My passport recently expired, and I had to order a new one (one thing a travel blogger can’t be without is a passport). The last time I got my passport renewed it was in anticipation of a trip to India with my father and stepmother. In fact, ten years ago today that’s where I was.
India is a place of deep beauty and intense extremes. We have these extremes here in the United States of course, but because we have so many fewer people and such a different culture they tend to be more segregated and less on view. But in India the vastness of humanity is impossible to ignore. By way of example I offer these pictures from the Red Fort in Delhi. If I turned my head one way, I’d see vistas like this.
Turn in the other direction, and…
On my trip to India we visited many of the expect tourist destinations, the Amber Fort and City Palace in Jaipur; Fatepur Sikri the first planned city of the Mughals; and of course the Taj Mahal.
These places were all gorgeous and well worth a visit. If you are wanting to make your time more meaningful and are interested in gaining a skill/profession, you could always check out this
However, despite all my site seeing the highlight of the trip for me was going to a remote village where there are no landmarks or museums and where no tourist ever goes. This is where my father and mother spent the the two years immediately prior to my birth as Peace Corps volunteers.
I’ve written about how we were greeted there like movie stars, with requests for autographs. We were also welcomed and fed and generally shown every kindness. Although my father hadn’t been there in thirty years, although we live on the other side of the world, we were treated like neighbors.
The Indian people I met have me dreaming today of a return to their amazing country, and also thinking about what I can do to help in a place where there is as much need as there is generosity. Which leads me to the annual Passports With Purpose fundraiser.
I’m very proud that I have participated in Passports With Purpose since it started two years ago. The first year we raised money for Heifer International. Last year we built a school in Cambodia (for pictures, see here). This year the goal is even more ambitious: To raise $50,000 and build an entire village in India in partnership with Friends of Lafti.
For more than 50 years, LAFTI has been helping the poorest of the poor in India. For about $2,000, LAFTI can build a home, for which the land title is given to the woman of the household. The hope for Passports With Purpose this year is to raise enough money to build approximately 25 homes to create the Passports Village in Karunganni, located in the state of Tamil Nadu in southeastern India.
I’m so pleased today to announce my prize for the 2010 Passports With Purpose raffle: Two adult and two child 3-day Go Cards from Smart Destinations for the city of the winner’s choice. Whether you’re interested in Oahu or New York City or one of twelve other cities in between, these cards offer you three days of admission to numerous museums, tours, and other attractions.
In the coming weeks I’ll be profiling some of the fantastic things you can do with these cards, but for today I”ll simply say this: A family of four could easily cover most of the costs of a three-day vacation, leaving lots of money for a stay in a fabulous hotel (which, of course you could also win as part of Passports With Purpose if you’re really lucky!).
In fact, from gear to getaways there are lots of chances to win great prizes. Every $10 that you donate gets you once chance toward the prize of your choice. And it’s up to you – you can donate $50 and split your chances among five different prizes or put all in one basket for the really killer prize of your choice. You can even make the donations in honor of a loved one (they make great holiday gifts!). All donations are tax deductible.
To browse the other prizes and purchase chances to win, please visit the Passports With Purpose website between today and December 13, 2010 . And if you’re a participating blogger (or anyone else with a Monday dream) please feel free to share your link below. That will give all of us a chance to dream about what we can win together.
Many, many thanks to Smart Destinations for their generous donation of my prize this year.
And finally, gratitude to all of the wonderful Passports With Purpose sponsors who are making such an ambitious goal possible: BootsnAll, LiveMocha, Round the World with Us, HomeAway, Traveller’s Point, Hostelling International, Quintess, Raveable, TravelPost, and Uptake.
And to see another great prize, check out today’s blog caravan from Best Family Travel Advice.