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Travelling Latin America on a mission

World Vision
29 June 2013 by Serena Star-Leonard
Travelling Latin America on a mission

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:

  1. It can take a huge amount of hard work to make a difference
  2. It can be a lonely and frustrating experience
  3. Life is more colourful, satisfying and delicious when you are contributing to something or someone.

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.


6 Responses

  • Rob Daniel says:

    Brilliant, love it!!

  • Tracey Scott says:

    i loved watching the videos. it would be a wonderful experience to do what you’re doing. how do i get started.

    • Hey Tracey,

      That is a big question! For us, we had to work out how we could fund our lifestyle, we also had to figure out what we would need to learn to make it a reality – like buying a camera and learning how to film and edit the mini documentaries.

      We really just took one step at a time and found solutions to each thing as it came up rather than thinking about the project as a whole because there were so many unknowns for us.

      Our door is open to people who would like to collaborate with us in some way or write for us, so if you would like to get a taste feel free to contact me!

      Serena : )

      • Tracey Scott says:

        sorry about the lateness of replying. I didn’t know you had replied. I would love to be involved in some way.

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