Travel Blogger Tuesday – Passports with Purpose Edition

Reading is such an important part of my life and I can’t even imagine not being able to read for any reason.  I can’t imagine life without the smell of the library, the sound of a book spine cracking open for the first time, and the stacks of brightly colored books on my table just begging me to drop my chores and pick them up.  I will never forget what I felt inside when I finished reading Gone with the Wind for the first time in high school.  To this day, it is my favorite book.  Its tattered cover shows so much wear and tear but all I see is love for a book that kept me company at night when I couldn’t sleep and traveled to several countries with me.  Yes, I did lug that 1037 page tome with me during several trips.


Reading books is not just a favorite pastime, but also part of my career.  As an English teacher, I spent ten years teaching over 800 children to learn to love (or at least tolerate) reading…reading of any kind.  That is the beauty of books.  There is so much reading material from short stories, novels, magazines, poetry collections, nonfiction, comic books and more that it was rare that I couldn’t come up with something that a student would at least try to read and enjoy.  Once I started teaching 9th grade, I was always amazed each year by my students’ reactions towards Fahrenheit 451.  Even the students who hated reading were appalled that the characters actually started fires and burned books.  Now that I stay at home with my children, I love to watch their love for books continue to grow into a mild obsession like my own.

To me, there is nothing more amazing than watching a child read a sentence for the first time and realize that they pronounced it correctly.  Or watching a teenager pick apart a passage in a classic that they would never have chosen to read themselves and get it.  Or helping a child pick out a book in the library.  Or trying to get the attention of a tween that has been pulled so far into a story that they can’t even hear you talking to them.

A life without that?  No thank you.

This year, Passports with Purpose is working to raise $80K  to help Room to Read build two libraries in southern and eastern Zambia.  This is a project I can stand behind.  Not only because of the amazing people behind Passports with Purpose and their previous success, but also because we have friends who run an orphanage in the south of Zambia.

I can’t help but wonder if this library will in some way affect them and the mission that they have chosen as their life’s work.  What an amazing thought…

So how can you help?  Travel bloggers all over the world have procured amazing prizes that are up for grabs.  The prizes range from hotel stays to several Kindle Fire eReaders to gift certificates.  Donate $10 at a time and put your name in the hat for the prizes that you are interested in.  Who knows? You just might win something great while helping to build libraries in Zambia!

What are you waiting for?  Open your pocketbooks.  Open your hearts.  Put books into the hands of both children and adults alike.  Donate.

Have you donated yet?

Have you donated to Passports with Purpose yet?  You might not have noticed that little green sign on the side of my blog.  That is the Passports with Purpose widget that tells us how much money has been raised so far.  At the time I am writing this post it is saying that they have raised forty one thousand dollars already…41K!!!  That is so great! 

Have you donated?  If you haven’t yet head over there and look at all of the great prizes up for grabs.  We are so excited to be partnering with The Gracious Basket and donating a $75 gift certificate for our prize.  Be sure to stop by The Gracious Basket and see all of the amazing gift baskets you can order.  Some of my favorites include:



What are you waiting for? Now head over to Passports with Purpose to donate and be entered into the raffle!

Passports with Purpose


Today is a big day around the travel blogger’s world!  Today Passports with Purpose, an annual travel blogger’s fundraiser, launches and they have big plans.  This year, Passports with Purpose is going to build a village.  An entire village.  And we are going to help with a partnership with The Gracious Basket!

Passports with Purpose was founded in 2008 by four awesome travel bloggers: Debbie Dubrow, Pam Mandel, Beth Whitman and Michelle Duffy.  These four women are an inspiration to me as travelers and writers.  This marks the third year of Passports with Purpose.  During the first year of the fundraiser, the organization raised $7,400 for Heifer International.  During the second year, they raised almost $30,000 to build a school in Cambodia.  The school recently openedand is now educating students.  This year, the goal is to  raise $50,000 to build a village in India through LAFTI International.  LAFTI International helps Dalits (India’s untouchables), especially women, with projects that include land distribution, youth housing and housing construction.

The Gracious Basket  is the perfect partnership for this project.  The Gracious Basket is a socially responsible business that exists to better enable non-profit organizations.  They provide high quality gifts that support our local economy, the handmade movement, and natural living.  For every gift basket you purchase from The Gracious Basket, 15% of the basket price will go towards the non-profit organization of your choice. 

The Gracious Basket has donated a $75 gift certificate to Passports with Purpose with the 15% of the basket price being donated back to Passports with Purpose.  If you want a chance to win the gift certificate (or any number of other awesome prizes), head over to the Passports with Purpose Raffle Page to donate 10 dollars (easily done through Paypal from the Raffle Page).  For every $10 tax deductible donation you make, you will be entered into a raffle for the prize of your choice.  At the end of the donation time, the drawing will be held and winners will be announced. 

Here is the best part about my partnership with The Gracious Basket: if you purchase a gift basket from The Gracious Basket make sure you tell them you are supporting Passports with Purpose and they will send 15% of the basket price to Passports with Purpose!  The gift baskets that they carry are lovely.  Here are a few of my favorites:

{day dreamer} – Includes fair trade Guatemalan coffee, organic pomegranate tea, a white mug, and a journal that helps support an alternative source of income to rural communities in the Himalayas.


{re-ju-ven-ate} – Includes all natural rosmary mint bath & shower gel, hand & body lotion, as well as tea tree oil foot repair scrub all of which use natural essential oils. The basket also includes a loofa mitt, pumice stone nail brush, two soy candles, and all natural soap.  All items are placed inside a handmade reusable bag.


Newborn Baby . {Neutral} – Includes a Receiving Blanket (made from 100% cotton muslin), Onesie, Soft Green Beanie (made of Egyptian organic cotton), a stylish Handmade Burp Cloth, and Burt’s Bees Natural Baby Shampoo & Wash.  All items are placed inside a handmade reusable bag.


There are so many amazing travel bloggers, people/companies who donated prizes and other sponsors.  Thank you sponsors: BootsnAll, LiveMocha, Round the World with Us, HomeAway, Traveller’s Point, Hostelling International, Quintess, Raveable, TravelPost, and Uptake.

Now head over to Passports with Purpose to donate and be entered into the raffle!