If I were 30-something, kid-less, mortgage-less and husband-less, and making my living as a freelance travel writer like Charyn Pfeuffer, I’d want to do exactly what she’s doing right now. That is, raising money to fund her Global Citizen Project, in which she travels to 12 countries over the course of 12 months, volunteering with 12 community projects.
How cool is that?
In her own words,
“In an attempt to connect and contribute, it is my plan to swap my BlackBerry for a backpack and volunteer around the world… It’s impossible to save the world with bite sized stints of service, but it’s my hope to promote responsible travel and volunteer tourism… I plan to embark on this adventure in June 2010 and will commit a minimum of two weeks of volunteer service per month.”
The prolific travel writer has contributed to more than 80 publications in her career spanning 12 years (that number again!). Not only is she planning to take a break from writing assignments, but she’s embarking on a year of travel to honor her mom, who passed away from lung cancer 20 years ago:
“In 1990, exactly two weeks before my mother’s passing, she disclosed a very short list of end-of-life regrets, including: ‘I never went to Europe.’ Her words, now my raison d’être, have inspired me to live life fully, spontaneously and with purpose. Okay, maybe it’s also been influenced by some strong-willed Taurus tendencies (the blessing and burden of sharing a birthday with Earth Day), but regardless, I’ve made deliberate choices to live a life of travel.”
The plan is for her to raise $20,000 in donations to cover the costs of travel, living expenses and other fees associated with her voluntourism. That’s just $1,666 per month — which means she’ll be spending money rather frugally. She won’t be living “on the road” the entire year, but rather traveling back to her Seattle home (and longtime boyfriend and dog) every month in between her minimum two-week stints of volunteering.
Of her planned schedule, Charyn says, “When I sat down with my boyfriend and said, ‘Hey, this is what I want to do. How can I achieve this and not destroy our relationship?’ this is a schedule we came up with. She further notes, “I also really want to have some time to soak up each experience, process it, and then mentally prepare for the next.”
Her anticipated projects take her mostly to Latin American countries, but she’s aiming to hit Europe and volunteer in her home state of Washington, too. Potential and confirmed projects include working some really great organizations that help local youth and improve the area environment.
How can you help? Donate money to assist Charyn in reaching her $20,000 fundraising goal. As of this writing, she’s already collected more than $3,300 in pledges. What’s really nifty about Kickstarter.com, the website that’s managing the fund collection for the Global Citizen Project, is that if she doesn’t reach her $20,000 goal by February 22, 2010, the entire project won’t be funded (i.e. your credit card won’t be charged, and unless a generous benefactor appears at the last minute, Charyn can’t follow through with her planned trip).
Another cool aspect of giving at Kickstarter.com: you can give as little as $1. And for certain increments ($10 up to $1,666) you can earn a “reward” if you like. For example, if you give $50, Charyn will mail you a half-pound of gourmet coffee; for $250 you earn a night at a Seattle hotel.
The Vacation Gals certainly want to see this project get off the ground, so we’re giving $40 to the Global Citizen Project, in the hopes that we’ll indeed be able to vicariously follow Charyn on her year-long endeavor; she’ll be updating her blog and Twitter feed with reports from the field along the way. Forty bucks isn’t much, but we’ve seen here in the travel blogging community how “every little bit counts,” especially with such charitable fundraising endeavors as Passports with Purpose, in which travel bloggers worldwide worked together to raise $27,000 in just one month to fund the building of a school in Cambodia.
We hope our readers will also help send Charyn on this very worthy adventure!