Are you interested in joining a small group tour that I will organize and lead? The destination that interests me is Jamaica, for a couple of reasons. First off, I’ve already been there and know where I want to go and what to do. My last trip was to the north shore of the island, which is where most of the resorts in Jamaica are located. I was sponsored by the Jamaican Tourism Board and Sandals Resorts in Ocho Rios, who offered me fine food, luxury accommodation and a personal guide to visit schools and save sea turtles. Sandals run a fine shop but they are very high end (expensive) and cater towards honeymooners, which is not my brand. Very quietly they sponsor many charitable projects in local villages that they really should advertise. They’ll take you to schools so you can donate supplies and meet with the kids. The problem with most all-inclusive resorts is they have gates and security and you seldom get to meet the locals.
Security is most certainly an issue in Jamaica but only in certain areas, and when you travel in a group in a van or shuttle you are quite safe. According to various news reports, The Jamaica Defence Force has moved against organized crime to quell an upsurge in violence fuelled by fighting over drugs, illegal weapons and lottery scams that target elderly people in the US. None of that has anything to do with my proposed itinerary, which would tour the south shore, an entirely different market where there are no all-inclusive resorts and tourists are welcomed.
To get started, log on to the wonderful website Pack for a purpose.org. This wonderful organization lists hundreds of hotels in the world that support “meaningful travel.” These hotels have made partnerships with schools and other community services that you can visit and support through donations of supplies, money or your skills. Without the assistance of the hotels you would have to research your itinerary very carefully and make your own connections. The hotels also help plan daily activities like hikes, boat rides, trips to museums and tourist locations, and of course they feed and accommodate you as well.
My proposed itinerary is posted elsewhere on this website, with all the details about where we would go and stay and what we might do for fun activities. My trips are a combination of school and other visits, free time, day activities and meals, and meeting local folks, all done at a relaxed speed. After all, these trips are a combination of adventure and vacation, and not hard work. The only person working will be me. I’ll be shooting photos and video every step of the way and happy to show you how to do the same. After all, memories are an important piece of the package. So is anticipation. Planning the trip is as important as experiencing it. I invite you to join me in the entire process as we discuss where to go and what to do.
Why else go to Jamaica? Secondly, its warm and sunny all year round. People speak English (with an accent), the food and music are great, and people are very friendly towards tourists. While there is free time every day, I don’t encourage anyone to wander around the world by themselves where they don’t know the local customs or rules. Safety is always found in numbers, and we will be led by local guides who know what they are doing. Take a look at the Get Involved section of this site and learn where I’d like to lead you and what we would do there. I look forward to hearing back from you with any questions.