Travel is both fun and educational; the two go hand in hand. But while travel broadens and enriches the mind, it is ultimately up to individuals to choose to protect the places they set out to explore. At Insight Vacations, we choose to live up to the moniker of “responsible” travel, not only respecting the destinations we visit but also by creating the opportunities to have a positive impact on resident communities. Although there are countless ways to travel sustainably, we’ve picked out four projects that Insight Vacations work on with the TreadRight Foundation, where travelers can satisfy their hearts as well as their minds.
Whitmuir Society, Scotland
Seeking to develop its 140-acre farm at Whitmuir, West Linton, Scotland, as a living, learning space that entices visitors to educate themselves about sustainable food and farming, the Whitmuir Society is a pioneer in more ways than one. Community owned and a keen advocate of partially converting farmland into woodland, hedges and shelterbelts in order to promote biodiversity, a safe haven for wildlife and the perfect balance of trees and crops, the farm rears traditional breeds of cattle, sheep, pigs, turkeys and hens, whilst recycling everything it can, making sure no nutrients go to waste. Guaranteeing all this good work gets the attention it deserves, the TreadRight Foundation has contributed towards the construction of a farm yurt where guests of Insight Vacations on the Best of Britain trip can gather to learn the secrets of organic farming, its environmental benefits, and participate in cooking demonstrations.
Laboratorio Giuditta Brozzetti, Italy
Giuditta Brozzetti’s own travelogue started in the midst of the First World War. A housewife turned elementary school director, she journeyed by horse-drawn carriage around the Italian countryside, becoming more and more curious about the noises that came from the houses she passed along the way. Eventually, she discovered that these sounds came from clattering looms and became determined to ensure that the art of hand-weaving textiles on antique wooden looms would continue into the modern age. Four generations later, the Laboratorio Giuditta Brozzetti is still going. Located in the medieval city of Perugia, Italy, it uses funds provided by TreadRight Foundation grants to establish educational tools that spread the tradition of weaving and also build e-commerce capabilities that enable online sales to spread. Insight Vacations guests can visit the Umbrian hilltop on the Ultimate Italy tour and see for themselves how the art of hand-weaving textiles has been passed down the generations.
The Storyboot School, Canada
The tale of the Storyboot School, or the “Manitobah Mukluks Storyboot Project” to give it its full title, begins with a single Cree artist. Fast forward to 2015 and the project showcased the work of 25 talented Aboriginal artisans from all across North America and emerged as a global player in the online marketplace, where Aboriginal artists sell their one-of-a-kind mukluk (soft boots) and moccasins, made in the traditional way. Using its TreadRight Foundation grant to set up an educational workspace at The Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto, Canada, the project also displays the work of Storyboot artists in the museum’s gift shop, creating the perfect synthesis of cross-cultural instruction and real market opportunities. Insight Vacations guests in Toronto have the opportunity to visit the Storyboot school to learn about the story that celebrates Aboriginal values and history on the Trans-Canada Grandeur tour.
Centro de Textiles Tradicionales del Cusco, Peru
Officially established in 1996, the Traditional Textile Center of Cusco employs more than 500 individuals from the Cusco region in Peru. Encouraging the continuation of the 10,000 year-old Andean textile traditions and providing support to those working in the heritage industry affected by the hostile effects of globalization, it originally began as a collective group of weavers in the 1980s. Now, having interviewed over 80 weavers and established 44 patterns (with all their histories and meanings), the Center goes from strength to strength, using its TreadRight Foundation grant to finish the construction of a traditional weaver’s home at the Chinchero Weaver’s Center, which will then open its doors to locals and Insight Vacations guests in order to provide an education in traditional weaving techniques and promote the sale of textiles produced. Insight Vacations guests should also look out for a certain Nilda Callanaupa Alvarez, too. A Quenchua and scholar, she is only too happy to meet Insight Vacations visitors intrigued by the enterprise on the Treasure of the Incas tour.
If these projects have prompted your interest in responsible, sustainable tourism, why not discover some of the other projects that Insight Vacations and its partner the TreadRight Foundation help fund, here.