Reports from the Field

Why Crowdfunding Conservation Travel Is Easier Than You Think

Crowdfunding image


By: Jeremy Freedman | Posted on: 14 Dec 2017

A Closer Look at Crowdfunding and Conservation Travel

If your goal with travelling is to connect to worthy causes and volunteer, but you don’t have the funds you need to make it happen, crowdfunding is a good option to consider.

Conservation projects are as worthy of professionals’ and volunteers’ causes as social initiatives are, and because they bring like-minded people together their happy by-products are often lifelong friendships and more good work for the planet.

Crowdfunding has served as a very good fundraising platform for many years, and online options make it an easier option than ever in the technological era. There are stories of powering almost any conceivable project with crowdfunding, and a host of crowdfunding sites that can be used to fund these dreams.

Strange But True Crowdfunding Success Stories

For anyone wondering if their idea is too silly or crazy to fund using crowds, the answer is no. Kurt Braunohler wanted to raise $4,000 on Kickstarter for a project with the self-explanatory description that people would be able to “hire a man to write stupid things with clouds in the sky.” In the end, he raised $6,820 and proclaimed memorable messages, such as “Clouds 4 EVA”, “How do I land” and “God’s Fartin’” across the sky.

Jeffery Self painfully chipped half of his front tooth away but had no dental insurance, so he started the “Jeffery Self Needs a New Tooth” campaign on Indiegogo. He raised $250 more than his $3,400 goal after begging his YouTube followers to make donations as small as a dollar, in a very engaging and personable video.

Many other fantastical stories of crowdfunding success abound. Fred Beneson was able to translate Herman Melville’s masterful Moby Dick into a text of nothing but emojis thanks to his successful Kickstarter campaign “Emoji Dick”, while Tessa Rushton used the same platform to fund her “functional beard face mask”, the 5 O’clock Shadow. There was even an Uno-style game called “Poop” which was successfully funded on Kickstarter, based, unsurprisingly, on toilet humour, that exceeded its target of $4,500 by more than 100%.

Popular Crowdfunding Platforms

Looking through the examples here, it’s easy to think that Kickstarter dominates the crowdfunding world. This certainly is among the biggest platforms, but its focus is on artists, designers and producers of any kind of creative work. Often people who invest here are promised an economic kickback or another incentive, such as a limited-edition artwork.

As robust as Kickstarter is, therefore, it is probably not the best option if you’re trying to crowdfund to get you to a conservation project. Consider FundMyTravel, the platform we are affiliated with, that allows you, in its own words, to “fundraise for meaningful travel”. GoFundMe is also a good idea, and there are several other platforms to investigate.

The idea is to connect to potential donors who are interested in helping you do good without any interest in personal reward or seeing a particular product realised. You don’t have to use a crowdfunding tool that focuses on travel alone, but it does streamline the process. GoFundMe has a Travel section, which also keeps things simple, and both these sites also have a reputation for raising funds to help with worthy causes. If you’re raising funds for a personal holiday you may also get a good response, depending on your story, but you should be able to secure your funds quite easily if you want them for helping save or preserve the environment.

Campaigning for the same trip on different platforms is not prohibited, but it can actually harm your efforts so you need to choose carefully. Backers like to see that you are close to reaching your goal; if you’re far off they may not donate. Spreading your campaign across sites can diffuse the funds you are getting so that it looks like your momentum is being lost, and it can also simply be confusing and deter your backers that way.

Whatever crowdfunding tool you decide on, you’ll be able to set up your campaign easily. Make your way to the funding website, and create your campaign. Think very carefully about what you want to say and the pictures that you want to use; this is how you’re selling your campaign to people. When you’re ready, you can distribute the links to your fundraising drive via email and social media platforms, directly from the crowdfunding website.

Fund transfer systems differ among platforms, but they are always simple to set up and use. Make sure that all deposits are encrypted with SSL transactions, so that your travel funds and personal information are kept completely safe. Updates, notes of thanks and pictures can be posted on your account dashboard, which can go a long way to motivating people to continue to make donations.

You could even consider starting your own blog or YouTube channel about the project you’re embarking on. In the technologically connected world of today, don’t underestimate the power of personally reaching out to the potentially huge audiences who will see your appeal. Once again, think very carefully about all the content that you post.

Conservation Projects to Consider

If you feel passionately about where you’re going and what you’re doing, that will translate into the crowdfunding campaign you create, and you stand a better chance of being successful. A lot of people in your position will already know exactly what their goal is, but if you don’t have a specific project in mind you should do thorough research and find one that resonates with you.

Worthwhile projects to look into include preserving Malaysian rainforests, wildlife conservation initiatives in Costa Rica, volunteer researchers on sea turtles on the island Lang Tengah off the coast of Malaysia, and Malagasy marine conservation expeditions. Choose ones that are set in social and environmental situations that will work for you, so that you can enjoy yourself and grow as a person while helping to heal the planet.

As always, make completely sure that the projects you are going to are trustworthy and endorsed by recognised authorities. The volunteer programmes at Global Nomadic will all ensure you are looked after in every way, so signing up with them is an easy way to stay safe while you embark on this life-changing journey. We’d love to hear from you, so if you have any questions don’t hesitate to visit our contact page and get in touch.

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Posted on: 14 Dec 2017

Success Story – Interview with Hermione Way

Hermione-Way


By: Jeremy Freedman | Posted on: 08 Nov 2017

1. Who are you, What do you do and What did you have for breakfast?

Hi! I’m Hermione Way, I’m an entrepreneur, journalist and TV presenter. I have been working in the technology industry for over 10 years. I was on a $25million TV show called Silicon Valley and most recently Head Of European Comms for Tinder. I a lover of marmite on toast -the taste is so strong it wakes me up in the morning .

2. What did you get up to last Tuesday at work?

Last Tuesday, like every morning I spend the first two hours of the day reading the news, checking my channels and catching up on work. The morning is when i’m the most focused so it’s best to do the real work at this time. I currently work with over 50 clients all over the world so the rest of the day consists of calls and chats with them helping them with their press, marketing and PR strategy.

3. Who or what inspired you to do the job you do now?

I love the Internet and people, since I started Internet businesses I’ve had an incredible life that has taken me traveling around the world and meeting amazing people like Sir Richard Branson, now I want to help others realise through the Internet they can have access to the same opportunity as me.

4. What is needed to succeed in your career?

I’ve been working hard for 10 years, I would say I’m a hard-core networker and I’ve spent a long time building an incredibly powerful network, i’m followed by investors, journalists and high net worth individuals. You don’t really need qualifications, although my degree in journalism did give me a good foundation, all you need is the will to make something happen and you will.

5. If you could go back and change one thing, what would it be?

I’m really good at starting companies, not so good at wrapping them up neatly, I built huge amounts of value in the brands that i’ve built previously and instead of exiting or selling the company, i’ve just let it fold- I wish I had a better exit strategy.

6.What is your proudest moment?

High-fiving Richard Branson whilst kiteboarding in the Caribbean.

7. What is your favourite quote? 

“Opinions are like assholes, everyone has one” I love this quote because most people are scared to death of what other people may think of them and never start anything. Life is too short, everyone will have an opinion of you no matter what you do so you might as well do it anyway!

hermione way

 

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Jeremy Freedman
Posted on: 08 Nov 2017

The Ultimate Guide to Successfully Applying & Getting a Scholarship to Travel Overseas

The Ultimate Guide to Successfully Applying & Getting a Scholarship to Travel Overseas


By: Jeremy Freedman | Posted on: 15 Aug 2017

Initially, the cost of going overseas can be intimidating. But once you realize how many millions of dollars are out there to help students study, volunteer, and work abroad, you’ll start getting focused on how to channel some of that money your way.

By mastering these practical tactics, you can vastly improve your chances of getting a scholarship and making your dreams of going abroad a reality.


Managing the Market

There are thousands of scholarship opportunities out there, but you have to know where to find them.

Most scholarships and grants fall into the following categories:

  • Destination-based: These are awarded based on where you want to study abroad.
  • Industry-specific: Some scholarships are only for students of engineering, diplomacy, public health, etc.
  • Demographic: Based on ethnic background, minority statuses, gender
  • Academic: Some scholarships focus more on awarding applicants with high grades or class ranking.
  • Language study: Many awards are available for students learning foreign languages, especially “critical languages” like Chinese, Arabic, Farsi, etc.
  • Need-based: For students with demonstrated financial need, often recipients of federal loans or grants for their university tuition.
  • Program-specific: Awarded to participants of a certain program.
  • University-specific: Only students from a particular university are eligible.

A good place to get started navigating this scholarship market is by visiting your university’s study abroad and/or financial aid office to ask about funding sources that may be available to you. And of course check out our own compilation of 50 Scholarships and Grants for Study, Volunteer, and Travel Abroad.

FastWeb is also a great database.

If you’re a US citizen, check out the US Department of Education FAFSA website — government grants and loans can actually be applied to study abroad, too. For students of other countries, make sure to check with your own government and the government of the country you’re planning on visiting for other funding opportunities. Many governments award money to foreign students studying at their universities, you just have to look.

Intern in Namibia


Managing the Process

Applying to multiple scholarships is a process and you have to stay organized. The following tips summarize how to structure your approach to scholarship-hunting.

Start early

Start your scholarship search 3-6 months before you plan to travel abroad. You may even want to start looking a full year in advance so you have an idea of all the opportunities you’ll be eligible for. It’s never too early — but it’s also never too late either.

Apply to as many scholarships as you qualify for

Scholarships are a bit of a numbers game. Once you’ve developed a strong application, you have to make sure you put your name in as many hats as possible.

Plus, there’s no limit to the number of individual scholarships you can receive. By getting a $500 grant from one organization and $1,000 from another, you’ve covered half the cost of your dream volunteer program.

And remember, no amount is too small! It all adds up.

Check eligibility requirements carefully

Before you go around turning in applications left and right, make sure you’re applying to the right opportunities. Many scholarships have very specific requirements, from the citizenship and financial need of an applicant to their major or regional focus.

Have a system of prioritization

You’re busy, so you have to be realistic about how many scholarships you can actually apply to. Prioritize the opportunities where you meet most or all of the selection criteria, scholarships that offer a higher award amount, or programs where there may be fewer people applying because they are obscure or very specific, ie. an award for Irish-Americans who are also first generation college students. If you fit that criteria, make sure you apply!

Keep track of deadlines

It sounds very basic, but make sure you apply on time to be considered. We recommend setting up a basic Excel spreadsheet where you track the name, eligibility criteria, deadline, application requirements, and selection criteria for every opportunity you plan to apply for. Staying organized will help you stay sane!

Prepare your references

You’ll probably be asked to provide one or two references for each scholarship application. Do everyone involved a favor by prepping those references carefully (and professors will be happy to recommend you to multiple opportunities if you make it easy for them).

Create a document with the name of the scholarship(s) you’re applying for, a few sentences about what it is and what their selection criteria is, the deadline for submitting their reference letter clearly highlighted, and a short paragraph summarizing why you’re the right candidate for that opportunity. Print this document out, attach your resume, and bring it to that person (with a smile). Make sure you follow-up and politely remind them a few days before a deadline.

Mongolia-healthcare


Managing the Application

Now that you have a strategy for the application process, you need to make sure your applications themselves are outstanding. Here are specific tips on how to make sure you’re submitting the best possible application.

Address the selection criteria explicitly

Most scholarships specify exactly what they are looking for. You’d be smart to print that list off and check off each one as you address it in your application. Make it easy for them to see you’re the candidate they’re looking for!

Look at the organization’s values

You want to tailor each application to its audience, so do your homework. Study the organization’s website: How do they talk about themselves? What’s their tone of voice? What values are important to them? What’s their mission statement? Then reflect those things back to them in a way that’s still authentically you. You can also review the profiles of past scholarship recipients (they are often listed right on the website).

Address your past, present, and future

A smart applicant will strategically place examples throughout their application that address the parts of her past, present, and future that relate to that opportunity. Let’s say a student is applying for a scholarship to study Mandarin in China. She may briefly share a story of a childhood friend from China who got her interested in Asian cultures and languages, she will highlight what she’s doing now to advance her language skills (it’s important to show you’re already applying yourself), and then she shares a thoughtful plan about how that program and opportunity will advance her studies and shape her career in the future.

Showing the full “life cycle” of interest in this opportunity hugely increases your chances of resonating with the selection committee.

Give specific examples

Stay away from generalities. Of course you are smart and hard-working, but what makes you stand out from all the other applicants? Create a list of at least five qualities or experiences that make you unique and find a way to highlight those things in every application (as long as they are relevant).

Also: show, don’t tell. Don’t tell them you’re interested in the Middle East, share the example of how you work with refugees on the weekend.

How will you give back?

Most scholarships want to see that you understand that there’s a privilege with receiving a grant to travel abroad and showing an attitude of humility and gratitude for even the possibility of that experience is warmly received.

Even if not explicitly stated in the application, sharing ideas for how you will use your experience overseas to give back to your home community will win you major points with most selection committees. It’s also a great thing to actually do, whether or not you win a scholarship to travel.

Read it out loud

The easiest way to prevent typos and other mistakes is to print out your application essays in hard copy and read them word-for-word out loud, preferably in front of an audience. You’ll catch grammatical errors, awkward wording, incomplete sentences, and typos this way — guaranteed.

Human Rights Internship in Cambodia


Final Words of Wisdom

Remember, where there’s a will, there really is a way. If you have your heart set on volunteering in Kenya or studying Portuguese in Brazil or interning with an NGO in Indonesia, you will make it happen.

Inevitably, you will not receive every scholarship you apply for, so take the rejection in stride. By putting yourself out there for every opportunity you can, you vastly increase your chances of being recognized and awarded real dollars towards your goal.

So don’t give up — and never give up your dreams of going abroad because of something like money, which can be resolved with a little time, strategy, and know-how.

Now that you know how, check out our list of 50 Scholarships & Grants that you can apply to!

Find your funding

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Jeremy Freedman
Posted on: 15 Aug 2017

50 Scholarships and Grants to Help You Study, Volunteer & Travel Abroad

Find your funding


By: Jeremy Freedman | Posted on: 31 Jul 2017

One of the biggest myths about going overseas is that it’s outrageously expensive — but the reality is there are hundreds of organizations offering scholarships & grants dedicated to helping students realize their study and volunteer abroad dreams.

So before you get discouraged by the price of the program you have your heart set on, remember that there are millions of dollars out there available to students just like you. All you have to do is strategically select which opportunities you’re eligible for and be willing to put the hard work into preparing those applications.

At Global Nomadic, we believe all students can have the opportunity to study, volunteer, and work abroad — experiences that profoundly shape the individual and contribute to a more conscientious global society.

Because we want as many people to have these opportunities as possible, we’ve sifted through the internet to come up with 50 of the best scholarships that will help you make traveling overseas a reality.

Once you have found your opportunities, read our Ultimate Guide to Successfully Applying & Getting a Scholarship to Travel Overseas!

[Last Updated January 2018]

General Study, Volunteer and Travel Abroad Scholarships

1. Global Nomadic Scholarship

Global Nomadic logoEligibility: Open to all applicants.

We are proud to announce our Scholarship programme for 2018. Simply submit your 2-minute video to enter for your chance to win a $500 USD credit to be used for any of our programmes. We have also teamed up with our partners Global Travel Academy and World Nomads, to get you a Certificate in International Volunteering, and 2 weeks complimentary Travel Insurance.

2. Asia Exchange Scholarship

Asia Exchange logoEligibility: Open to students enrolled in any institute of higher education in specified regions

Offers up to €500 grants to students from Europe, the Americas, and Australia who are studying at select universities in Indonesia, Thailand, China, Malaysia, Japan, and South Korea.

3. Fund for Education Abroad

Eligibility: Must be a US citizen or permanent residentfund for education logo

Offers a range of scholarships with an emphasis placed on supporting students who are underrepresented in the study abroad population. Awards up to $10,000 for academic year programs or $5,000 for semester programs for US undergraduate students.

4. Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarships

Rotary logoEligibility: Open to citizens of any of the countries where Rotary Clubs exist

Awards range from $13,000 to $25,000 for an academic year, multi-year, or 3-6 months of cultural immersion abroad. Applicants must be a citizen of a country that has Rotary Clubs and have completed at least two years of university coursework.

5. UniPlaces Scholarship

Uniplaces logoEligibility: Open to students from any country

Live rent-free for a semester by applying for the Uniplaces Scholarship. The criteria: tell UniPlaces about acts of kindness you’ve done! Two scholarships are available to students worldwide.

6. David L. Boren Undergraduate Scholarships

borenawards-logoEligibility: Must be a US citizen to apply

Supports US undergraduate students with awards of between $2,500 and $20,000 to study abroad in exchange for a commitment to seek work with the federal government. Must be studying in regions of critical interest to the US (i.e. Western Europe, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand are excluded).

7. Chevening Award

Chevening logo 1Eligibility: Must be a citizen of a Chevening-eligible country

Funded by the UK government and open to graduate students worldwide, this grant helps recipients study at a British university.

8. Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program

Eligibility: Must be a US citizen, permanent residents are not eligible

Fully-funded intensive summer language programs sponsored by the US government to expand the Critical Language logonumber of students mastering critical foreign languages like Arabic, Chinese, Korean, Russian, Farsi, and Japanese. Must be a US citizen to apply.

9. Confucius Institute Scholarships

Eligibility: Open to students worldwide

Confucius logoConfucius Institutes promote the study of Chinese language and culture around the world and provide generous scholarships of all types of students to study Chinese.

10. BUNAC Educational Scholarship Trust (BEST)

Eligibility: Must hold a UK passport

Multiple awards for students from the United Kingdom to undertake post-graduate study in North America. Awards range from £2,000 and £10,000. Must be a UK passport holder to apply.BUNAC logo

11. The Study Abroad Journal Scholarship

Eligibility: Open to all students enrolled in a US college or university, including international studentsThe Study Abroad Journal logo

$500 awards based on how you creatively record and share your memories from study abroad with the world. Application includes a response to a short answer question and a photo/video submission via Instagram. Open to US and international students enrolled in US universities.

12. uVolunteer Travel Scholarship

Eligibility: Anyone from any country over the age of 18

Covers the full cost of volunteering abroad in Costa Rica for 3 weeks, including airfare and housing. Applicants must submit a video demonstrating their dedication to making a difference in their home community.

13. Cultural Vistas Fellowship

Eligibility: Must be a US citizen to applyCultural Vistas logo

Covers the majority of the costs for 12 underrepresented US university students to take part in eight-week summer internships in Argentina, Germany, and India.

14. Fulbright Scholars Program

Eligibility: Must be a US citizen, permanent residents are not eligiblefulbright-logo

Fulbright offers multiple awards for English-teaching, research, creative storytelling, and graduate study.

15. Allianz Global Assistance ScholarTrips Award

Eligibility: Must be a US residentScholartrips logo

Up to six $2,500 awards to study or volunteer in the country of your choice are available if you answer the question “What inspires you to travel abroad?”

16. Hostelling International USA Explore the World Scholarship

Eligibility: Must be a US citizen or permanent resident.

Hostelling international USA logoA generous scholarship that plans to award approximately 100 young people (ages 18-30) $2,000 awards for overseas experiences that have an educational or service component.

17. Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship

Eligibility: Must be a US citizen to apply

Sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, this grants offers up to $5,000 annually to students who will participate in study or intern Benjamin Gilman logoabroad programs worldwide. Open to undergraduate students who are receiving Federal Pell Grant funding at a two-year or four-year college or university.

18. Go Overseas Study and Intern Abroad Scholarship

Eligibility: Open to all students enrolled in a US college or university, including international studentsGo Overseas logo

Go Overseas sponsors $500 awards for US undergraduate students to study, volunteer, or intern abroad. Rewards creative approaches to their application.

19. Tortuga Backpacks Travel Scholarship

Tortuga logoEligibility: Must be a US citizen, permanent resident, or currently studying in the US on a student visa

Tortuga Backpack’s mission is to “help people take amazing trips.” Awards $1,000 and a Tortuga backpack for students from any US university studying abroad. Applicants don’t have to be US citizens or residents if enrolled in an American university.

20. Freeman Awards for Study in Asia (Freeman-ASIA) Scholarships

Eligibility: Must a US citizen or permanent resident currently enrolled in a two-year or four-year college or university in the USfreeman asia logo

Provides scholarships for US undergraduate students with demonstrated financial need to study abroad in East or Southeast Asia for semester, summer, or academic year programs. Awards range from $3,000 to $7,000.

21. Henry Luce Fellowships

Henry-Luce-LogoEligibility: Candidates must be US citizens and nominated by one of 75 participating institutions

The Luce Scholars Program provides financial support to college seniors, graduate students, and young professionals who want to enhance their understanding of Asia. The program provides stipends, language training, and professional placements for approximately 15 scholars every year.

22. Omprakash Ambassador Travel Grants Volunteer Grants

omprakash-logo-originalEligibility: Open to ethical volunteers from all backgrounds

Omprakash is dedicated to ethical cross-cultural volunteering. Their travel grants pay the travel and living expenses for individuals volunteering abroad within the Omprakash network of health, education, and environmental partner organizations. Applications are considered independently of age or nationality.

22. Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) GrantsHACU_Logo

Eligibility: Must be enrolled as a full-time undergraduate student at a HACU-member institution.

HACU provides scholarships to students studying with their numerous study abroad partner organizations.

23. Travelocity Travel for Good

Eligibility: Must a US citizen or permanent residentTravel for Good Travelocity logo

Every year Travelocity provides travelers with awards to volunteer abroad with one of their partners. Submissions are done via Twitter or Tumblr — with big points for creativity!

24. Volunteer Forever Scholarship

Eligibility: Open to residents of the US, Canada, UK, Australia, New Zealand, and the European UnionVolunteer Forever logo

Awards travel scholarships of $500 to $1,000 to study, volunteer, teach, or work abroad participants. Applications are open twice every year.

25. Samuel Huntington Public Service Awards

Eligibility: Open to anyone from a US college or university, including non-US citizensSamuel Huntington logo

This generous scholarship provides a $15,000 stipend for a college senior to pursue one full year of meaningful public service anywhere in the world after graduation. Applicants don’t have to be US citizens or residents as long as they are graduating from a US university.

Program-Specific Scholarships

There are numerous scholarships that are program-specific. If you’ll be traveling with any of these programs, make sure to apply for their grants — or see if the program you’ve already chosen has a similar offering. If you’re still undecided on which provider you’ll go abroad with, you can start by prioritizing the organizations that offer financial support to their own participants.

26. CIEE Scholarships and Grants

27. School for International Training (SIT) Scholarship

28. DIS Scholarships (Scandinavia)

29. Academic Studies Abroad (ASA)

30. IFSA-Butler Study Abroad Scholarships

31. Academic Programs International (API)

32. The Education Abroad Network (TEAN Grants)

33. ISA Scholarships

34. CEA Study Abroad Scholarships

35. USAC Scholarships

36. American Institute for Foreign Study (AIFS)

37. The Intern Group

38. Eastern European Study Abroad Program

39. Spanish Studies Abroad

Destination-Based Grants

If you’ve already decided on where you want to travel to, you can look for scholarships based on your destination. There’s an incredible wealth of both private and government-funded scholarships on every continent, so here are just a few to get you started. Most of these are open to students from all countries, but check all eligibility requirements before applying.

40. Kosciuszko Foundation for study in Poland

41. Go Overseas New Zealand Scholarship

42. Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships

43. Australia Awards

44. Shanghai Government Scholarships

45. Swedish Institute Study Scholarship (SISS) 

46. German Academic Exchange Scholarships (DAAD) 

47. Korean Government Scholarship 

48. VLIR-UOS Awards for study in Belgium

49. New Zealand Pacific Scholarships 

50. Holland Scholarship for study in the Netherlands

While we’ve been able to generate an extensive list of scholarships and grants available for study and volunteer abroad, this is not an exhaustive compilation. In addition to browsing here, make sure to explore financial aid options offered directly through your university and through your prospective study abroad or volunteer program. You should also check for support offered by your home country as well as the government of the country you plan on visiting.

The Ultimate Guide to Successfully Applying & Getting a Scholarship to Travel Overseas

 

Once you have your funding, you can Find Your Project!
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Jeremy Freedman
Posted on: 31 Jul 2017

India Film Scholarship

india-film-scholarship


By: Jeremy Freedman | Posted on: 23 Jun 2017

Our partners at World Nomads are offering an amazing opportunity for a lucky someone to get a Travel Film Scholarship for Kerala, India! Get on-the-job training with a top videographer and start your career in the travel photography industry!

Benefit from;

Free flights
Receive round-trip airfare from your closest international airport to Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala, India.

12-day filmmaking trip
Capture the culture and communities of Kerala under the mentorship of professional travel filmmaker Brian Rapsey.

Post-production workshop
Your trip will include a 3-day post-production workshop where you’ll edit your film, continuing your mentorship with Brian Rapsey.

Audio gear
Record superior sound for your film with a new Video Mic Pro and VideoMic Me™ iPhone directional mic courtesy of Rode Microphones.

Nomad accessories
Be equipped with hyper minimalist smartphone and smartwatch accessories from Nomad.

Travel insurance
As always, we’ve got your back. You’ll receive travel insurance for the duration of your trip from World

 

Apply Now for your chance to win!
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Jeremy Freedman
Posted on: 23 Jun 2017

5 Ways Volunteering Can Support Environmental Conservation

Agroforestry-&-Environmental-Development INternship


By: Jeremy Freedman | Posted on: 20 Jun 2017

No matter what you do in life, the most rewarding experience you’ll ever have is volunteering. You’ll develop insight into a whole new culture, learn more about yourself, and make a genuine difference to other peoples’ lives.

A whole host of organisations are doing their bit for environmental conservation, but they’d be the first to admit that the ordinary folk giving up their free time are equally crucial to the cause. There are so many ways that volunteering can support environmental welfare, and listed below are five examples:

1. Enhancing landscapes and living standards

We’re used to our frantic urban lives, but swathes of the global population still live off the land. Millions are dependent on the wellbeing of their crops, livestock and water sources for survival, and volunteer participation in sustainable initiatives ensures these resources remain rich and well-preserved.

By taking part in a landscape sustainability scheme, you can actively contribute to the enhancement of living standards for a whole community. And that’s a truly magnificent thing.

2. Harnessing green technology

Whilst many of us are lucky enough to reap the privileges of the 21st century, other nations are not. This is especially true when it comes to technology, much of which we take for granted in the Western World.

As a volunteer, you can help to introduce better resources to less prosperous villages, towns, and nations. Renewable energy schemes are a great example – allowing you to conduct research into technologies that will help disadvantaged societies to develop.

3. Saving the ecosystem

Environmental conservation is not just about preserving the land itself – but also about protecting its inhabitants. There are a brilliant selection of wildlife projects that you can sign up for, which involve behavioural research, wild animal rehabilitation, and patching up injured pets in the local villages.

All of the above contribute to a well-balanced, much-improved ecosystem. Creatures can thrive where they belong, and you’ll swing the scale back, however modestly, to how our planet should be.

4. Raising awareness

Without the media, we would be largely ignorant of challenges facing third world countries. As a journalism volunteer, you can help to gather information on these deprived places, and show the wonderful work that’s rejuvenating them.

By sharing the story, you can raise awareness back home – which in turn will convince more people to join the conservation mission.

5. Safeguarding the future

The world is brimming with beauty from one hemisphere to the next, but what you might not know is that there are thousands of people working behind the scenes to preserve it. When you volunteer on a conservation project, they’re no longer distant figures: you’re becoming one yourself.

An environment preservation scheme helps to protect the local land for years (even decades) to come. Your input actively safeguards the future – regions are improved, whilst subsequent generations have a stronger chance of carrying on your example.

Take the most important and rewarding step of your life by signing up to a volunteer program with Global Nomadic today. If you have questions about any of our placements, visit our contact page to get in touch. Our team would love to talk to you.

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Jeremy Freedman
Posted on: 20 Jun 2017

Running a biodiverse, organic tea plantation in China

Organic Farm in China


By: Jeremy Freedman | Posted on: 20 Jun 2017

At Global Nomadic there are great opportunities to get involved in organic agricultural projects.

Organic farming is a fulfilling but challenging pursuit. In this article we have outlined some of the things you need to know to if you want to be successful in organic farming, based on our experience growing tea organically in China.

If it is these that interest you, read on!

An organic farm doesn’t use synthetic fertilisers or pesticides. This aim, of course, raises some challenges. The issue could be reduced yield when plants succumb to disease. Or maybe the problem is economic in nature – how do you market a salad leaf which a caterpillar has already chewed through? Either way, organic farmers have to come up with ingenious workarounds to stay competitive and face off against rivals who do use industrial techniques. Using chemicals is a quick fix and without this crutch to lean on, organic agriculturists have to take a proactive approach and treat potential problems before they become real issues.

Below, we’ll explore how our organic tea garden approaches the challenges of organic farming.

An organic tea plantation focusing on gourmet tea doesn’t come up against all the issues another crop might – we don’t need to till the soil or rotate crops for one thing, but still, many of the difficulties inherent in organic agriculture can be examined in light of our experiences producing organic tea.

The Difficulties

Economic and societal problems can impede the progress of a small-scale, organic farm and these difficulties are not few. Even organic certification is expensive enough so as to put it out of the reach of many small producers. This would make a fascinating article on its own, but for this post we’ll focus on practical matters – the farming techniques – as they are approached on the ground.

Fertility

Farming is elemental. It depends on sunlight, water, and soil. We control the water and sunlight by selecting the best location. For tea, high in the mountains is best: on the right mountain slope the sun only hits the plants for the hours we need; the rarified air allows the flavour of the plant to develop to its full potential; and the ground is well drained – vital for tea as its roots tend to rot in overly wet conditions.

The ability of soil to drain may be controlled by the location, but the ground where we grow our plants must also be rich in vital nutrients for our tea to thrive. To increase the presence of these essential nutrients in the ground industrial farmers use synthetic fertilisers, but of course organic farms can’t do this. Instead, we control erosion, add natural compost, grow cover crops, and introduce symbiotic associations to enrich the land. All these methods encourage soil fauna and flora and improve soil formation and structure.

Organic Farm in China
The soil is naturally nutrient rich, and we allow natural flora and fauna to populate freely.

For us, erosion isn’t a problem. Our tea garden is in a basin at the top of a mountain. Yet still, we use the same techniques a farm with an erosion problem might – namely, planting cover grasses, trees and vegetables to bind the soil. The length of time that the soil is exposed to erosive forces is decreased, soil biodiversity is increased, and nutrient losses are reduced, helping to maintain and enhance soil productivity.

To fertilise our farm, we use a mixture of pig manure and flaxseed – both locally sourced, from nearby organic farms. Many farmers plant cover crops, such as nitrate-fixing legumes, but we haven’t opted for this approach. Because we have low levels of soil erosion and the land wasn’t farmed before we started tending it, we have managed to protect and encourage a healthy soil microbiome (the bacterial ecosystem). Once this balance is met – even if the land was parched before the organic enterprise – soil fertility quickly recovers. Quickly, at least, in farming terms – usually it takes about 3 years!

From healthy soils come healthy plants and healthy plants are better at resisting predators and reduce the need for pest control.

Pest Control

Still, bugs like nibbling healthy plants – and who can blame them. Although our tea trees may turn out healthier in the long run, if we want a finished product that is palatable (to humans, not just insects) we have to protect them as best we can.

In large-scale farming operations herbicides, fungicides and insecticides are used. Yet there are simpler, less destructive techniques we can use to achieve the same end. Some organic farmers cover their crops with fabric that allows entry of light and water while screening out insects. However there are other methods.

First off, I should begin with a caveat: we have been very lucky. Before our tea gardens, the land was wild – a balanced ecosystem, and our farmers didn’t destroy this equilibrium when they planted tea. They left an old-growth forest untouched and between the terraces they have planted fruit trees: apple, pear and walnut. There is also a pond for ducks and geese.

Organic Farm in China
A praying mantis takes a rest amongst our Tie Guanyin varietal.

All this biodiversity gives more opportunity for insect-killing parasites to flourish and because we don’t use pesticides, predatory birds, lizards, and the many insects and arachnids help us out too: spiders spin webs among the grasses and ladybirds eat aphids.

Not all plants are created equal. Critters can be as picky as people when it comes to choosing dinner. As such, we allow flowering wildgrasses to grow between the rows of tea plants – a decoy to keep the little gluttons away from the tea.

As luck would have it, all the farms in our area are organic and as such we have to deal with fewer refugee insects fleeing toxic fallout in neighbouring plantations. Other start-up organic farms would have to be more calculated and work much harder to establish a balanced ecosystem and avoid devastating infestation.

Organic Farm in China
A high mountain, isolated location is ideal for growing tea.

As an aside, for tea farmers, not all insect bites are undesirable – there is a type of tea (Oriental Beauty Tea) where producers go out of their way to attract locusts. After being bitten the leaves produce a chemical which makes the finished tea taste honey sweet. So while we try to minimise exposure to pests, it’s not the end of the world if some leaves get bitten!

To Sum Up

Speaking about the organic process in such a simplified way makes it sound easy, but it is not. A huge amount of care, attention and labour goes into creating and maintaining a balanced ecosystem that not only feeds healthy plants, but also protects them from disease and infestation.

It is a difficult thing for an organic farmer is to watch a weak plant – into which you have sunk countless hours – succumbing to disease and there being nothing you can do do about it. Because weak plants aren’t propped up, only the strongest trees survive. We have a few trees on the farm which are on their way out. Anyone who has gone on holiday and allowed a window plant to dry and shrivel knows how this can feel.

Organic Farm in China
Some trees get sick, but we don’t save them with chemicals – we allow the weaker trees to die, allowing space for strong, healthy trees.

However, the results are worth the hardships. Leaving aside the myriad knock-on benefits a organic farm has for the environment at large. There is something immensely satisfying about understanding the complexity of system and working with that system, not against it to achieve your aim. Moreover, our tea simply tastes better for it. This is down to a number of factors, of course, granted processing and the breed of the plant play a huge role, but, all other variables being equal, truly organic produce has an extra intangible something which makes it all the more delicious. The tea we produce is more vibrant, fragrant and robust than anything we have encountered from non-organic farms.

Organic Farm in China
The strongest trees survive and thrive, naturally dominating over weaker plants.

If you have any questions about our methods here, or you would like to know more, drop a comment below and we will be happy to assist!

About the Author

A co-founder of Living Leaf Tea, Edward Allistone is a tea lover, who divides his time between martial arts, photography and teaching. Currently living in Moscow, getting to know Russian tea culture and exploring the city.

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Jeremy Freedman
Posted on: 20 Jun 2017

Scams – 40 to be aware of!

pickpocket


By: Jeremy Freedman | Posted on: 20 Jun 2017

It is always good to be aware of scams when travelling. Whilst it is quite unlikely for you to fall victim, it can ruin your trip, and the more aware you are, the better. Have a read through this list and become familiar with all of the most common tricks and scams aimed at separating you from your belongings and money. Whilst most of these scams are listed in various countries, variations of them can be found all over the world. Better to be safe than sorry!

 

40 scams to avoid when travelling
40 scams to avoid when travelling

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Jeremy Freedman
Posted on: 20 Jun 2017