Citizens of Travel

Bocas del Toro, Panama

Tired of the continuous crappy news? Escape to an out-of-the-way place, like Bocas del Toro.

Tired of the continuous crappy news? Escape to an out-of-the-way place, like Bocas del Toro.

Reflecting on the beauty of travel and my friends.

Reflecting on the beauty of travel and my friends.

Sometimes, the day's news is downright discouraging. Frequently, I don't feel like I can do anything to make the world any better. "I'm just one person.”

Sometimes, I feel powerless. I don't work anymore. I just travel, take photographs, and try to write a blog that isn’t boring. (B.T.Y. thank you for reading this far! I love you.)

Sometimes, I just don't care. "Maybe, I'll just sit back and watch life go by because there's nothing I can do." I can be a tourist and just hang out.

I can act like a tourist.

I can act like a tourist.

But, while having lunch with friends in Bocas del Toro, I am uplifted and reminded of Margret Mead's quote:

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."

I was having sushi with my friends Mathilde, Larry Michael, and Carla. Matilda was telling us about her work with the Darklands Foundation.

Mathilde, me, and Carla in Bocas del Toro (Larry Michael took our photo).

Mathilde, me, and Carla in Bocas del Toro (Larry Michael took our photo).

The Darklands Foundation is an endowment dedicated to the practice of integrated agriculture in the jungle through the production of cacao, with additional cultivation of rainforest crops such as plantains, tubers, fruit trees, medicinal plants, coffee and more.

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Mathilde helped create a bird friendly Worshop/Training with Bocas del Toro indigenous women cacao producers.

“The Darklands Foundation's Bird Friendly Program is aimed to train Bocas cacao producers in basic ornithology related to agroforestry In order to develop their sustainable tourism activities and to obtain the bird friendly certification for their cacao production. 

The Foundation’s focus is on fundraising to hire community leaders and local workers within the community to keep the forest untouched, preserving the habitat of the local fauna and by de-facto restore the biodiversity of their surroundings. “

She is very busy with the Foundation, and she is getting things done.

Escape to a tropical island, away from bad news.

Escape to a tropical island, away from bad news.

Carla was another example of doing small acts to make the world a better place. She owns and operates the Hotel Bocas del Toro and she has a long-term relationship with the Friends of Casa de Asilo (also in Bocas del Toro.)

Casa de Asilo is a senior center/nursing home with 30 residents who depend on the government and the compassion of the community to provide around the clock care. Floating Doctors looks after the healthcare of the residents and assists the community.

Carla was telling us about the recent problems with flooding in Casa de Asilo's current location and how difficult it has been to keep the residents dry and healthy. She brought plastic crates to help move personal belonging off of the floor and out of the water. Her "To Do List" of things included things that nobody else was available to do for the residents.

Mathilde and Karla aren't my only friends working hard to change the world.

I don’t buy souvenirs, but I do donate to my friends who are donating their time and energy.

I don’t buy souvenirs, but I do donate to my friends who are donating their time and energy.

My social networking friend, former co-worker and fellow traveler, Mai ( also a radio host at KBIF 900AM Hmong Radio in Fresno), met a teacher while traveling in Laos. He didn't have tables for his students.

Imagine a classroom without tables! Mai asked for ten Facebook friends to donate for $40 each to buy desks for the class. She quickly got the commitment and personally oversaw the purchase and delivery to the school. She gave students a better chance to concentrate on their studies.

Retired Forest Service botanist, former co-worker, and my social networking friend Marla, used her relationships on Facebook to raise money to support the effort to prevent the spread of invasive plants. Ecosystem diversity is a tough big issue to take on, one weed at a time.

We travel to places where people work hard to make a living.

We travel to places where people work hard to make a living.

And there is Miranda, who I met at Burning Man. She is a gynecologist traveled to Malwai to perform surgery that reversed female genital mutilation (FGM). Consider what a life changing event that is for some young woman who forcibly lost a very personal part of herself to FGM!

My Aunt Pam, writes a non-commercial blog as Sacramento Vegan. She is "helping vegans in the Sacramento area find restaurants with great menu choices for themselves and their non-vegan friends and family." Less beef, less land, and less carbon footprint. Changing the world one veggie burger at a time.

All are shining examples of individuals trying to change the world, and it is my social networking travels that help me follow their work. I think Margret Mead would be proud of them. I am proud to have them as friends.

I have not found my calling. At least not yet. So for now, I am thankful for my ability to travel and I support my friends who are making a difference. Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and email help me keep abreast of their activities.

Political disasters aren't the only news on the internet. Social networking can be a tool used for good. My friends, family, and followers are authentic. Travel is real and inspiring.

Maybe you know someone who could use your support. Be a good citizen of travel and support them.

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."

It’s a big world. Right now, I’m going to support my traveling friends and family until I find my calling.

It’s a big world. Right now, I’m going to support my traveling friends and family until I find my calling.

And sit on the beach…

And sit on the beach…

Thank you Mathilde, Carla, Mai, Marla, Miranda, and Pam for being good people.

#thepowerofproximity, #knowledgeisthenewgold, #womendevelopment, #humandevelopment, #indigenouswomen, #thedarklandsfoundation,
#birdfriendlycacao
#cacaoproduction#indigenousdevelopment, #workshop,