Even in the 90's many of us were still living in the shadows of World War II. My grandmother, proud of her ability to move up the business ladder, without the fortune of going to university, took her pension and my grandfathers military pay and travelled the world with him. One month before they were due to board a flight to Australia, she lost her life partner unexpectedly to a stroke.
Even when the kamikaze bombers were peppering our shores, he was writing letters to her with aspirations for travel....
"You had better be prepared to roam, because I intend to do plenty of hiking and everything else as soon as I can. Well, I'm done with love thoughts of a happy future and dreams of untold joy."-Chuck
She later boarded that plane and a new life journey began for the next 20+ years.
It wasn't just the Koala sweatshirts, Great Wall t-shirts, and the assortment of world travel treasures that struck a cord with me. The need and desire to travel sunk deep into my DNA. The tales of far off land and a deeper connection with the world was something I had only heard of.
A legacy of a man I barely knew and a woman who empowered others and regaled them with her stories from around the world kept coming back to me. It wasn't until years after her passing that I would realize travel needed to be my full time expression of myself and a reflection of the world.
Other than my grandparents I didn't know anyone who traveled the world. In my early twenties I was bold enough to take my grandmothers encouragement to start on my own journey of world travel. Bit by the travel bug, I soon had my next adventure planned after a semester of living in Australia.
It wasn't as easy and glamorous as it sounds and I certainly didn't have one dime to spare and no fallback wallet to land on.
Spending my twenties on a shoestring travel budget that brought me closer to the people who lived and worked in the countries I visited infused me with a sense of humility and gratitude I couldn't have gotten any other way.
Coupled with the desire to find a sustainable and ethical way to give-back, along with the known impact travel had had on me, a new concept entered my mind. One cold New Years day standing in my kitchen I casually said "wouldn't be cool if we could provide travel scholarships?" Out of one random statement a new vision was born.
Give the gift of travel,
the gift that will keep on giving for years to come.