I got my first passport and traveled outside the United States for the first time when I was 31. Two years later, thanks to extensive international travel related to the job I had at the time, that passport was full and my life was changed.
Travel has long been an extremely transformative experience, opening my eyes, heart and mind to so much as I have experienced different cultures around the world. As I spent time developing the Wandering Well concept, I knew that once the site was ready, I wanted to partner with an organization that was doing something unique and powerful with travel.
Enter the Foundation for Learning and Youth Travel Education, or FLYTE, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that empowers students living in underserved communities through transformative travel experiences.
FLYTE was founded in 2015 by the New York Times Bestselling travel author, Matthew Kepnes, widely known as Nomadic Matt, who runs one of the most popular website for budget travelers. Growing up in Boston, Matt didn’t take his first trip overseas until he was 23. That trip changed the course of his entire life. He returned from his trip, quit his job, and in July of 2006, set out on an adventure around the world, and he’s been traveling ever since. Realizing that so many students in underserved communities never get to experience the transformative power of travel, he founded FLYTE and has dedicated his efforts to helping people realize their travel dreams and make them a reality.
FLYTE establishes partnerships with schools in low-income communities which lack the existing resources to provide a global education for their students, with the aim to provide schools with the funding to make experiential travel a possibility. Rather than offering the same global destinations each year, they work closely with educators to find the countries that best align with their curriculum and provide full scholarships to low-income students to participate, so no student will ever be turned away based on their ability to pay.
At FLYTE, they believe that through these global experiences, students will be encouraged to explore and develop their understanding of the world and foster a sense of possibility in them. They want students to seek new experiences, engage as global citizens, and learn for themselves that the world is so much bigger than the community from which you come.
My own story is that experiential travel has undoubtedly shaped me and helped me explore and develop my own deeper understanding of the world and my place in it. As soon as I discovered FLYTE and learned about their mission, I knew they were who I wanted to partner with at Wandering Well.
For every purchase made at Wandering Well, 10% of the profits will go to FLYTE to help provide life-changing travel experiences to students living in underserved communities. It is my hope that through every dollar we’re able to send their way, students’ lives would be changed, their minds opened, and that they would come alive to their own lifelong mindful exploration of the world.
You can learn more about the Foundation for Learning and Youth Travel Experience (FLYTE) at takeflyte.org.