Heading into the new year, we’re all about reliving our best travel memories and resolving to keep travel a big part of our lives. So to wrap up the end of our 50th anniversary celebration as part of EF Education First, we asked travelers: What’s a travel memory you’d want to make a travel tradition? Ralph’s entry hit home for all of us—Read on to see his winning story and how his travels have changed his perspective.
As self-proclaimed adventurous travelers, Ralph and his wife are known for getting out of their comfort zones and going off the beaten path. While they had been to South America previously, Ralph and his wife looked to Go Ahead for help when they were ready for a trip to Machu Picchu.
While Ralph and his wife enjoyed the ease of the trip, they are “habitual planners” who like to organize their free time and days off—which is how they ended up on a side trip to a settlement outside Lima, where Peruvians live with limited resources. They were able to visit a public kitchen and a school, and also had the opportunity to chat with the local families living there.
“These people are just trying to find a piece of land and build something on it, they’re just trying to make their way,” Ralph said of the experience. “They don’t leave after they’ve established themselves. They stay there and look to build a community, rather than seeing it as a stepping-stone to get to Lima. I found that kind of inspiring.”
As for Ralph’s biggest takeaway from the visit? “We look at these people in these situations and we think about our own safety, but they’re just like everyone else. They have families, children, the same problems we do, just with a lot less money. It was just an eye-opening experience to see what their circumstances are. Just the commonalities I found with all of them, their generosity and warmth, it took our breath away.”
After visiting the village in Peru, Ralph and his wife decided to make a commitment to seek out more ways to give back on tour and while they’re traveling. “It got us thinking; We visit these countries, we see these sites, could we perhaps do something a little more?”
Ralph will definitely have his chance on his next tour, and at the top of his list is a visit to Africa. “We’ve been in kind of this adventurous spirit the last couple years, and Africa’s been on my bucket list for quite some time,” he says. “I like the idea of visiting schools there, too.”
Congratulations to Ralph! Missed any of our other free tour winners? Check out the complete list here.