Creating Value As You Travel

IMG_0468As individuals with the capability to travel, it can be so easily forgotten that our opportunities to take a trip away from our current environment is a privilege and not a right.

Whether it is a weekend away with friends or a few months abroad in foreign lands, it is an opportunity for us to make a difference to the areas we travel to or through.

Honestly, it is why I started my non-profit initiative Project #ShowSumLove because I believe that value creation is more than just money. It is also being able to empower individuals through resources and opportunities.

At the end of the day, we’re all human and greatness can’t thrive if the resources and opportunities are not available.

Prior to leaving for Ecuador, it was my mission to raise funds to help those affected by the earthquake and I knew it was something I had to do.

Honestly, imagine having everything, and losing all that you had or having very little to begin with and being robbed of everything you relied on for sustenance.

FullSizeRenderThanks to my network at home in Toronto and fellow, kind-hearted bloggers who donated, it allowed me to raise over C$1,600 to purchase 17 LifeStraw Family 1.0 water filters (18,000L per filter) as well as basic necessities and treats for the kids at the Santa Maria de Esperenza Orphanage in Montañita. In addition to the financial donations, I brought down a suitcase of medical supplies on behalf of Not Just Tourists Toronto to a small clinic in Valdivia as well as a bag of hygiene product donations collected from Toronto which were deployed to those in the north of Ecuador through Montañita En Accion.

My initial mission evolved into 3 mini projects which was an incredible experience. It allowed me to work with locals and local businesses to provide resources needed to help re-build the lives and areas affected by poverty and of course, the earthquake. If it weren’t for the support and help from Montañita En Accion, Montañita Spanish School and Community Hostel (phenomenal strategic partners) the execution of this initiative in Ecuador would not have been possible.

I’m not rich and don’t work for a non-profit, so how did I make this possible as a solo traveller?

Easy. All it takes is a little passion, planning and organization.


Clinica de Valdivia
Strategic Partners: Not Just Tourists Toronto and Montañita Spanish School

Montañita Spanish school has a number of volunteer programs for students, one of which is at a clinic in Valdivia located 20 mins away from Montañita.

Speaking with Monika, a Suiss native, and registered nurse, she works with the clinic as well as clinics in the north to assist with the earthquake relief. Happily taking in the donated medical supplies, she provided insight to the realities of Ecuador.  Given the lack of resources and aid from the government, Monika will be utilizing the medical supplies at the Valdivia Futuro medical clinic and bring the remaining supplies with her when she travels to the areas in the North.

ale_lifestrawPoste Rojo en San Vincente
Strategic Partner: Montañita En Accion

A group of locals from Montañita with fantastic dreams and great hearts, work together to provide opportunities and resources to those that have been affected by natural disasters and poverty. Dedicated members like Ale, Jorge, Jonathan, Julie and Javier (to name a few) work hard to help rebuild communities, impact lives and create sustainability projects.

My deepest gratitude to this group and their big hearts as they took the donated filters to the North. Each of the filters have gone to families in the San Vincente area that are in dire need of clean drinking water.

Non -profit group, Poste Rojo, works extremely hard to assist members in the impoverished community of San Vincente through their own initiatives. I certainly commend their contributions and passion for creating social change in their country.

orfanato-27Santa Maria de Esperenza Orfanato
Strategic Partner: Montañita Spanish School

Another volunteer program that is offered through Montañita Spanish School is working with the sweet, smiling faces of the children at the Santa Maria de Esperenza Orfanato. As heartbreaking as their circumstances, these children find family, love and joy amongst each other and I truly do hope that the government provides more funding to support the orphanages as these faces are the future of Ecuador. Without the resources, how will they be able to maximize their fullest potentials to rise above their current situations?

orfanato-17This orphanage is divided up into three floors: Bottom floor is for the younger boys, 2nd floor is for the younger girls and the top floor is for the older girls.

Where are the older boys? They are at another facility located in Manglaralto.

With the funds we raised, we donated nearly C$600 to purchase basic necessities like powdered milk, soap, shampoo, clean underwear, and socks for the kids.

Additionally, we allocated some of the money to provide the kids with some fun items like frisbees, a ball, pencil crayons, playing cards and plasticine. After all, kids still need to be kids 😉

For more details on the initiatives in Ecuador, please visit for a comprehensive breakdown of financials, image gallery, comprehensive blog posts, etc.

As travellers, we can live the life we love and experience some pretty incredible things during our adventures. In all honesty, why not take it a step further by taking our wealth of knowledge and resources to give back to the areas we travel to/through. #travelwithapurpose


28 thoughts on “Creating Value As You Travel

    • was something that my heart really wanted to do and it was more work than play, but it was so worth it. I hope you get a chance to do this 🙂 it’s pretty awesome.

  1. Your passion and planning have, as you show, served you really well. I’m very impressed by what you’ve done and think it’s a lesson for many of us to follow.

    • Thank you, Sarah. It doesn’t take much work per say, just a bit of time and effort. The end result is really amazing and the people I met along the way were super grateful.

  2. It’s so rare to see a travel post like this, traveling for a purpose not your own (yeah, I don’t have any posts like this on my blog). Good addition.

  3. This is amazing! Just yesterday morning I made a note to self that I need to travel deeper. Do something that actually makes a difference in the countries I visit. Back home I always volunteered and took on my own initiatives, but I’ve let that fall by the wayside since moving to South Korea. This is definitely inspiration to be more involved in the communities I visit. Great post!

  4. Wow, so cool! It’s amazing what you’re doing! Thank you for reminding us that we can do do things to help others and not focus only about ourselves when we travel.

  5. Bravo! We should all take a life lesson from this post. You had a wonderful adventure with meaning and purpose, good for you. Hope to do the same next year in Israel with a charity we support.

  6. What you are doing is making a difference in the world. Touching lives for those who really don’t have much hope must be so rewarding when you get to witness joy the in their faces with what you are doing. Very cool!
    Nancy Pitman recently posted…Best Travel HacksMy Profile

  7. Can I just say…. you are absolutely amazing in all that you do? I mean, the fact that you gave back and helped as much as you could. A special part of travel is when you are able to make differences wherever you go. Thanks for inspiring us, we hope we have an opportunity to give back like this.
    Lieurene recently posted…The conversation that I lost track ofMy Profile

  8. How amazing that you have been able to combine learning about different cultures and also making a positive impact in those countries you visit. It must make traveling the world and the memories you create that much more meaningful.

  9. What a thoughtful trip and rewarding experience. Wishing your project #showsumlove great success! You have inspired us to make a trip like this someday!

  10. It’s rare to see a blog post like this, the almost-opposite of what travelers do, including me: taking.
    However, I’m sure giving like this can just just as fun.

  11. You’re such an inspiration. I truly love traveling and I’m grateful that I get to do it so frequently/ But there is a part of me that always feels a bit guilty when I pop in and out of places knowing there is such great need in many of the destinations I visit. Your post is a great reminder to stop thinking and start doing. I don’t have to save the world, but I can do small things that make a big difference. Thanks for the reminder!

  12. So nice to give back. I volunteer a lot at home ( not so much when I travel) but it is such a rewarding thing to do, wherever you do it.

  13. This is so inspiring! It would be great to connect if you make it to Bolivia, I would be very interested in growing your #ShowSumLove project here! It’s amazing what we can really do when we put our mind to it, as you said.

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