It’s not every day that we get to help family members across three generations build memories together. Deborah, Josie, and Maia Hart traveled with Elevate Destinations to Peru in May of 2017 to celebrate Mother’s Day.
Deborah had Josie when she was 30, and likewise, Josie had Maia when she was 30. Maia was 10 years old at the time of trip.
The inspiration to travel is undoubtedly personal, an introspective yearning to visit, to experience, to taste, and to feel something unchartered. With an age span of 60 years between grandmother and granddaughter, the Hart’s motivations to travel were certainly multifaceted.
Originally, the family had considered traveling to Paris. However, the city of love didn’t hold the same allure for the youngest traveler, who remarked that she figured they would just be “eating weird food and drinking wine.”
With some internal recalibrating, the Hart found a new muse: Peru! After many years living in the Colorado Rockies, Deborah’s internal compass drew her to a mountainous destination while Maia’s love for animals and penchant for sloths attracted her to the Americas. Josie’s background in organic farming added another exciting avenue to explore. The family found common ground in wanting to make a positive impact on the lives of the people they visited.
A mix of diverse ingredients led Elevate Destinations’ Director of Meaningful Travel, Lana Byal, to suggest Peru as the ideal destination and a trip of a lifetime was immediately in the making.
Their whirlwind journey traced Lima, the Peruvian Amazon, Cusco, the Incas, and Machu Picchu.
“We wanted to be more than just tourists and volunteering with animals felt surface level” – Deborah Hart
The dynamic itinerary spoke to Deborah, Josie, and Maia’s passions individually. Deborah got to explore the Andes and marvel at one of the world’s most striking wonders, Machu Picchu. Josie spent time with the Andean Alliance, a grassroots organization dedicated to supporting sustainable agriculture for communities living in the Andes, and Maia saw her favorite animals in their natural habitat.
The trip came full circle with an opportunity to volunteer with the Chicuchas Wasi school, an innovative girls’ school empowering the next female leaders of Peru.
Deborah shared with us that visiting the Andean Alliance was the moment they realized they had moved beyond a tourist experience.
“We found innovation at 14,000-feet. It was a cross-breeding of experience and knowledge for Josie, who was able to ‘talk shop’ and compare notes with local farmers.” – Deborah Hart
Maia, already precocious at 10-years-old, commented on the educational value of the trip. Dealing with her own struggles to find her place at her current school, visiting the Chicuchas Wasi school in Peru was exactly the perspective she needed, letting us know that the school was “awesome!” and made her realize that she is “lucky to even be in school”.
And the love didn’t stop there. For Maia, visiting the school and connecting with youths from a culture very foreign to her own provided fodder for a deeper dive into cross-cultural understanding:
“Peru helped me to become a better global citizen… the people were so kind and so thoughtful to everybody. Even people from different countries” – Maia Hart
Cultivating global citizenship starts early, and we have no doubt that Maia is well on her way!
Transformational travel is not just what our guests leave behind, it’s what they take home with them. The memories that shared experiences create is more valuable than any souvenir; it is the basis for a stronger family. For the Harts, this adventure was a solidification of their bonds and an appreciation of their unique differences.
“We did so many things that were team efforts. Over dinner we would say what our favorite part of the day was and we learned how we were the same and different as a family” – Maia Hart
As long-time proponents of family and multi-generational travel, the Elevate Destinations team could not have been more thrilled to facilitate a positive experience for a lovely family.