Travel gives us perspective, challenges our expectations, and opens the door to new possibilities. It forces us to see the world and ourselves in a more profound way. I believe that it makes us better people. It gives us experience and understanding that you don’t get when you simply stay in your little corner of the world. It’s like that scene in Good Willing Hunting when Robin Williams say to Will:

So if I asked you about art, you’d probably give me the skinny on every art book ever written. Michelangelo, you know a lot about him. Life’s work, political aspirations, him and the pope, sexual orientations, the whole works, right? But I’ll bet you can’t tell me what it smells like in the Sistine Chapel. You’ve never actually stood there and looked up at that beautiful ceiling.

Reading about something is one thing. Experiencing it is in real life is completely different. I know travel is no panacea. It’s not going to end hunger or bring about world peace. But it does give us perspective and experience. It gives us understanding and makes us more open. It teaches us possibility.

At a time when the world seems to be splitting apart, travel can at least give us a sense of understanding and community.

And that is why I created FLYTE, our community charity designed to give the gift of travel and education to young kids who grow up in places where that seems like a pipedream. Its mission is to expand their minds, show them that the world is full of possibility, and get them to dream big.

Today, I am announcing our next partner school!!!!

Travel has profoundly impacted the lives of the young students we’ve served.

Take Kaleb. He traveled with FLYTE to Mexico in 2016, and now he’s a sophomore at DePauw University studying political science and African studies. This past January, he took a trip study abroad to South Africa and is planning another one to Europe. As he says,

Traveling internationally better informed me not only as a young adult but as a global citizen. The experiences I have had traveling internationally during high school made me more competitive when applying for college and expanded my social consciousness. I can say that I now am more willing to interact with people of diverse backgrounds.

This why FLYTE exists and why I’m so proud of what we have accomplished together. Over 1,200 individuals have helped us grow FLYTE by spreading the word, volunteering, and donating to our fundraisers. We’ve sent close to 40 kids overseas and raised nearly $100,000 to make that happen.

So, I’m pleased to announce that after a long, rigorous application process, our next partner school is The Victor School from Victor, Montana!

Students from Victor

Victor is a tight-knit community about 45 miles south of Missoula. The entire K-12 school system only has 300 students. Lindsey Egelston, the teacher who will be leading this trip, explains that in Victor, “poverty is high and higher education levels are low, and many of our students’ families struggle to make ends meet.”

In June, FLYTE will send Lindsey and her students to Guatemala for ten days, where they’ll navigate the cobblestone streets of Antigua, explore the villages along Lake Atitlán, ignite their taste buds at the Chichicastenango market as well as volunteer with local organizations.

Living so far outside a metropolitan area makes it hard for these students to interact with a diverse range of people. This trip is a chance for these students to see the world, experience new cultures, see the power of education, and see the possibility that exists beyond their small town. It’s a chance to spark an interest in the world and education.

Today, I’m asking for your help. As someone who understands the transformative power of travel, you know how much these experiences can change a student’s life.

I can’t send these kids on this trip without you. We’re trying to raise $30,000 USD for this trip. I’ll be matching donations up to $10,000 and any extra money we raise can be put towards future trips.

Please consider joining our FLYTE Crew monthly giving program and help provide the sustainable support we need to serve a greater number of students. If 100 people give $25 a month, we could fund this trip and additional trip this year!

Not ready to give monthly? A one-time donation still allows us to send the Victor School abroad. Select the one-time option to donate today.

I know this is a budget travel website and most of us don’t have a lot of money but for the cost of a few drinks, you can pay it forward and help great a new generation of responsible travelers!

We at FLYTE want to create a more peaceful, tolerant world, where everyone, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, or socioeconomic status, is empowered to live to their full potential. This starts with our youth and we want to serve more of them.

At a time when people are building up barriers, dictators and nationalism are on the rise, social media brings out the worst in us, it’s more important than ever we do what we can to counteract our worst impulses.

If you’re the type of person that believes love trumps hate, help us help these kids.

If you’re the kind of person that is looking for a way to spread the power of travel, help us help these kids.

Let’s pay all our travel kindness forward and send these kids from the small town on Victor to Guatemala.

Thank you!

— Matt

P.S. – With the help of Carol from Wayfaring Views, we’re piloting a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign to launch at the end of the month. If you’d like to get involved, click here for more details.

P.P.S. – We’ve gotten a lot of questions about how much trips cost and our program expenses. That information is now available on our website.

P.P.P.S. – Want to help us and expand FLYTE’s impact? If you know of teachers who would be interested in applying for funding, let us know. If you know people who would want to get involved, share this post. If you want to help us by volunteering or creating a personal campaign, email us! We’re a small organization still so we need all the help we can get!

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