At HI USA, we firmly believe that travel has the power to transform. Meeting new friends from other cultures, participating in the customs of an unfamiliar country or city, and integrating ourselves into the local community are irreplaceable experiences, and ones that help us to better understand the world around us. And the most rewarding travel experiences of all are those that allow us to affect the communities we visit just as positively as they do us.
On September 21, HI-USA and guests from across the world joined together to promote tolerance, understanding, and world peace.
It sounds like a lofty goal, sure, but it's one that the United Nations encourages people to spend at least one day each year working towards. Since 1981, the United Nations has recognized an International Day of Peace; in 2001, the UN established September 21 as an official annual day of global non-violence and ceasefire.
Let's be honest: what traveler among us has never dreamed of working with National Geographic? Exploring the great outdoors, discovering new species, photographing plant- and animal-life up-close… there's something inherently adventurous and cool about this company that's been "inspiring people to care about the planet since 1888."
There are a number of things I find myself feeling grateful for this morning: my body's unprecedented cooperation with actually getting out of bed when the alarm went off, despite the heavy darkness outside my bedroom window; the clear passage to the counter at my favorite coffee shop, free from its usual crowds in the still-fuzzy first light of day; and the perfectly timed arrival of the 49 bus, which takes me from the Mission, the San Francisco neighborhood I call home, to Fort Mason, the little national p