Every month I post a solo insight, an insight into solo travel and a more personal post than a city guide. For this month's insight, I was writing a post about how to be a conscious traveller in 2022. I had nearly finished it when my instinct told me to stop writing it. You know that feeling when you're not quite resonating with what you're writing? So I walked away from it for a few days.
This morning I awoke with a knowing. I instinctively knew the reason why I wasn't meant to write that post. Why I had been so stuck writing it. It wasn't the right post and I was being pushed to write another.
But I wasn't just being pushed to write on a different topic; I was being pushed to step out of my comfort zone (something that seems to be the theme of this month for me).
I had been toying with an idea for a few years and it was one of those ideas that I had always put off. The idea was too big and it just seemed so unattainable.
“I don't know how to do it. I'll start it when travel picks up again. I'll look into it when I'm more successful.”
There was always an excuse that I would come up with and a story I would always tell myself. The biggest one, “who am I to start this?” But that niggling feeling was constantly there, bubbling away every time I travelled.
Have you ever had a vision so big that it scares you?
This idea was bought to the forefront again during my recent trip to West Africa. I saw children working on the streets and living in poverty and I knew that there was more I could be doing to help. Not in a ‘white saviour' way but in a sustainable way to create opportunities to help lift children out of poverty and get the care they need after experiencing any trauma. There are some amazing organisations and projects out there that I have come across that are in alignment with how I want to help.
But my idea was still too scary. I did some research then parked it again, focusing on my Solo Travel Q&As and updating my plan your dream solo trip course for this year.
Then the situation happened in Ukraine. And as I heard the first-hand experience of someone I had met in Ukraine during my trip there, I felt hopeless.
How could I possibly help those fleeing the country? More importantly, how can I help the children that shouldn't be experiencing the fear, the confusion, and the displacement and separation from their parents as a result of the conflict?
I don't want to feel hopeless anymore…
Ten years ago this month I started my blog to document if there was life after divorce (yes there is!) And my journey has taken me to 136 countries. But the more I travel, the more I see the poverty and issues within countries. I feel that as travellers, we have a duty to give back to the communities of the countries that we visit and to empower the lives of the children that we meet.
I have always donated 10% of my net profits to organisations helping vulnerable girls about the globe but it's time to step up and do more.
So I'm starting a Foundation.
Girl about the Globe Foundation
Girl about the Globe has always been an advocate for conscious travel. My strapline is “Maximum adventure, minimum impact,” and my vision is to create 100,000 conscious travellers and to impact the lives of 100,000 vulnerable girls about the globe before 2025.
I believe that every girl in every country should have access to shelter, water, education, aid, love, and protection, and I aim to empower and help those who don’t. I choose organisations that align with these values and I currently donate to:
Protection: War Child empowers children and young people in conflict areas by providing psychosocial support, stimulating education and protecting children from the trauma of war.
Love: Invisible Girl Project is a non-profit organisation that seeks to end the atrocity of gendercide in India. They raise global awareness concerning the loss of female lives in India, pursue justice, and assist in the rescue and care for girls.
Shelter: Street Child has dedicated street teams and social workers who gain the trust of street children to help them back on the road to a secure family environment. They also work in rural areas to prevent children from a life on the streets.
Education: – In Afghanistan, instead of going to school, girls are sent to factories to work, forced to marry, or denied an education by being told to stay at home. Malala Fund's aim is to give every girl hope for tomorrow, and believe that nothing is more important than a girl’s education.
Water: Globally, 785 million people don’t have access to safe water. Just a Drop brings sustainable safe water, sanitation and hygiene projects to communities. Their work has reached over 1.5 million people with safe water and sanitation.
Aid: The International Rescue Committee is a global humanitarian aid and relief non-governmental organisation that responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises.
For the Foundation I'll continue to donate 10% of my net profits to these organisations helping vulnerable girls and I want to start new projects in countries too! But I also want to concentrate on hope.
That's where the trauma bears come in. Trauma bears are a way of providing comfort to a child affected by trauma, to show them that others are thinking of them and to give them a feeling of hope.
I came up with the idea of a trauma bear when I was approached by a man in a cafe in Azerbaijan. He was deaf and selling teddies as a way of income. I immediately bought one from him and my little pink teddy became my travelling companion, travelling with me on my ongoing travels. Even when its eye fell off, I kept it with me.
It was small enough to carry in my backpack and it gave me a sense of comfort travelling alone, especially when I had those lonely moments on the road. Then I had a realisation. If it gave me – a grown woman – so much comfort, what would it give a young girl going through trauma?
I researched it and discovered that my idea wasn't new. Trauma ‘teddies' were an initiative started by the Australia Red Cross in 1990. They asked people to knit teddies and then sent the knitted teddies to children affected by disaster events around the globe.
So again, I sat with the idea for years not doing anything about it. Not really believing that I could do it or even knowing how to do it. Then I saw a news report of a child clutching her teddy bear as her family left Ukraine. And I knew it was the right time to step out of my own way and make my vision of trauma bears come true.
My goal is to send these soft little bears to children that are affected by conflict. To show them that others are thinking of them, to give them comfort at night and to give them a feeling of hope within a traumatic period in their lives. But I can't do it alone.
The Humanitarian Girl about the Globe
So I'm launching the humanitarian girl about the globe to coincide with the Girl about the Globe Foundation.
But this isn't a donation platform. Instead, it's a membership where you'll receive products and services in exchange for your support and because it's connected with Girl about the Globe, it also empowers you to travel solo as well as giving back. For every membership, I'll send a trauma bear to a child in a conflict zone.
Girl about the Globe already stands for empowerment, freedom and being our authentic selves. But the humanitarian girl about the globe believes in unity and compassion for the world. She wants to help build a better world for our children and learn about the issues affecting the lives of children to help them transcend their circumstances and provide them with the opportunities that every child should have.
Why become a humanitarian GatG?
Because you believe in what Girl about the Globe stands for. You share our vision and want to make an impact too. The humanitarian traveller cares about the people in the country that they visit and want to help alleviate the girls from poverty and change their lives.
The membership is monthly and there are 4 different levels to join:
The pink backpack is for you if you would like to support GatG and believe in our vision.
You'll receive your name on the Girl about the Globe Foundation as a Patreon to say a massive thank you for helping to support our vision. You’ll also receive a virtual badge showing that you are a humanitarian Girl about the Globe. We'll send a trauma bear to a child affected by conflict.
All of the above. Plus, receive all of the Girl about the Globe digital products including our Plan Your Dream Solo Trip course for 2022, our Solo Travel Starter Bundle, and free tickets to our Solo Travel Workshops. Plus our Solo Travel Card, a loyalty card for solo travellers where you get to tell us what brands you love and we go and ask them for discounts! (And hope they say yes!) And because February is ‘National Boost Your Self-Esteem' month, you’ll also receive a 30-day empowerment plan to help you feel more confident.
All of the above plus as an illuminated GatG, you have your say on which destinations you would like content produced for next.
All of the above plus a 30 minute one-on-one with me every 2 months for either a distance reiki session, help with empowerment to travel solo, or personal help with planning your trip.
Maybe there's something that's holding you back from travelling or you're facing difficulties in life and want to speak to someone who broke free from society, opted out of a divorce and forged my own path in life. I’ve solo travelled in my 20s. 30s and 40’s. I’ve volunteered, worked abroad, travelled mainly independently and live a location independent life. My experience as a Samaritan has given me valuable listening skills to help you unpick what you may be feeling.
How your subscription helps
Plus, every month, I'll share a journalistic story highlighting issues that I have come across in my travels, and as soon as I hear of any products or organisations that are doing their bit to help the world, you'll be the first to know about them.
I'm really excited about starting a Foundation! We can help make a difference and I would love it if you would join me on this journey. If this resonates with you and you would like to be a humanitarian girl about the globe, you can find out more about the Patreon membership below.
If this isn't something that interests you but you would still like to help impact the lives of more vulnerable girls, just continue to book your trip through the site and I'll donate 10% of net profits to the organisations listed above. Or spread the love to all other solo travellers that you meet for lots of free karma points 🙂 (find all the booking resources here).
Thank you! Lisa x
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