Dearest fellow travelers, as you know, I’ve been saving for this trip for a very long time, and I’m proud to say that it’s all my own savings. Still, I’m not one to turn down others’ generosity. Some friends and family members have expressed interest in helping me out a little, and I’m grateful to them and want to make that process as easy as possible.
I’m setting up this page with special excursions I hope to make that are a little pricier than the fee for a museum or national park. You can take a look at these and decide if you’d like to contribute a little toward getting me there. I think this is more fun than handing me $5 and hoping I do something worthwhile with it. I can’t guarantee that I’ll make it to every spot, since my itinerary isn’t set in stone, but I promise that I’m very interested in each of these and will do my best to visit them.
Click on the PayPal button below or in the sidebar on the homepage and you’ll be directed to a page that will ask you to type in the amount to donate and the purpose for that donation — here you can write in what expedition you’re helping fund. Below that, you will need to log in to your PayPal account (no, you don’t need to have one, you can just pay by credit card, although it’s easy and safe to set one up if you want to) and you can say how you want to pay from there. You can pay with a credit card or a direct bank transfer.
I’ll send you a thank-you note and a postcard from the expedition you’re contributing to, and unless you want to remain anonymous or unheralded, I’ll give you a big shout-out on this here blog. If you just want to give generally, rather than for a specific expedition, that works too.
Please feel no pressure to pitch in anything at all; this page really did come out of requests from others, not a desire to fleece my loyal readers. If you do have some coins to spare, I’ll be very grateful. Thanks!
DID IT, LOVED IT – Dolphin Encounter at Kaikoura, New Zealand – $140
I love the water and am fairly certain that any previous life of mine was spent as a mermaid. Also, whenever I filled out one of those questionnaires as a kid (if you were a color, what would you be, etc.), I always said I’d either be a dolphin or a tiger if I were an animal. So swimming with dolphins sounds amazing. The trouble is, most places that keep dolphins in captivity treat them horribly, and most experts agree that dolphins shouldn’t be kept captive at all. I was pleased, then, to find this place on the south island of New Zealand; they take boats of tourists out to popular dolphin spots and let you swim in the open ocean with them. They don’t let you touch the dolphins, and they talk about conservation efforts in the area, and meanwhile, you’re floating around in the same waters as free and frolicking dolphins. Yes, please!
DID IT, LOVED IT – Outback Tour to Uluru and Kings Canyon, Australia - $350-675
Uluru (the original name for what is sometimes known as Ayers Rock) is possibly the most iconic image to come out of Australia. A huge monolith rising out of the desert, it’s sacred to the Aboriginal people who live there, and they conduct tours around the base of the rock to explain the significance of it and talk about the region. Kings Canyon and Kata Tjuta are other formations nearby, and unlike Uluru, you are encouraged to climb in these areas. You can fly or take a train into Alice Springs, the nearest town at 5 hours away!, and then either rent a car or take a tour out to the area. Driving five hours in the Outback by myself sounds like a dangerous start to my trip, so I’m going to take one of the tours. I’m still researching which one works best for me, although whichever company I go with, I’ll probably do the 3-day camping one. Epic sunset photos, here we come!
Elephant Nature Park, Thailand – $400
Many elephants in Southeast Asia are used for logging, under hard conditions that significantly lower their quality of life and shorten their life span. The Elephant Nature Park rescues elephants and brings them back to health here. Visitor and volunteer fees (a week of volunteering is $400) fund their continued recovery and maintenance. Volunteers feed, bathe, and clean up after the elephants. I read a wonderful first-hand account of volunteering here, and it sounds great–hard work, but great.