World Vision Blog Ambassador Serena Star-Leonard and her husband John are travelling the world and blogging about the inspiring people they meet.
It was this time last year when it all started! My husband Johnny and I sold up and left Australia for three years of travel. The rough outline was one year in Latin America, one year in Asia and one year in Africa.
I have always had a passion for making a difference, although I didn’t really call it that before. In the process of setting up charity projects and fundraising events for numerous causes over the years, I realised three things:
So when we decided to pack up and travel long term, of course we had to have a mission!
We decided to capture stories of people who are making a difference all over the world. We wanted to help other people realise that yes, there is more to life, and no, you don’t need lots of money or any special skills to make a difference and have a fulfilling life.
So we headed to Latin America with a mini language guide, a new camera and our backpacks and started the process of collecting stories.
Travel Fact: Latin America is HUGE!
Latin America is an incredible place to travel through and in each country we find communities with a rich spirit and generosity that has blown us away. People have invited us to stay in their houses at first greeting, complete strangers lend us what we intended to buy, and in every city and town we arrive as strangers and leave with friends.
And then there are the stories themselves – we’ve been invited to remote places, to meet isolated communities who struggle with generations of poverty, discrimination, tragedy and war and still we are welcomed with smiles, generosity and open hearts.
The plan was to spend a year in Latin America, but we only got from Venezuela to Cuba! Oops!
So our second year started back in Colombia, with the intention of heading south.
I am writing this from Medellin, we will be here for a couple more weeks before moving south to cross the border into Quito, Ecuador.
At the end of 2012 we went to visit two World Vision projects in Mexico and hope to get a chance to film some more in South America this year. We have heard whispers of people who using Guinea pig waste as fuel and incredible projects lifting the importance of women in families – cool? Yes!
We are pretty thrilled to be World Vision Blog Ambassadors and be involved even in just a small way in such a special organisation. What’s next? We will have to wait and see!
Take a look at our video from Mexico, where we got the chance to see World Vision’s work up close.
Serena Star-Leonard is a business coach, blogger and author of the bestselling book “How to Retire in 12 Months”. She is travelling the world for three years with her husband John, filming community projects for their passion project Five Point Five.