Understanding Travelers Philanthropy


Philanthropic Travel No Mere Diversion


Acropolis by
Dean Chamberlain

David Chamberlain is the founder of Exquisite Safaris, a travel company that combines private luxury with philanthropy. Targeting affluent clients who seek meaning in their travels, Chamberlain’s company provides luxury vacations and, at the same time, an opportunity to contribute to society. Because these travelers have the resources to do so, they can really make a difference in the communities they visit.

Chamberlain calls it philanthropic travel, the latest socially relevant business model in the travel industry. Vacation packages are custom-designed to fit a client’s needs. For example, a stay in a five-star hotel is combined with a visit to a humanitarian outreach project. Some clients bring along their children, exposing them to philanthropic travel at an early age to provide the right bearing and meaning in their lives.

In a recent interview, Chamberlain said philanthropic travel literally saved his life, especially after he quit the U.S. Army. He talked about how most of his clients have maintained a personal bond with the people they have visited. He also discussed how philanthropic travel can bring personal fulfillment and empowerment and how travel can be the best path to world peace.

What inspired you to create a travel company like Exquisite Safaris? “I love to travel, I love helping others, learning, and I love to have a great time. Meditation helped me realize that we can create whatever we want -finding peace within was the first step and clearly my inspiration. Exquisite Safaris Philanthropic Travel has been waiting for me to wake up and smell the music of life.”

What exactly is travel philanthropy? Are we seeing a social revolution in the travel industry? Exquisite Safaris is committed to creating heart-to-heart personal connections for sentient human beings worldwide. If children are introduced to the philanthropic world at a young age, I am sure that experience will manifest itself later in a better world for all of us.

Philanthropic travel is more than a mere luxury or diversion; it is a source of deep personal fulfillment providing a powerful connection to the world in which we live. As travelers develop ties to their favorite destinations and look for ways to give back to the communities they visit, philanthropic travel introduces openhearted travelers to local residents and helps them understand the challenges of the people in the places they visit. Philanthropic travel generates resources for outreach programs that support and empower people by providing clean water, medical and dental facilities, schools, training, jobs, homes, micro-finance and entrepreneurial guidance.

What are some of the humanitarian projects lined up by Exquisite Safaris? How do you choose a particular project?
We prefer projects that support female children, orphans, the handicapped and who ill receive medical assistance and education. We prefer American and European travelers with children who have difficulty in school, lack direction as teenagers and are at risk for joining gangs, the military and other nationalistic institutionalized insanity.

Given the resources of these travelers, do you think travel philanthropy is much more effective in terms of social transformation than “voluntourism?”
Personal resources have no bearing on the decision between philanthropic travel and voluntourism. They are both excellent ways to connect authentically with the people in the place you visit. I have found philanthropic travel to be an experience that a larger number of travelers have the preference, tolerance and time available to experience. I am an advocate for literally and figuratively building bridges that connect people at the heart.

The choice between philanthropic travel and voluntourism is whether you want to spend a morning or afternoon introduction to the humanitarian project, later making a financial commitment to support it to sustainability or whether you want to spend your entire vacation there banging a hammer. A majority of people want the connection to the project and the personal bonds that are forged in that experience without taking construction jobs away from those you intend to help -we are visitors there after all. Typically, our philanthropic travelers are invited back to spend longer than a morning or afternoon, but as a first experience philanthropic travel is perfect for most.

Can you describe a typical traveler’s day in Exquisite Safaris? What are the top destinations picked by affluent travelers?
We do not deliver typical days at Exquisite Safaris. If anyone experiences a typical day, I will refund their payment less 10 percent we deliver to the project that you visit! Everyone has their own favorite destinations. The best way to begin to understand our experience is to learn more about our partners, guides, destinations and then view our photos.

I am interested to know the level of participation of your clients for philanthropic activities and projects. Do they continue to help a cause long after the trip?
We encourage our clients to learn more about philanthropy before, during and after their philanthropic travel experience by working with professional philanthropic advisor partners like Tracy Gary to define their personal philanthropic family legacy. Ninety percent of all philanthropic travelers have developed a personal bond to the people they meet at our projects and continue to support that relationship by referring friends to visit and contributing in giving circles at home.

Travel in itself is a mind-expanding experience, how enriching or overwhelming can travel philanthropy be for people who are so used to living a luxury lifestyle?
People are intelligent, resilient and compassionate regardless of their personal success, affluence and celebrity. We take care of the logistics and brief travelers on protocol for their visit. We are not responsible for the emotional endorphins created during their experience. We are using luxury philanthropic travel to educate, empower and inspire people to awaken and engage. We hope through that experience they will evolve into even more compassionate individuals and leaders for peace on earth.

How did travel philanthropy change you as a person? What keeps you motivated?

Philanthropic travel saved my life; I quit the U.S. Army to follow my dream of world peace through travel. That’s enough to keep anyone motivated.

What are your most memorable travel moments?
Spending time with the children of the Vietnam Friendship House just south of Hanoi, Vietnam. Experiencing shamanic rituals in the Andes Mountains of Ecuador and trance dancing in the Kalahari with the Bushmen.

Learn More:
Travel Philanthropy has Arrived: WealthBulletin.com
Understanding Philanthropic Travel
Travel Connoisseur Magazine on Exquisite Safaris Philanthropic Travel Worldwide
Fast Company Magazine on Philanthropic Travel
PersonalLifemedia.com on Philanthropic Travel
DIY Foreign Policy: Philanthropic Travel
Philanthropic Traveler funded High School opens near Victoria Falls, Zambia
The Fable of Stone Soup
My First Philanthropic Travel Experience
Affluent Parents Dedicated to Instilling Philanthropic Values in their Children
Giving while Living: The Deeper News About the New Philanthropy
Dr. Jeffrey Sachs on the Strategic Steps Out of Poverty
Are We Talking about Philanthropy Yet? No, We Are Not

Philanthropic Travelers:
Visionary Philanthropic Traveler Marc Gold 100 Friends Project
Visionary Philanthropic Traveler Chellie Kew
Rachael Paulson Philanthropic Traveler
Milton & Fred Ochieng: Philanthropic Travelers
Jane Kaye- Bailey: Philanthropic Traveler
Richard Branson: Philanthropic Traveler
Angelina Jolie: Philanthropic Traveler
Oprah Winfrey: Philanthropic Traveler
Palm Beach Life Magazine: Philanthropic Travelers

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