By Kelly Campbell
The places we choose to travel are a reflection of the adventure and inspiration we are looking for in the world. Forget about traditional vacation destinations, and try one of these off-the-beaten-path spots that are sure to feed your soul, reenergize your spirit, and strengthen your faith in humanity.
The Lamu Archipelago is a chain of islands located in the Indian Ocean, off the Eastern Coast of Kenya. Crystal-clear waters, long stretches of white-sand beaches, and untouched mangrove forests keep people coming back to this exotic locale year after year. The best thing about Lamu is that no cars are allowed. Locals and tourists alike walk, hire a dhow, or ride on a donkey to get to their destination, making the breeze coming off the ocean as clean and pure as it gets in the oldest living Swahili settlement in the world. We suggest taking yoga classes at Fatuma’s Tower or Banana House to stretch and relax after a long day of sailing.
This is one place in the world where all the elements of your trip can be related to a worthy social-justice issue relevant throughout the country. Be it landmine removal, fighting human-trafficking, or protecting street children, you can make a difference by simply taking the time to support hotels, shops, and restaurants with a mission. Be sure to grab a meal and a drink at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club (FCC) where travelers from all over, expats, and locals alike partake in interesting conversations and make plans to save the world.
Jacmel is a city steeped in history and culture, located on the southern shores of Haiti. It is reminiscent of New Orleans in its architecture and vibrant colors and is known for its thriving art scene—from artisans lining the streets, creating papier-mâché masks for upcoming carnival parades, to beautiful art galleries displaying Vodou paintings that will capture the imagination and tell stories of struggle, resilience, and hope. Don’t miss the natural wonder of Bassin-Bleu, consisting of three clear pools of water, a beautiful gushing waterfall, and miles of local flora and fauna.
Kelly Campbell is cofounder of The Village Experience and the executive director of The Village Cooperative. She has led over one hundred socially responsible trips around the world and has been the logistical leader for Off the Mat, into the World’s Global Seva Challenge for the past four years.