually, if an ethical idea has no way of applying to our life, it is not worth thinking about, so we don’t. If it is inaccessible, it is irrelevant. No one cares.
Regarding travelling the world, well, a lot of us want to do it. And one of our chief complaints is that it is, for some reason, inaccessible. A number of Adventure projects are aimed at proving that adventure itself is accessible, if one only has the will to exert the effort (and have the knowledge required to research the adventure market to train, purchase, and otherwise understand how to begin). And to some extent, that’s true. It’s worth noting, however, that even a “will to exert [a certain degree of] effort”, eliminates much of the developed world. That is, for whatever reason, travelling the world via adventure is not accessible for most people. Women, for example, are often keen to point out that it’s a guy that’s giving this “you can afford to travel the world if you just skimp on cleanliness and hitch-hike sometimes” advice, and that Adventuring alone poses more danger to them than the guy giving the advice. This is true, despite the fact that many women do adventure around the world alone. There’s usually a few people mentioning that whatever adventure is accessible for whichever other reasons, it is not accessible for this other reason. It’s finances. It’s too dangerous; no one will join me. Or, if those might not have to be true, they are because the person does not know enough otherwise. Examples of people who have traveled around the world very inexpensively by bike or boat or motorbike or foot (including Fat people) do not prove these reasons wrong. We have to believe them when they claim inaccessibility—for them inaccessibility is real. So sure, technically, travelling the world via adventure (i.e. largely human powered, or some “minor” motor use) could be accessible, but it’s not.
That’s when we remember that since community is necessary for life, it is also necessary, at least to some degree, to make adventuring around the world possible. And it’s correct: Adventure Travel with a community—a group of friends—makes things safer, much cheaper (next to free, pending what you’re willing to share), and makes researching the Adventure idea (and doing it) way more fun! (Indeed, that’s what we’re doing at The YP). So here’s an idea, check the internet, a few Facebook groups (like Adventure Cycling), and figure out which type of Adventure Community you’d like to get involved with. Ask a few friends, tell them you just met a few friends (via WarmShowers) you’d like to go visit—on the other side of the world. But you’ve got a few connections between here and there, so if they’ve got a little time, y’all could stop and stay with them on the way. You could probably significantly change your perspective on something in a relatively short period of time.
SERVICE—many ethical frameworks include an aspect of service. Most obviously are the religious ones, but it also includes frameworks that are not religious—think: humanists, or anybody who cares about their neighbors.
But in Adventure Travel, it takes on a whole new seriousness. Service, especially if you’re traveling as a community, is necessary amongst yourselves and as you encounter other communities. A community must serve each other individually, to some extent, in order to survive as a community. This is especially true on an adventure if you want to travel peacefully. But depending on how service is implemented with the other aspects of the Ethical Adventure framework, it poses serious answers for improving all of them. If a community is willing to serve, their trip may become much more (financially, communally, emotionally) accessible. It will also become much more useful to the communities it encounters and engages. The more you offer to help others, the more they offer to help you. That’s just statistically true. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a lot, many communities are happier to just have a party than work, but they’ll appreciate the effort. As we’re about to see, Service is also a great way to learn!
LEARNING—learning is fundamental to life—after all, it was once paramount in feeding ourselves. Many Adventurers do a fair amount of teaching, telling us about gear and the skills or costs or etc regarding going on adventures (including how to make them accessible). But they also do a ton of learning—usually from the people in the places they travel. Learning also goes a long way in bolstering the other points of our Ethical Adventure framework. Learning happens as we serve (we pick up skills, we gain experience); but it also informs how we serve. In many cases, it makes serving more interesting and meaningful. As we learn about our communities, they become stronger, closer knit, and more fun! And as we learn about resources and the basics of Adventure Travel, it becomes drastically more accessible.
Think about taking cultural courses, they’re often free or cheap, or language immersion courses, as a reason to travel. It will ensure you a community when you arrive and provide you with a base to travel, as inexpensively as you like, in the region. Indeed, use other websites to connect you with others who are doing similar things!
HUMAN POWER—This is also commonly addressed by most religious or ethical frameworks. We live in a body. We are human, and thus must do things with our own power. And our body resides on a planet that contains lots of other bodies. As people, we’ve been designing theories around these ideas since, well, since we first noted such facts on cave walls.
Adventure definitely makes us conscious of our physical state. We realize how capable we are of moving. We can see things the way they are—the beauty, the trash, the day-to-day lives of those other human bodies we pass or meet on an Adventure Trip. We see the cultures and the creations of the embodied selves, and we see the state of the place we’re living (Earth, in case you were about to Google that). This is a big deal, especially if we’d like to be individuals who contribute to solving global crises. Like, wouldn’t it seem that if someone was going to contribute to a global crisis, they would be most capable to assess the potential ethical consequences their proposed solution would cause if they had actually engaged the global crisis in various forms around the world? A shorter way of asking that is “Wouldn’t it be handy if the people proposing global solutions to problems had actually seen the world?” And not from the top of the Hilton. An Adventure Ethic engages all social and economic classes, partly because it can’t help it, but partly because it realizes if it spent too much money on travelling in luxury, it would miss out on part of the journey. The prettiest views are infrequently from hotels, and sometimes the best baths aren’t within four walls. The best connections to form a network are friends, not “contacts”. And the most rewarding experiences are the ones we work for.
As we become more aware of our own Human Power we become more ethical. We become more human. We become better workers, more capable of producing results that demand attention. And become more capable of, or open to, learning. We become open to using “correction” from others as a tool for and a willingness to serve more people. It enriches our community, and provides an understanding that makes Adventure Travel truly accessible. Just ask anyone who has tried it!
In conclusion, I’d like to point a few things out about this list of Adventure Ethics. First, it should be apparent that each of these qualities carry their own inherent difficulties. It’s rigorous to learn, to serve, to make something accessible, or to live in community. It’s hard to do these things because sometimes they hurt. Your body gets sore, or even more painful, it gets into shape. You fight with your friends. You struggle to learn difficult concepts—like why on earth anyone would do “that”. It’s frustrating to learn enough to serve, only to realize experience in service is the only path to excellence. But of course, these struggles make the whole process so much more meaningful. It turns the community into life-long friends, which makes service and learning and traveling way more fun (and way more productive).
I encourage you to have a go at using these ethics when you’re planning your next (micro, etc) Adventure Trip, and see how it shifts your perspective on what you can do and/or how you can do it. It’s basically what we’re trying to do at The YP. We think it’s an ethic that’s going to change the world, but only because it encourages us to see it, first.
Abe Lincoln and The YP Manifesto
“Any people, anywhere, being inclined and having the power, have the right to rise up and shake off the existing government, and form a new one that suits them better. This is a most valuable and most sacred right – a right which we hope and believe is to liberate the world. Nor is this right confined to cases in which the whole people of an existing government may choose to exercise it. Any portion of such people that can, may revolutionize, and make their own, of so many of the territory as they inhabit.”
January 12, 1848.
We’re going back to Abe’s words and heeding his advice. We’re rising up and shaking off the current way things are, the existing government, the way we’ve been told we need to live, to work, to know, to be.
Not completely, perhaps, because we admit there are good people doing good things in the world.
But we’re changing the way things are. We’re forming a new world, one that suits everyone, not just us in the wealthy western majority.
We’re not rebelling, we’re just going. Well, some of us are rebelling, but only in as much as rebellion is fun, and a good type of life experience to have. We’re not leaving, we’re not running; we’re Going and Seeing. We’re refusing to become miserable, isolated balls of fat and stress and anxiety and depression.
We’re going to travel the world with our friends.
That sounds cute. Naïve. And perhaps it is—we are young and somewhat inexperienced and we’ve heard that human attempts at fixing things haven’t worked in the past.
But the alternative, the current way things are—the system that you are asking us to buy into is not working either.
You tell us not to pursue our dreams, whatever they may be, because they don’t make enough money, don’t have enough value in your system. The system that allows us North Americans to feast and then pour the leftovers into the land fill, all in the name of maintaining economic scarcity. We are encouraged to waste in the face of famine, to ignorance in the face of ideas, and ceaseless, passive vegetation in front of the television over engagement, over active humanity.
So here’s the deal. Instead of rushing into a career, instead of rushing to further some CEO’s 21 million dollar paycheck or lazy, uninformed cultural ideas, instead of rushing to build an unsustainable amount of wealth at the expense of the planet and most of its inhabitants—we’re doing something you might have done a few years back if you had known any better.
We’re Going and Seeing.
The whole world. Going and meeting. Going and trying to understand. Going and working to develop skills to solve eminent global crises caused largely from not going and seeing, not knowing, not understanding before acting, working, and expending resources. And we’re going with our friends, because it’s absurd that we should be isolated because of poor market performance. It’s absurd that we should work our way out of meaningful relationships until we can afford to provide for a family or own a house or are out of debt. And you can’t stop us. We’re throwing large parties because there are so many resources being wasted—so many resources you don’t even have room for or want—that we are forced to throw parties lest the excess go into the ground and disrespect the starving lives next door. Come if you want, but don’t expect us to stop partying, to stop traveling, to stop inviting everyone we meet, to stop working and learning and just F-ing loving life.
You want us to get jobs, to stay at home and make roots and a family. And we’ll get around to that—after all, everyone needs Home. But if we mindlessly work toward that, toward re-creating the wealth and waste we grew up in, we really might not be able to live on earth for too much longer.
We are not irresponsible for going on adventures with friends. In fact, it’s a lot of work. Literal work. Because we’re developing skills we’ll use in our career. Like marketing or event planning or how to build an audience to run for office or even just to be heard. Because is listening even a thing anymore? We’re going to re-create school, getting a different kind of education that actually shows us the world. We’re going to show you what education should look like by traveling the world. And we’re going to show you how to create jobs, and how to work toward something besides the ruin of the planet and oppressing those who disagree.
To this point, we think you could improve.
So we’re making our own work. And we’re educating ourselves. Partly because a bunch of us became academics before we knew there weren’t jobs. We’re learning skills that we’ll use in our careers—careers that will be necessary if we are to become a sustainable species that does not continue to destroy one another.
We’re rising up and demanding that we be able to go and see. We’re rising up, together, and you cannot stop us. We’re rising up and understanding the consequences of our day-to-day actions, of the T-shirts and food we purchase, of the ideas we hold, of the decisions we make now and, in the future, as leaders. We’re not going to oppress people any more, and we’re going to go and see about how to ensure it.
Further, we’re coming to engage you. We know we sound upset, indignant. But that doesn’t mean you’re worthless, or that we don’t still love you or want what’s best for you or think that we’d be better without your wisdom. We know you need to change, but so do we.
So instead of ostracizing us for our young angst, or cowering in fear because we have a critique of the world and the opaque systems in place, please engage us. Let us come to see you on our adventures. Let us sleep in your house or yard or stable, and let us cook you a meal. Let’s have a good time together because we’ll need that, too, if only because of our disagreements. So let’s commit to work together. And let’s have a good time first, because it might be a necessary foundation down the road.
A Concrete Blueprint For Changing The World
I am a part of a movement of friends who are intentional about seeing much of each (populated) continent.
The blueprint, then, is pretty simple. See the world. Try to understand it, at least a little, and you’ll be able to holistically contribute to positive solutions to global problems. It seems simple, but it’s more knowledge and experience than many of today’s leaders have had access to; a lot of their decisions, through little fault of their own, have been made without knowing because they were under-informed. They had never been to see.
Technology is largely to blame for the access that Millennials have. So we’re just taking advantage of that, and trying not to make things worse in the world.
A Concrete Blueprint For Changing The World Is To First See The World.
Part 1: See The World
Seeing the world, we just mean interacting with it. Go and talk to people. Go and be in nature. Go and see things and places and people. And while you’re there, talking, being, seeing—be polite! Help out, if you can, if your help is wanted; educate yourself, take an active stance in learning about the things and people around you, the things you encounter everyday; be healthy, you’re meant to be a healthy human individual, take time to understand what that means for you and actively maintain such a lifestyle (this helps helping and learning); and invite everyone in to our community, don’t discriminate because people are different—you’re traveling, everything is different!
You can’t see the world from the top of the W. And you won’t get a complete picture from the ditches of the world’s poorest countries. The idea is to engage as much of the world as possible, to invite as much of the world as possible to health, to community, to learning and working and traveling to their heart’s content.
Part 2: How?
We’re working to make traveling the world an accessible way to educate everyone, and to do it ethically.
So we’re setting up routes around continents that make these things possible. We’ve been doing things like this since 2013, and now our community has seen the world in myriad ways, and we’re inviting you to join!
We’re starting next summer in the United States. We’re American, most of us, and we know the statistics on how little Americans have tended to travel in the past. We also like the axiom that it’s a good to see one’s home before going to see someone else’s. And we’re excited to show our great America to so many others from around the world.
We’re expecting about 1,000 people to join us for #Adventure2016. And our prices are lower than the cost of living for a summer. So you can come. And you’ll have a blast. There’ll be parties and you’ll be traveling both the east and the west coast of America over 10 weeks. And your parents won’t mind, we work closely with local communities to make things go smoothly—you’re also in a large, tight-knit community.
But make no mistake, it will be one of the hardest things you’ll do in your life!
Yeah, wake up!
You don’t get this kind of growth, this kind of beauty and fun and awesomeness without paying a high price (and we’re not talking finances).
This stuff is hard! You’re engaging some of the brightest people on the planet. You’re inquiring into the world’s most pressing problems. You’re taking your own health seriously. Your investigating your own opinions and biases. Health. Wholeness. Well-rounded knowledge. Humility. These things are difficult things. These things require so much difficulty, strain, ardor. You’re joining an elite, unprecedented group of people in history.
Because make no mistake, once traveling the whole world becomes accessible to the majority of people, things won’t be the same.
So we’re doing America next summer.
The next summer we’ll do Europe again. Then Asia and Australia in 2018. Africa and South America should follow, which means that ethically travelling around the world could be accessible as early as 2020.
Oh, and the model is scalable. Millions of people could grow up having seen most places. The more it scales the more accessible it is. So come join!
Exposure 2012 was a 1-week trip on the Appalachian Trail, subsidized by The YP, for Reading city (PA) youth. The trip also involved local mentors, who partnered with the young people to accomplish the 7-day thru-hike.
I remember the incredible pride I felt after completing my first season of pee-wee football. I was telling everyone about the season and I was so glad that I stuck with it.
At a young age of eight, playing football was hard on me. In fact, I was miserable most of the season. I wanted to quit on numerous occasions and I even cried at times. I remember several conversations with my dad during that season. I would ask if I could quit and he would always respond the same way: “You can make it through the season. You do not have to play next year, but you are not allowed to quit. We never…never…never quit!”
I was never any good at football, but I did play a few more seasons. I came back for more football because I learned that persevering through something difficult is rewarding. I grew to trust that on the other side of a seemingly insurmountable task is an incredible satisfaction. This feeling makes just about any amount of pain worth it.
Exposure 2012, a backpacking trip on the Appalachian Trail, was not easy for any of the six middle school aged boys from inner city reading.
On Wednesday, June 27th, at about 10 AM in the morning we walked into the woods high above the Schuylkill Valley below. The view was astounding, but we were carrying everything we would need to survive for the next four days. It was heavy.
Over the following days the boys walked, climbed, swam, made fires, cooked, fought, sweated, pumped water through filters, threw knives, whittled sticks, set up tents, made PB&J sandwiches, and survived in the woods. They saw many animals that they had never seen in the wild before including three diamondback rattlesnakes and a luna moth.
The trip was honestly a lot like a rollercoaster; moments of frustration and fatigue were followed by periods of sheer elation. Several boys struggled to carry their packs the whole way. They did not think they could make it. They wanted to quit…but THEY COULDN’T. The only way out was forward.
One particular part of the trail stretched visibly before us for what seemed like forever. When the boys got to this stretch many said: “We are never going to get there!”…”I can’t make it!”
I couldn’t help but think about the many situations in life that feel this way. When I get to feeling like I can’t make it, I draw on the promise of satisfaction from past trying experiences. I hope that much like my pee-wee football experience set the stage for much perseverance in my life; this trip will be a memory to help those six boys persevere through the trials in their lives.