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5 Top destinations for 2019: Secret Places to Travel
15 January, 2019 0
The New Year has begun and another full year ahead of new destinations in this world to discover.
There are a lot of secret places on this planet worth to travel, which have chosen sustainable environment-friendly tourism.
Sustainable Travel is Off-The-Beaten-Path Travel
To begin with, let’s focus on a lesser-visited place where there is a place to think outside the box. There is nothing worse in travel than too many tourists in one place. This is why sustainable tourism can be discovered off-the-beaten-path.
While enjoying the unique experience of travelling be conscious and aware of every moment.
Sustainable Travel is Mindful Travel 
Sustainable travel is slow and mindful travel. Thus, better to learn from one specific experience than rushing from one place to another and not be aware of anything new you see.
There are so many places in the world to explore that put their efforts towards sustainability and haven’t been yet visited too much.
We discovered 5 destinations that are definitely worth to visit next year.
Shortlisted as “Destinations of Excellence” for their initiative to create a positive impact, these destinations can be on your “sustainable travel list” for 2019:
  1.SARREGUEMINES, France   Pure nature for young and old!

Foto: ©EDEN

 
For the ones, who love the nature and outdoor activities, the picturesque city of Sarreguemines at the border triangle of Germany, Luxembourg and Belgium is a must.
It is at the meeting point of the two rivers, called Blies and Sarre and in between of two UNESCO Biosphere Reserves. Therefore, fisherman, cyclists or hikers can enjoy several leisure activities around the area, like the ‘Velo visavis’ cycling network (nearly 300 km) and the favourite hiking trails through the woods and meadows.
  2. THE BURREN, Ireland Another UNESCO heritage region worth to visit is The Burren, in the southwest of Ireland. The UNESCO global geopark integrates fertile valleys, authentic villages and an outstanding and unique landscape. There you can also find the most extensive cave system in Irland, the largest stalactite in Europe and the Burren National Park. Foto: ©EDEN
For all the food lovers- the region of The Burren has a vibrant food culture and offer tourists The Burren Food Trail, an opportunity to uncover the history of the area through its food.
  3. MARGINIMEA SIBIULUI, Romania  

Foto: ©EDEN

Foto: ©EDEN

 
The Marginimea Sibului is a region in Transylvania and known as the land of shepherds, sheep cheese and meat delicacies. All the traditional products, produced in the area reflects the richness of its land but also shows the cultural diversity.
An essential part of the regions culinary and cultural tradition is the various types of cheese of Marinimea Sibiului, which arrived from different specific production techniques.
This fascinating cultural experience of the region of Romania gives you an insight into real authentic country life – an experience definitely worth to live.
    4. OTTIGNIES-LOUVAIN-LA-NEUVE, Belgium  
Ottignies-Louvain-La-Neuve is a pedestrian city in the province of Walloon Brabant in Belgium with a unique atmosphere and a lot of charm.
It is a very young, creative and multicultural city with very green surroundings that consist of two separate town centres.

Foto: ©EDEN

This destination has a lot of cultural activities to offer - from museums and theatre-shows to authentic restaurants and welcoming shop experiences.
Visiting this authentic region of Walloon Brabant in Belgium is definitely an off-the-beaten-path experience you will not quickly forget.
      5. PLATELIAI, Lithuania  

Foto: ©EDEN

The region of Plateliai in the Zemaitija National Park is one of the parts in Lithuania that preserves old traditions like at Old Shrove Tuesday.
If you want to visit this beautiful area of Northern Lithuania, it is definitely worth during this period to experience devils, witches, goats and other frightening characters appear in costumes during Shrive Tuesday.
During these famous festival days, you can taste the traditional regional foods, like the round pancakes, reminding the round sun.
Apart from the cultural and culinary traditions the Plateliai Lake, which is the centre of attention in the Zemaitia National Park and the most beautiful lake of Lithuania, is an excellent place for walking an cycling trails.
This area is a fantastic secret hotspot that definitely is worth a journey.

Foto: ©EDEN

           
Blog
Time for a Change – Time for Us and our Planet
2 January, 2019 0
Have you thought about your New Year’s resolution for 2019? Another 365 days lie ahead for us to put into practice everything we are planning to do. A change can happen every day and every time. However, New Year helps to mark an official and concrete beginning to set oneself a target What are you waiting for? Christmas is over – the peaceful and contemplative time still in our mind and the last time of the year 2018 done. No more procrastinating – the time has come to think about your personal list for 2019 New Year’s resolutions. Probably on this list might not be missing a new destination you always wished to visit? So, why don’t we start here? Yes, there exist possibilities of turning our desire for travelling into something that creates an impact on our fellow men and environment. Together, step-by-step, we can make small sustainable decisions that will help lead to a significant change. The three New Year’s resolutions related to travelling that should appear on your list for 2019: 1. "Think global, act locally” A common saying, or better said, a principle that urges people to consider the health of our planet and thus take action in their own communities and cities. Without considering the global impact of our actions, how can we contribute to making this world a better place for our fellow men and future generations? Therefore, we have to start in our surroundings and to be more concrete – in our daily routine. Indeed, it is easier to talk about changing our daily routine to a more sustainable lifestyle. The day-to-day stress, work and at the same time maintaining our social life often leave aside the time to think about a sustainable change in our daily routine. All the more, it should be part of a resolution that needs to be achieved. It is never too late - if you decide to recycle paper, glass, and plastic and start using public transportation and bikes (or you will start after the list of 2019 New Year’s resolutions :-) ) you are on the right way to contribute to a positive impact in this world. Of course, there is much more outside – let’s not forget our desire of seeing the globe’s cultural richness and dive into the world of sustainable tourism.
2. Connect with people from different cultures & support the local communities If you choose to include intercultural experiences in your life and are curious to learn from new cultures – you always have the option of doing so and at the same time, leaving a positive footprint. If there is a volunteering element involved, truly responsible travel businesses will work directly with local NGOs to ensure the program meets the needs of the community and are not just “feel good” experiences for travellers. As we know, the primary goal should be a long-term positive impact. It is about the interpersonal exchange between locals and travellers that has the power to effectuate positive outcomes that not only enriches the traveller’s experience but also provides the local communities sustainable profits. 3. Support ideas that make the world better Last but definitely not least – to be part of the chance that initiates a positive impact in our world we have to be part of the ideas that seeks to make the world better. We can be part of this movement if we strive to support different actions and understand the necessity of each individual’s participation and will to actually cause a change for the good. No matter if it is about the environment or intercultural coalescence – what matters is your own initiative to leave a positive impact that makes the world better. 2019 has begun. Start your journey into this New Year and make a change - for you, for us, and for the planet.
Blog
Sustainable Gifting – A Brief Insight
20 December, 2018 0
Every year the same nuisance:  “what should I give my boyfriend for Christmas this year?”  “What would my mother be happy about?” And: “What should I buy for them this year?” Year after year we are struggling with these thoughts, but in the end, these good thoughts and gifting end up in stress, disputes and a lot of trash. Did you know that in the four weeks leading up to Christmas the household waste increases by 25 %? No wonder, the pre-Christmas campaigns in shops and markets start early, in order to ensure that we all fall into the traps of consumerism.
However, this shocking amount of waste we produce every year before Christmas (apart from the waste we already leave during the rest of the year) affects our environment and thus, our entire world and species.
Let’s rethink our behaviour and let’s change the way we gift our beloved ones. Together, we can make small sustainable decisions that will help us to contribute to a positive change in our world.
Christmas is coming - a peaceful and contemplative time full of meaningful and beautiful traditions, where we all want to give pleasure to those we love.
First of all, let’s rethink about the necessity of gifting material things. How about giving a unique experience instead of a new sweater? Sometimes, the gift of experience means much more than providing a tangible gift – and often provokes a greater pleasure to the one who receives it. Concert tickets, a dinner for two or simply an of “togetherness” can be a great gift. However, not only “experiences” are waste-free gifts that contribute to sustainability – but here we provide you also with other examples of how you can create an impact by gifting:
Buying fair trade products – sounds banal – thus, is a good start and an eco-friendly option to the mass-produced counterparts. A gift of this type is not only a gift for one- but for the entire globe.
The gifts we buy should be meant to last. Therefore, choosing quality over quantity is another crucial point that makes this world better. How about a book about real consciousness and the power of silence? “Silencio – 10 Unlikely Places of Silent Energy and Peace”, written by Elena Rodriguez Blanco, sums up the importance of inner peace while travelling and the awareness that life happens wherever we settle down and listen. In stressful Christmas- preparations it might be a suitable gift – an incentive to behold to our inside and enjoy this peaceful and contemplative time next to our beloved ones.
And of course the final touch of our gifts that identify the gift as a gift and gives it an unusual sensation - the wrapping paper. All that wrapping paper might be the worst part of the waste that is being produced every year around Christmas time. However, there is a better way: Sustainable wrapping paper out of recycled material will make a relevant change – try it out!
As soon as Christmas comes, as soon it is over and sooner as we can imagine we are back to our daily routine. The goal should be for all of us to maintain this sustainable consciousness during everyday life – it will be necessary to create a positive impact in this world.
Start with small steps – a change is a process that needs time. Maybe we can begin this Christmas – can you already think of something?
Start with small steps – a change is a process that needs time. Maybe we can begin this Christmas – can you already think of something?
Sustainable gifting should be for the good of the entire earth. Try to give this year by keeping the motive in mind, and I am sure every present you choose will be the right gift for your beloved ones.
         
Blog
Experiencing Art through Travel
11 December, 2018 0

Foto: © Authenticitys

  “When you visit a country, visit the forgotten artisans of the narrow streets because they are the ones who made that country! Do this, not to honour them but to honour yourself!” ― Mehmet Murat ildan   This blog post might serve as a reflection about the authenticity of travelling. Let’s think about what that word might mean in relation to both travel and art. So, if you think about travelling, you usually try to search for an authentic experience, something that goes beyond a typical encounter with a new culture of a country. “Travel like locals”- how often do we try to obtain this experience? You see, all too often art can be seen as an expression of showing the own culture, to demonstrate the lived experiences and the learning process. The artist’s work is a reflection of what his or her mind is about. Probably, what most of you always associated with travel in Europe is the exploring of museums, cathedrals and other historic buildings. Thus, the discovering of authentic art in a culture is part of tourism and travel. In this sense, the authentic experience of a culture that you visit is often given through the eyes of art you see and experience there. Probably the main reason why writing about the experience of art through travel is important is to show that art and travel aren’t far away from each other – contrariwise - they have some crucial connection points. Discovering beauty The experience of local art might provide you with an alternative side to learn from another culture and a deeper cultural understanding of the country you visit. However, it is not enough to find out what different ways of expression exist and to learn the disparities to your own culture. The condition is to try to understand the culture through local art. Only by then, the real beauty of a new culture can be discovered. “The World is a book and those who do not travel read only a page.” – Saint Augustine There are plenty of things to be gained from going abroad: new friends, new experiences, new stories. And of course – new attitudes towards life. But travelling into another country may come with another benefit, too: Some scientists say it can also make you more creative. Imagine this prospering creativity that comes through travelling by discovering local art in your journey – a double learning effect. If you are really open to discover the beauty of a different culture through art, there are plenty of possibilities waiting for you. Maybe one of the most authentic local art expressions in a city can be seen in Street Arts. Like in on of our experience tours in Athens you are getting to know a different side of the town through the eyes of one of the most provocative and celebrated artists there. By experiencing this type of local art, you will gain a profound understanding of what is happening at the heart of the city through an unconventional way and support the artistic community that thrives there. Another example leads us to the local art experience in Buenos Aires, where you have the chance to visit the main galleries of contemporary art in the city with a specialist guide in this field. If you have ever wondered how a local artist sees his own culture – these experiences take you through the underworld of art and provide you with a deep understanding, far away from “normal” tourism. And of course – the pure beauty of artisan art pieces show precise traditions of a culture where you get to know the local side better. Like in tours through the Artists colony in Delhi the creative local communities can be inspiring for your own creativity and a stimulation to understand the foreign culture. In general, we should all invest more time and thoughts about art and the individual expression of views while we are travelling – because it is an alternative but direct way to discover the beauty of the culture in the country or city we are visiting.

Foto: © Authenticitys

 
Blog
When sustainable tourism meets microfinance
4 December, 2018 0
Is it possible that tourism can contribute to poverty alleviation in our world? We say –  “Yes, it is!”

Foto: © Alternative Peru

So, let us explain what we mean by that:
It has become more accessible than ever before to travel from one point of the world to another, experiencing different cultures and using a variety of opportunities that are exposed to us. Family and friends, voluntarily dispersed over the world as a whole becomes more and more habitual and does not prevent us from seeing each other rarely.
More than ever, it has become a significant part to find ways and solutions to turn these global changes into a useful tool to transform this world into a better place, fighting back poverty and destitution. Therefore, the travel industry has opened its doors to various sustainable tourism businesses, contributing to a world of good.
How can our increasingly globalised world and the powerful travel and tourism industry serve to fight poverty?
The Ph.D. research into “Microfinance Tourism and Poverty Alleviation” analyses the extent to which Microfinance Tourism serves as a tool to fight poverty in developing countries and provides recommendations for the practical development of it. As an influential social impact Startup in the tourism industry, Authenticitys participated in this research. Besides, the first social enterprise of our Co-founder and social entrepreneur Elena Rodriguez Blanco was about microfinance and tourism and thus, provided the research professional information on the issue.
Microfinance tourism is the intent to engage tourists and tourism organisations to find solutions and possibilities for poverty issues.
The vision of microfinance-related goals seeks to assist men and women living in poverty to engage in different projects, to develop personal capabilities and skills and of course, to gain basic needs through financial provisions. In a way, it can “positively influence the global structures (including exploitative and/or unjust tourism structures) that exaggerate and/or perpetuate poverty” and provide also to tourists and tourism organizations social responsible alternatives. What happens when tourism meets microfinance?
One can say that microfinance tourism is capable of offering, beyond alternative tourism experiences, positive socio-political solutions that contribute to poverty alleviation by engaging tourists and local communities to collaborate.
As a matter of fact - microfinance organisations and associations can offer people living in poverty the necessary financial and educational support to be integrated into entrepreneurial activities. Thus, in this sense, tourism can reduce poverty by introducing economic and educational development solutions.
Here’s an example of how one unique microfinance organisation in Peru is building a unique relationship between tourists and regional indigenous groups:
One of the intercultural experiences Authenticitys offers is an alternative guided tour through the outskirts of the city Cusco. Here is, where you get to know the other side of the city with a guide that leads you through the local neighbourhoods‘ off-the-beaten-path’.

Foto: © Alternative Peru

This specific experience will take you to the higher areas of the city, where the ‘pueblos Jovenes’ have settled. It is a tour where you will meet the organisation ‘Asociación Pro Vivienda’ that gives you relevant background information about the local communities of the area, the history, and their lives.
This intercultural encounter with local Cusqueños focuses on current topics like cultural recognition, discrimination, environmental problems, and other social obstacles. Through this project organisation it is not only possible to connect people of different cultural backgrounds and engage local people in a tourism organisation, but also to invest in the local economy and support a local social project that contributes to better the socio-political conditions of the communities. The goal is to foster the intercultural encounter between tourists and local people and to engage the local people to collaborate in a tourism organisation that profits for both sides- tourists and locals.
Tourism that leaves a positive impact - it is a unique chance to get in touch with the locals, exchange your visions, ideas, and experiences in life and thus, to support and assist people in the communities to engage in different social projects.
 Thinking together, in the long run, will not only provide unique experiences and better transform the tourism industry- what is more, it enables sustainable solutions that fight poverty and support communities at the margin of society to get integrated and stand up for themselves.
Is it possible that tourism can contribute to poverty alleviation in our world?
We say – “Yes, it is!” And much more than that.
Blog
Sustainable Shopping ? No Shopping !
28 November, 2018 0

Foto: ©Greenpeace

Did you survive THE world's biggest shopping day last week? How many of you could not resist this year’s Black Friday- shopping? It’s no secret – for many people in this world, Black Friday is the most important shopping day of the entire year. Millions of so-called “Shopaholics” are ready to wait in line for hours and even to camp on sidewalks to rush through doors when the stores open, in order to get what they want – cheaper. Sales, Sales, discount, more, more and more – every year on a usual Friday-November the same commotion. Has this day become all about money, consumerism, and greed? As with many other organisations, like Greenpeace, we from Authenticitys would like to present you an alternative point of view about “Black Friday”: Ever heard of the campaigns #NoBlackFriday or #BuyNothingDay (#BND)? Some people believe that Black Friday represents a consumer culture, which is harming the planet. Out of this belief and as a protest against the capitalist strategy behind Black Friday, the Buy Nothing movement encourages people to take a stand by buying nothing at all or only buying handmade or used goods. Of course, the initiative behind Buy Nothing Day hopes that the idea will extend beyond just one day and provoke a new way of thinking and a sustainable solution. There are tons of things to do, rather than falling into the track of capitalism and to spend the money on unnecessary articles.  More and more people are following this movement, spreading the critical message of sustainable awareness to the world and thus, triggering a new wave that is a step further to create a better world. Of course, also the tourism industry is affected by the massive surge of Black Friday. All the offers and tempting possibilities that are spread through the media are often hard to resist, especially in a new city, where everything seems new and exciting. All the more, it has become crucial for a sustainable world to behold to the insight, think twice and act in an alternative way. Watch out for our travel guide, sign up and get it for free. You might ask yourself now - how can I do that? There are a couple of things that offer you alternative solutions to “commercial shopping” where you support a sustainable environment. (Watch out our travel guide) A first step could be your own signature shopping bag. We all know, plastic is not good for our planet, as they end up in landfills that take forever to process. Thus, cloth bags instead of plastic bags are a great way to make a statement and to contribute to sustainability. And of course - shop local! “When you buy from a small business, you’re not helping a CEO buy his third holiday home. You’re helping a little girl get dance lessons, a little boy his team jersey, moms and dads put food on the table. Shop local. ” This quote sums up the shop local movement, one of our key messages. We believe that what you spend your money on is what you choose to empower. When it comes to travel, we’re passionate about giving urban travelers the chance to spend their money on businesses and initiatives that make communities better, rather than ones that build large international conglomerates more prosperous.
In this sense, there is also the option to find sustainable fashion stores that better transform the tourism industry.
The Sustainable Fashion Walkabout in “El Born”, is a tour Authenticitys provides,  as an alternative and sustainable fashion experience in Barcelona. With a local fashionista, you can explore the native designers, local boutiques and nature-inspired materials that make up Barcelona’s sustainable fashion scene. In this way, you will not only support the local economy but also ecological innovation and sustainability in the fashion world. Forget Black Friday - celebrate Buy Nothing Day instead and transform the word “shopping” into a contribution for a sustainable environment. Might be worth thinking about …              
Blog
Social Impact Through Language and Culture Exchange
9 November, 2018 0
Since last year, the social impact platform Authenticitys collaborates with the project of Abrazo Cultural, which offers language courses, cultural workshops and intercultural experiences with migrants in Barcelona. Abrazo Cultural is an open space organized by people from different backgrounds that provides not only cultural workshops and events but offers as well language courses, given by refugees. The cultural workshops include, among other things, the Arabic script, Syrian cookery courses, as well as decoration and handicraft workshops. These activities provide the experience to learn from other cultures, share cultural experiences and connects people from different cultural backgrounds. Besides, the language courses contribute to foster the intercultural understanding between people and is an intent to break our cultural and national borders. How can we contribute to avoiding dehumanization of refugees in the cities we live in? “Being a refugee is the most pervasive cruelty that can be exercised to human beings. You are forcibly robbing this human being of all aspects that would make human life not just tolerable but meaningful in many ways” (Weiwei, 2016). With these words from his documentary “Human flow”, the Chinese contemporary artist and activist, Ai Weiwei reveals the plain truth of a refugee’s fate and brings out the dehumanizing reality. The ‘simple’ fact of being a refugee already brings a dehumanization with it: the exigency of leaving behind everything you set up in your life and, in a sudden, find yourself in a continuous uncertainty and constrained restlessness is what marks the questionable condition of the human beings. All the more, these individuals should get an exceptional status to help them to preserve their dignity and to encourage them to a trustful and forward-looking attitude. The focus of projects like Abrazo Cultural is set on the necessity of a mutual commitment and the collaboration in order to recognize the individuals behind a "fleeing mass" and to help to maintain the humane conditions of refugees. Our solidarity is required and necessary in society to maintain or establish a stable and connected community. Especially for people who have to flee from their countries of origin, because of war or other reasons, we have to open our doors and arms and provide the chance to get equally involved in our society. Thus, the collaboration of Authenticitys with the organization Abrazo Cultural is an intent to sensitize people to obtain and impart intercultural awareness and to demonstrate the necessity of social responsibility by connecting with people seeking asylum. Travelling with the aim of learning from refugees contributes to a great extent to the establishment of an equal-based society and generates positive outcomes of the intercultural encounter. By choosing the social impact of equality, considering the roots of humanity and holding on to our insight, one might be able to put oneself in the other’s position and therefore erase the dehumanizing danger of refugees.

"Abrazo Cultural" Foto: © Abrazo Cultural

"Learning from each other" Foto: © Abrazo Cultural

Blog
The challenge of managing “Overtourism”
5 November, 2018 0
How has it become so far? Why are travelling people around the world provoking the new term of “tourismphobia”? More and more people are moving into urban areas, leading to the fact that nowadays more than half of the world’s population live in cities. This inflow of people into cities increases the tourism flow into urban destinations and thus, challenges the impact of tourism on cities and its residents. To dive deeper the on-going issue, it is essential to name some relevant definitions to better understand the meaning and the impact of it. What does “overtourism” actually look like? And how can “tourismphobia” be defined? On the executive summary about “Overtourism” the World Tourism Organization described the expanding issue as the “the impact of tourism on a destination, or parts, therefore, that excessively influences perceived quality of life of citizens and/or quality of visitors experiences in a negative way”. Dealing with the current issue, the Responsible Tourism Partnership links ‘overtourism’ with “destinations where hosts or guests, locals or visitors, feel that there are too many visitors and that the quality of life in the area or the quality of the experience has deteriorated unacceptably. It is the opposite of Responsible Tourism, which is about using tourism to make better places to live in and better places to visit. Often both visitors and guests experience the deterioration concurrently.” Tourism is, or better said, should be an opportunity for communities and their people to share the benefits of their cities and to foster the socio-economic development, employment, infrastructure development, and export revenues. The challenge of tourism has always been to find a way that benefits both sides- the visitors and the residents. Unfortunately, the issues of perceived overcrowding, noise, pollution in some cities and other things emergence protests against tourism and turns it into a prevalent thread, spreading terms such as ‘overtourism’ and ‘tourismphobia’ in the media. “Tourists go home”, Tourism kills the neighbourhood” – messages like these have been seen on walls or public spaces in several travel destinations. How can we deal with this problem? How can we create awareness of the on-going issue and bring sustainable tourism to the masses? With the focus on engaging travellers and to make sustainable tourism mainstream, there is a group of organisations, including Authenticitys, that spread the idea not to put pressure destinations but rather to offer quality experiences to citizens as well as to visitors. This actions would also enhance the relationship between residents and visitors and therefore, create a sustainable tourism environment. Only through the right community engagement, a careful planning that respects the capacity of the destinations and especially by increasing the relation between visitors and residents- tourism will be sustainable. “Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable” – states Goal 11 of the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations New Urban Agenda. To deal with overtourism must now be a priority and each individual being has to be part of this process – to turn “overtourism” back to tourism, as a possibility that benefits both sides- the visitors and the residents. Within the framework of the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, designated by the United Nations, also this year the influencing global campaign #travelenjoyrespect is trying to follow its main objectives like raising worldwide public awareness about the issue and mobilizing relevant actions in a city destination to foster sustainable traveling. “Respecting the culture and rights of the people of the city in which you are traveling, minimizing the environmental damage caused by the act of traveling, practicing ethical consumption, and making an effort to choose local shops, restaurants, markets, and handicrafts” – might be impulses to think of a sustainable way of traveling. All travellers and citizens likewise, living or visiting in a travel destination deserve to live content and sustainable and thus, the common will of creating this sustainable development will be necessary. Perhaps overtourism is an outcome of our present reality of immense mobility and new cross-culture possibilities; however, one should never leave behind the idea of travelling in a sustainable way, including the intercultural exchange and the respect for the earth.
Blog
Why intercultural awareness is crucial for travellers
19 October, 2018 0
cultural.awarness.authenticitys The whole process of intercultural communication begins with the perception of the differences that exist in the encounter with the 'other' individual. The message of intercultural communication circulates around the "message linkage between individuals or groups from two different cultural situations" and the “the bridging of the gap between different cultures”. One can ask now - What does this have to do with Authenticitys and our way of travelling? Travelling with social impacts starts with the necessity of intercultural awareness and mutual understanding. One has to mention that Interculturality is based on this mutual understanding and interests, in which respect towards ‘the other’ is needed to learn from each other. The proper intercourse with diversity is not only about tolerating and accepting different cultures. It is about the inquiring and explaining of oneself in order to create this essential, common bond. Only through the openness in an intercultural encounter, the opposing subjects can understand each other and intercultural coexistence can actually become fruitful. No matter in which city you are travelling, which culture you visit- the encounter with ‘the other’ is guaranteed and thus, intercultural awareness needed. Thus, growing familiarity towards ‘the other’ has to proceed step by step. Like most of the things in life, this process is necessary to provide some time for mutual understanding and learning. An outstanding example of Authenticity offers would be the tour “Walking with the Zenú Community” in Cartagena, Colombia. This experience is all about intercultural interactions and connections and getting to know the perspective of the ‘other’. Also, tours like “Experience local Lima” in Peru try to create with tourism a social impact that fosters the intercultural awareness and the interest in foreign cultures. What is more, for more than 30 years, every second Sunday of October the ‘Día Internacional de Cometas por la paz’ (One Sky, One World) is celebrated - an event supported by the United Nations and UNESCO that uses the kite as a multicultural symbol to promote the mutual understanding among peoples, social justice and dialogue for coexistence. To cut a long story short - a day of sensitization, public participation, and social denunciation. The objective of such events and tours is to recognize and interact with the complexity of ‘the other’ for a peaceful coexistence. Peace and peaceful coexistence in a society can only be established if individuals break their own cultural barriers and recognize the other human being in the interpersonal encounter. This interpersonal relationship of an intercultural encounter must always be taken into account. The key that needs to be discovered from the concept of the intercultural exchange is the 'simple' humanity, the relationship between two or more human beings who communicate because it is the only way to share our thoughts. Obviously, it is not easy to set aside our prejudices about the 'other', and it is even more difficult to modify our way of thinking and change our perspectives. However, it is necessary to start from there - changing our way of thinking and recognizing the 'other' in a positive way. Therefore, the world, which each individual has to strive for, is a world in which each individual is well received and approaches the 'other' with an open mind, interest, and curiosity to learn something ‘new’. In common sense - to struggle for peace. This hope lies in the way children are acting - sincere and with open hearts like they are born, acting as symbols for peace in the world. As Dante Algheri says: "Three things remain of paradise: the stars of the night. The flowers of the day. And the eyes of children (1265-1321) ". Approaching the other human being with honesty and without prejudice, like a child, that should be our objective in each interpersonal encounter while travelling. Let us be the initiative to change the world for a world of peace and equality, where each individual is welcome with its uniqueness and uniqueness. Let us break the borders of our cultural "shell", and learn from the exemplary mind of children, by facing the "new" with sincerity and curiosity to spread worldwide peace. And let us travel the world open-minded, honest and authentic, to enable peace and harmony in this world: “How can there be peace without people understanding each other? And how can this be, if they don’t know each other. But how can that be, if they do not in the first place set out to know themselves“ (De Gennaro, 2017). birds.flying.authenticitys
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Getting Personal…and FINALLY (doing what many of you have told me to)
1 May, 2018 0

Barcelona from my home (and the moon setting in a very early spring morning)

So, you probably haven’t heard from me via email for a while. Most of you might know I have been travelling, and, scaling my business, Authenticitys. And maybe you have been following some of my adventures via social media. Well….today is a bit different. Today is a holiday in Barcelona, where I am at the moment, and I wanted to take a bit of time to share something more personal. Here goes. I was recently out with friends who are as passionate about experiences as I am. We not only like to ask each other “What are the best experiences in different places we travel to?”, but what actually makes for good experiences. And what this particular group of friends didn’t know (yet) is that for years for my birthday I have been designing experiences for myself, but that every year the stakes seem to be getting higher when I consider what the experiences for THAT day should actually be. This got me thinking about how I should share some of these experiences with you. You will see why as you read further. All my closest friends know that I love to celebrate my birthday (September 19th) in a very experiential way. I always, always celebrate it…regardless of where I might be in the world, or who I am surrounded by. Some years I have celebrated it with complete strangers that then became friends. I think of my birthday as a time of celebration, and also of pushing my boundaries a bit further, expanding and changing. I usually look at what I have experienced so far in life, and where I am at, personally and professionally. And then rather than make new goals, I seek to have an experience that might expand who I am. Some of my friends laugh with me and at me…but I think I get them to think about what experiences can help them grow too. Here are just a few examples of past years for me: • Sleeping out in the open in a mountain 6,000 kms from where I live. • Walking +500 kms by myself in Camino de Santiago. • Going into a retreat called “Radical Aliveness” where I lived every human emotion in one day (in a beautiful place though!). • Flew to San Francisco to start a company (not terribly original, but it happened). • Being in absolute silence for days. • Deciding all the art pieces in my apartment would be made by me or people I know personally (they are not that scary, but definitely abstract!) • Write another book • Not plan my birthday or any weekend for a year • Say “yes” to as many random things as possible that came my way (these have taken interesting directions!) • Just “be” for the day …and the list goes on. Some were experiences that require time and effort, others were about slowing down, or doing something that scared me. The intention is to create something new, shifting things, so to speak. Anyways, even though this year wasn’t a “big number” year, it felt hugely different. I’ve found myself that there had been an accumulation of small paradigm shifts happening in the way I experience life. No midlife crisis yet (and luckily no burnout since the last one 5 years ago!). Maybe it’s everything that is going on in the world, the news, or the way I look at things…or maybe it’s just the spring…who knows! You may be asking, “Elena, so why are you telling us this now?” What I didn’t tell you before about my birthday experience this past year – it was with two close friends, inside an apartment on a rainy day, thinking about how we can serve better, how we can best invest our time, and our energy with everything going on now. It was about how we can show up for others! How I can show up for YOU! I’m serious. As many of you have noticed, I have been investing in redoing and revamping the way I do business. From this +10 years doing what I am doing, the last years were the ones I did the most thinking, feeling and further investing into connecting the dots. In fact, I even went ahead and spent a LOT of money on high-level coaching and trainings that have led to a realisation of intense breakthroughs and AHAs that had been building up all this time. This sort of clarity has taken me to a new version of myself as an entrepreneur and experience designer. And I have been sharing these revelations through my live teaching and masterclasses, and for those people who I get to physically meet. But…(the infamous “But”)… There is one REALLY BIG request I have been getting so frequently and I’ve been holding back – despite many of you asking for it. I’m contemplating doing something about it. But I’m nervous because it means sharing with you more of myself and my business than I have in the past. And I’m also going to need your help. Anyway, the REALLY BIG request is…(will share in the next post) Love, -Elena Rodríguez Blanco, the experiential travel human P.S. I’ll be back with more details in a couple of days. But until then, share in the comments what are some incredible experiences you’ve had that changed you. Does anyone else do something crazy for his or her birthday or any other day?