Is there anything grander than a travel itinerary and a passport?
It’s hard to beat that breathless feeling of anticipation when you board that plane, train or automobile, and head off for exploration and adventure. And, there’s no better time for a woman to be travelling. George Washington University’s research gurus tell us that nearly two-thirds of travelers are women.
But its not just the numbers that women are shaking up in the world of travel; the why behind the trip has changed dramatically, as well.
Women Who Travel: Purpose, Culture, Nature
There is a distinctive travel trend that’s firmly emerged: travel that matters. When women travel, by overwhelming percentages they venture abroad with a sense of adventure -- to make a difference, enjoy a different culture, view beautiful nature, or to simply immerse themselves in new experiences. All told, about 75% of participants in this category of group travel are women.
The beautiful realization? There are large numbers of women who have a love of adventure, exploration, and social good in their DNA; and there’s a gorgeously great world of destinations just waiting for them.
For many would-be female explorers, the question is not whether to travel. It’s how to make it happen, and where to find a community of kindred spirits that will share their joy and passion for cultural exploration and social impact.
Meet Patricia Andersson: HeartFire Journeys
This is where we at Rustica Gift & Pottery sit up and smile broadly. Because, it just happens we know of someone filled with joy, steeped in the world of travel, committed to social impact and cultural exploration, and is an experienced tour leader, to boot.
Let us introduce you to the travel world’s zen spirit of fun-filled, compassionate adventure: Patricia Andersson, founder of Heartfire Journeys.
Patricia’s love of travel began with a backpacking trip through Europe as a fresh college grad and was deepened through six years of living abroad in Scotland. Her interest in women’s issues was heightened by her decade-long involvement with Dining for Women (DFW), a nonprofit that raises funds for women and girls living in extreme poverty in the developing world.
Heartfire Journeys Founder Patricia Andersson finds joy, laughter and dance in the travel groups she leads.
The Beginning: Social Impact and Transformation
These two passions came together when she established a travel program for DFW in 2009, taking groups of members to visit the programs that DFW was supporting. The impact that these trips had on both the travelers and the women they visited were profound, and she knew she wanted to expand and offer these transformative experiences to others.
Here's what Patricia has to say about her mission of impactful travel:
"My vision is to continue creating exceptional journeys for women, combining cultural exchanges with exploring the unique beauty of each country we visit. I believe that connecting women around the world dissolves barriers of inequality based on privilege and cultural differences. This first-hand experience can expand our understanding of ourselves as global citizens, and motivate us to help bring greater opportunity and self-determination to women and girls worldwide."
In 2015, she launched HeartFire Journeys, a boutique travel company focused on creating exceptional journeys for women that combine cultural exchanges, social impact, and a chance to explore the unique beauty of each country they visit. Patricia continually witnesses the rich bonds of kinship that develop between the women travelers, as well as with the women in the destination countries, and she can imagine no better calling.
Relationships Forged. Understanding Reached.
“I see women whose eyes and hearts have been opened through the connections they have made, and the richly diverse cultures they’ve experienced,” said Patricia. “The social impact goes both ways as we begin to understand that we’re really not all that different from those who live in such dissimilar circumstances. The world becomes smaller, and we find we’re all in this together. Of course, this type of social impact trip is also great fun, with much laughter, new friendships, and memories that will last a lifetime. The stories we come home with are remarkable.”
Heartfire Journeys take its travelers to places with rich histories, beautiful nature and architecture, and renowned for their culture and craft traditions.
Past trips include journeys to Oaxaca, Mexico, to experience the fascinating Day of the Dead celebrations and meet many of the region’s talented women artisans.
This Spring, Patricia will take a group to Guatemala, where participants will volunteer with local nonprofits, spend time in a remote village, and experience first-hand the rich tapestry of life in this beautiful country of talented artisans
Next up? Heartfire Journeys will be taking guests to the land of bagpipes and magic castles: Scotland is on the itinerary for May 19-June 1st. Future plans are in the works for journeys to Ecuador and the Galapagos, Vietnam, and Spain. Each trip is personally led by Patricia, and is limited to a small group of like-minded women. All journeys include interaction with local artisans and cultural leaders; and give participants the opportunity to step into experiences not readily available to the individual traveler.
Want to know more, or simply want inspiration for your best way to travel with joy, deep purpose and connection? Get in touch with Patricia and join her on the next trip with Heartfire Journeys.
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