Tag Archives: Fathom Travel

Travel Deep and Do Good with @fathomtravel

life jacket

Have you been hearing the buzz about fathom impact travel, a new innovative cruise line from Carnival Cruises? I’ll be honest, I’d never been on a cruise and didn’t really know if it was for me. My adventures with fathom impact travel changed that BIGTIME.

Fathom is a unique experience where you as the traveler become a part of a community on board as well as in the country you visit. I was lucky enough to be on the inaugural cruise to the Dominican Republic. Not only are you offered a variety of activities to experience the Dominican like a tourist but the bigger and more important part of the fathom travel experience is choosing from several impact activities where you’re working alongside local Dominicans, learning about their lifestyle and helping them to make a sustainable future for themselves. The DR is a beautiful island but it’s also an emerging country where education, poverty and lack of jobs is a real issue. What Carnival and fathom have done for a big part of the untapped population on the North Coast is provide thousands of jobs and help to sustain existing coops that employ hundreds of people. It’s a win-win. As you may recall, it’s very important to me to give back when traveling. So this experience was perfect for me.

fathom ship

A little bit about the ship, cruise experience and more on the impact activities from a first time cruiser:

The fathom ship, The Adonia, isn’t one of those enormous ships you may think of when you hear the word cruise. It holds just over 700 passengers, that’s it. The ship has just been redone and I thought it was very nice – classic casual. The food on board was terrific. There was a buffet for the quick bite, a casual sit down dining room for those who like service and, finally, a higher-end restaurant for a little more chi chi experience. All dining options offer a variety of things to eat, of course, with a bit of a Dominican spin!

This week long experience also wasn’t a big boozy trip like I envision some cruises to be. You sail to the Dominican Republic in a day and a half, then spend three days experiencing the island (still staying on board, which I loved…no repacking!!) and then another day and a half sailing back to Miami. During the days we were docked most people weren’t even on board the ship. Now, having said that, of course there are bars and plenty of options for a nice cocktail. AND surprising to me, very reasonable.

cacoa

In keeping with IMPACT TRAVEL and giving back, you will find environmentally and socially aware products on board too. Things from toiletries to items sold in the duty free shops were all about this. I bought two amazing items myself – a Bajalia bracelet made by women in developing regions – providing them jobs and a Krochet Kids top made by families in developing countries supported by this international non-profit.

On board programming offered was about community building, learning about the DR, teaching you to be a great global citizen and health and wellness. And, of course, there was also plenty of entertainment for any and all. The impact activities offered once in the Dominican Republic were things like reforestation, teaching English, water filtration production, recycled paper and chocolate women’s coops, etc. There is something for everyone here. Some activities are more hands on but more strenuous and others are perfect for less active people.

reforestation

Things that I didn’t know or expect about cruising and the fathom travel experience. Next trip, I would do two impact activities in one day and one more on another. This would leave more time to explore the DR on my own or do additional excursions. I had no clue about wifi being so difficult to connect to or the extreme expense of it, so buyer beware and plan to unplug on board. Never having cruised before, I was concerned about motion sickness. I was completely fine but some were affected by it. Apparently, there are these awesome motion sickness bands that almost immediately alleviate the symptoms. Finally, I could have planned and packed better for some of the impact activities so look into this more carefully.

I was a guest on the inaugural Fathom voyage to the Dominican Republic but at a price point starting at $499, I’d say this experience is priceless!

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Filed under cruises, dominican republic, travel

Why I Donate and Volunteer While Traveling

There is no arguing that donating items or volunteering your time is universally a good thing to do. I especially enjoy doing this when I’m traveling. For me, it’s a wonderful way to feel more connected to a destination. In fact, my favorite travel memories and connections have been when I volunteered or donated supplies to those in need. I am so fortunate to be able to travel and visit different parts of the world. It’s a small thing I can do and it goes farther than many realize.

cambodia habitat for humanity

My first travel volunteer experience was with Habitat for Humanity in Cambodia. It was truly so meaningful to me. I learned so much about myself on that trip. I had never been to Asia before and knew no one on my build. I had never seen that kind of poverty before. But working side by side these people living in poverty to build them a better home was truly so enriching. I will never ever forget the local people working on my build. They were such kind spirits that touched my heart. And, I believe they won’t ever forget me either.

india

But there are other small ways to give back that don’t take a week-long commitment. When I traveled to India I worked with an organization called Globe Drop to find a donation opportunity. I was able to purchase items in India for an orphanage of girls. The purchases helped the local economy and cost a fraction of what it would in the US. It was a win-win. All I had to do was take the time to buy the items and then go deliver them to the orphanage. A small amount of time that went a long way making these girls learning and living experiences better.

jamaica

Another small way I helped on another travel adventure was to collect and deliver children’s books to a foundation in Jamaica that help to educate impoverished children who would not otherwise have an education. People are always looking to give away books over time and, in many cases, they’d like them to go into good hands. I just took a little time to build up a collection and then contacted Rockhouse Foundation and asked if they would like them. They said yes so I packed them up in my bag and traveled to Jamaica. Again, the delivery just took a little time out my day and was so worth the cause.

peru1

My most recent volunteer/donation experience was in Peru. My friend and I found an opportunity to help orphan children with their school work and play with them for a few days in Cusco. To see their smiles every day brought so much laughter and joy to us. The same organization, Peru Trek 4 Good, that connected us to the orphanage also collects clothing and toys for poor people living in the mountains. My friend and I were able to bring three suitcases full of clothes, coats and toys to be delivered to a small Andean community as Christmas gifts – more than 200 parents and children. Again, so many people have things that they want to give away that others could really use. It was just a matter of collecting items, paying to get them to Peru and delivered to the organization. We were thrilled when we saw all the happy faces at Christmastime.

peru trek 4 good

This week I’m off on another volunteer adventure in travel. I’m excited to be participating in a new concept in travel – Impact Travel with Fathom. I will be cruising to the Dominican Republic and doing a few service projects over the days I’m there. I can’t wait to get my hands dirty and see the smiling faces of locals there. You really learn so much through these experiences and get more locally connected. I think Impact Travel is the way forward. You’re helping out others, raising awareness and empowering people to think about traveling and giving back.

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Filed under cambodia, india, jamaica, travel