Cross Cultural Journeys and our sister Foundation in a new world

A new portal for the future of our planet.

Dear traveler,

I hope you have had a good start to your fall, one that will go into the history books, no doubt. My son returned to online school a few weeks ago. Most children and youth all over the world – fortunate enough to even go to school – now have the shared experience of “learning” through a screen.
I have the utmost respect for our school teachers trying to manage this new reality. And for our children, who are adapting and adjusting with every new turn. I have a strong sense that the content of the classes is secondary to the life lessons that are inherent in the broader context within which they are delivered. Time will tell.

Traveling and Giving Back
As we reported in our September Full Moon News, going forward, CCJ will be molding our itineraries to be more aligned with our natural rhythms and movements of nature, the communities we visit, and with ourselves. We are currently in the process of developing journeys closer to home. We will do a better job of reporting what we do going forward, also regarding the efforts of our sister organization Cross Cultural Journeys Foundation (CCJF).

One of the reasons I acquired this company almost 6 years years ago, was to continue the type of efforts that begun in 1997, when former owner and founder Carole Angermeir and a group of travelers made a contribution of $60 to build a roof for a teahouse run by a group of women they met in Lalibela, Ethiopia. Alas, the taking over the reins, the ups and downs and changes in US-Cuba relations, the focus on details and a steep learning curve, distracted us from this higher purpose.

The only way to move forward is to not go backwards. Artwork by Brenna Quinlan.

The current pause in world travel has afforded me time to reflect on what a travel company’s role might be in a world struggling through multiple crises: climate change; the pandemic; economic instability and racial injustice to mention a few. After quite a bit of soul searching, I have woken up to a resounding YES!!

Quadruple bottom line
In the coming months, we will begin reporting more fully on our efforts to make a positive impact in the world, using what is known as a triple bottom line — i.e. measuring our financial, social, and environmental impacts. CCJ will look at both quantifiable and qualitative measures to tell a more comprehensive picture of what we are doing. One important aspect is that any project we support in the places we visit have been developed by the locals, for the locals. We will also look to you, our travelers, to help choose projects that we can support together. To this end, we will include a fourth bottom line, measuring our cultural impact, as depicted in the image below. Examples are youth empowerment and education programs like Taa’pit, an after-school program in Guatemala that provides Mayan youth with computer skills training and teaches them about the ecology of Lake Atitlán. Another is the Taltnamarte Village Association, which supports pre-schoolers in the Dades Valley of Morocco.

A different way of reporting our efforts

Donations through Cross Cultural Journeys Foundation
The CCJ Foundation plays a key role and provides a vehicle for CCJ to contribute from the proceeds of each journey. We will also find opportunities for you as travelers to donate directly into the CCJ Foundation for the various projects at home and around the world. If you just want to support these efforts but don’t have a favorite, please consider making a donation to CCJF today and we will make sure it goes into good hands. And of course, your donation is tax deductible.

Finally, if you know of a local project that fits our criteria, please contact me directly to apply.

We hope to see you on a future outer and inner adventure with Cross Cultural Journeys!

Stay strong and healthy! And please stay tuned.

Cilla Utne
Cross Cultural Journeys
VP and Secretary
Cross Cultural Journeys Foundation

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