I’m walking down a well-worn path to a river which flows through the Elephant Nature Park in the Chiang Mai region of Thailand. Mist settles into the ridges of the lush hillsides as the low grumbles and high pitched trumpeting of the elephants resounds through the air; most welcome sounds to the otherwise quiet solitude of the afternoon.
I grab a bucket along the muddy riverbank and wade knee deep into the water beside a younger elephant who eagerly enters the river, clumsy yet elegant. I gently place a hand on her side and press my face and entire body against hers , breathing deeply as if to inhale the energy of her being, holding onto that moment as long as possible – Syncing my breath to hers, I felt in my heart the grave outlook of her species’ future and the urgency with which we need to take action to ensure their survival.
To say that being in the company of elephants who have been rescued from neglect, abuse, and myriad other dire situations was humbling and eye opening would be an understatement. In fact, it was the turning point in the evolution of my world view and the foundation on which I try to live my life, which is built upon doing my best to become more aware of our complex relationship with animals, our environment, and the various ways in which our actions have consequences for everyone on the planet.
Traveling has a way of doing that ; expanding our worldview , helping us to grow and become more conscious individuals. It enables us to connect with a diverse array of people with whom we might not otherwise have the opportunity to meet.
Whether you’re booking a trip to explore a different culture, volunteer with a non-profit, or simply head to the beach to relax and sip on cocktails in a serene setting, I think you’ll agree that preserving the natural wildlife, like the elephants in Thailand, and beauty of the places we love to visit is very important.
So what if you could help do just that simply by booking a vacation?
Over the years, as the internet has become woven into our lives in ways we never would have though possible a mere 20 years ago, travel has become exceedingly streamlined and easy. It’s literally as simple as a quick Google search and a few clicks of a button.
Travel websites acting as our own super efficient travel agents have become a dime a dozen, but Wander turns the simple act of booking a vacation into one that can help to conserve the world’s biodiversity by preserving nature and wildlife. And it’s at no extra cost to you. Really!
Just as intuitive to use as the travel websites you’re used to using, Wander gives you the added bonus of giving back while traveling. For each hotel booked, a portion of what you pay goes to a social cause of your choosing so you can support a cause that’s important to you.
One of the five causes to choose from is the World Wildlife Fund.
Travelers like me who care deeply about our planet and all its inhabitants can help protect critical habitats and species in need, like the elephants in Thailand, which is one of the WWF’s priority species.
Priority species are those species whose survival is not guaranteed by habitat conservation alone. For Asian elephants alone, the WWF is on the ground working to improve elephant protection and management, build capacity within range states, mitigate human-elephant conflict, and reduce poaching and the illegal ivory trade. This obviously requires a lot of financial support, so it really is a no brainer to put money that you’re going to spend anyway toward a good cause by booking your travel through Wander.
Travel is a privilege. It can be as simple as taking a short break away from the responsibilities of one’s day-to-day or as profoundly life changing as my experience at the Elephant Nature Sanctuary. But wherever and however you’re traveling, you should do your best to respect and protect the places you visit.
Start your trip off right, and travel better with Wander.
Read more about Wander from some of my fellow Ethical Writers Co members
Wander Laughs, Use Your Travel for Good With Wander Travel
Terumah, How to Spend 24 Hours in Chicago