One of the most common reasons why people can’t travel is often due to funds, or a lack of funds. Let’s face it, not everyone can afford to buy an airline ticket and pay for a hotel room, even for a short vacation. I want to share with you a way to travel without having to pay for your airline ticket or your hotel room. Sounds too good to be true? Read on.
I established my first ever bucket list in 1983 when I was 23 years old. One of the items on the list was to complete a marathon before my 40th birthday. Seems like a reasonable goal, but the reality was that I was not a runner, in fact, I wasn’t even a jogger. As my 40th birthday approached, I consulted some of my running friends to get some advice on training. My aim was to complete the marathon, not break any records. I did train for the Honolulu marathon, which I did mostly walk, and during the long race day, I noticed teams of runners and walkers wearing “Joints in Motion” and “Team Diabetes” singlets. I asked what the group was all about, and discovered that they were all part of a team that fundraises for a cause as well as complete a distance race.
After a few weeks of recovery, I looked into the two major groups I saw during the marathon. Both the Joints in Motion (for the Arthritis Society) and Team Diabetes (for the Diabetes Association) have different programs whereby a jogger/runner/walker raises a minimum amount of funds and the trip itself to a great variety of locations is covered.
My first experience with such a project was with the Joints in Motion group. I was assigned a young girl that I was honoring through the project. She and her family taught me a lot about arthritis and the challenges of having that disease at a very young age. I had to raise $5000 and the half-marathon I chose was the one in Disney World Orlando Florida. The fundraising was a bit challenging, but not as much as the training for the race. I did walk most of it and the day of the race we had torrential rains the entire time. I still was very proud to cross the finish line and know that the funds I raised were going to research and development.
MY subsequent projects were with Team Diabetes since many of my family members were diabetic. One race was in Bermuda (a marathon walked in torrential rains, again!) and back in Honolulu. I will be honest and state that the fundraising part takes a certain amount of time, but I discovered that there are so many ways to raise funds for a great cause. I sold off my collection of Beanie Babies (remember those?) and called them Diabeanies – for a minimum donation of $10, people could choose a Beanie Baby. Most donated much more than $10, and my obsolete collection of Beanies served a better cause. We put on a Bluegrass concert and had a silent auction that brought in more than a third of my required funds.
There are many groups that do similar projects, but instead of walking or running a marathon, half marathon or 10k, you trek a certain trail or other similar projects. If you have interest in traveling but your piggy bank isn’t quite full yet, consider checking these groups: Joints in Motion, Team Diabetes, Team Leukemia and many others.