Name: Rebecca Rothney
Name of non-profit organization: Pack for a Purpose
A short travel bio: At the age of 12, I accompanied my parents to the Bahamas for a snorkeling trip. After that, I never looked back, and in the span of the last fifty years I have had the enormous good fortune and opportunity to make travel a part of my life. I have been to Africa eight times visiting six different countries, to three countries in South America, to 16 countries in Europe, and I am not done yet.
How often do you travel? I travel whenever the opportunity presents itself and the frequent flyer miles have accumulated. After our trip this June, we will have traveled to Africa eight times since 2000.
Who are your travel partner(s)? I always travel with my husband, who is a great travel companion, wonderful photographer, and, as he likes to say, “a carry-on mule at the airport.”
What type of travel do you prefer (adventure, luxury, etc.)? For the last 14 years, my husband and I have been focused on travel involving natural places, because, being 63, we know that the environment is dramatically changing. Being older, I know that the ocean I snorkeled in at 14 is no longer available in many places to 14-year-olds today.
How many countries have you visited? 45 countries and all seven continents
What’s your most memorable travel experience? It was amazing to bring two stethoscopes to a clinic in Kenya that had none and to see the joy on a principal’s face when we brought rulers to a school in Botswana where there were no rulers. And, watching the blue light pulsing from the heart of icebergs in Antarctica was breathtaking and magical when my husband and I were married there. Watching two small lion cubs in the Masai Mara cross a stream for the first time to meet up with their mother was both heartwarming and hysterically funny. Having been fortunate enough to travel for most of my life, it is simply impossible to choose one experience.
What is Pack for a Purpose? Pack for a Purpose is a non-profit, based in Raleigh, NC, that makes it easy for global travelers to donate much needed supplies to the local communities they plan to visit. Pack for a Purpose provides online lists of requested items and more than 300 global collection points in over 45 countries, making it simple for travelers to make a difference on every trip. By simply adding a few medical supplies, school supplies or sports equipments in their luggage, these travelers have made a big impact.
Why did you start Pack for a Purpose? I believe that people want to help if they can find an effective and meaningful way to do so. I was also brought up with the expectation that you always bring a hostess gift to say thank you for someone’s hospitality. Taking these two ideas in hand, my amazing team of volunteers and I created the website so that travellers could easily make a big impact whenever they travel. The response has been rewarding.
Tell us about Pack for a Purpose lodgings: All Pack for a Purpose participants, whether lodgings or tour companies, are supporting projects that assist the local community. Each participant could support one project or several. We have high-end luxury accommodations, budget backpacking options and homestays on our website. With some participants, you can even buy supplies locally, depending on what they say on their needs list page.
You have a worldwide partner network. Are most companies / hotels fairly open to being a partner or does it take a lot of explaining? We have created the website so it is very easy for lodgings and tour companies to apply on their own, and this happens on a frequent basis. When we send an invitation to a potential new lodging or tour company found through research or other connections, they are usually very receptive to joining.
What supplies are most in-demand around the world? There is no accurate way to answer this because it really does depend on the project. One size does not fit all, so we work diligently with the local community project to make sure the current and exact needs are listed on the website. Sanitary napkins are a great need in many parts of the developing world as are simple medicines like aspirin and vitamins.
And, last question: What does your suitcase look like when you travel? Usually we travel with just a carry-on duffel because we use any checked luggage we have to take supplies with us. As three of us are going to Zambia in a few weeks, here is a photo of that luggage.
Sedona, Arizona is one of those places we always talked about visiting, yet somehow never managed to make it past the dreaming phase. We love hiking, we love the outdoors, and we love funky places. Besides, who could resist a long weekend in a place that brags about its amazing energy and vortices? We’re so there!
With our bags packed, gas tank full, sunscreen purchased, and GPS programmed, we embarked on an uneventful 8 hour car ride from San Diego to Sedona, AZ. There’s nothing like a drive through the Mojave Desert to make you thankful for AC and an iPod.
On our Sedona Bucket List:
- Hike, hike, and hike some more
- Visit a vortex
- Eat great food
Where we stayed: The King’s Ransom Sedona Hotel
We liked this hotel because of the ideal location, great value, free Continental Breakfast, hiking from the hotel, nice views, and swimming pool. Although the rooms are on the small side, we made good use of our balcony each evening while otherwise not spending much time in the room.
(Tip: there’s a convenience store located right next to the hotel – buy a case of local beer! Our room had a fridge.)
Sedona, Arizona is sizzlin’ and while certain months might be a bit hot for the average tourist to hit the Red Rock trails, there are plenty of cool things you can knock off of your Sedona Bucket List.
Here are a few Sedona Highlights:
Enjoy the natural water slides…
Photo via hkdezigner
This park is perfect for a picnic on a vortex by the river. Feel the good vibrations.
Margarita at Elote Café
Also known as one of the best restaurants in Sedona, El Nopal features the most amazing margarita of the day, so check the board when you arrive. We sipped on a Beet Margarita. Oh, and don’t skip the Elote appetizer made with fire roasted corn, spicy mayo, lime, and Cotija cheese. It’s delish. But really, order anything and you can’t go wrong… Ricardo loved his Chicken Enchiladas.
Take a hike
Get your hands on a map and choose a hike that’s suits both your interests and fitness level. All hikes are clearly marked: easy, moderate, difficult. Too hot to hike during the day? Consider a sunrise or sunset hike. Or, consider visiting anytime but summer.
As January winds to a close and slips away into the past, have you found yourself losing steam on your New Year’s resolutions (which, I’m guessing, might have included something along the lines of “lose weight, live healthier, get in shape”)?
Expand travel plus wine to travel plus run plus wine. Depending on your fitness level, look for a 5K, 10K, half marathon or even a full marathon in a city you want to visit, book your tickets and start training!
The training will force you to get in shape, and many cities offer run clubs which make the effort fun and social.
Running a race course through a new city is not only exhilarating and a great way to get an eyeful of the city, but also a perfect excuse to travel. And when you’ve finished the race, reward yourself with a visit to the best wine bar in the city … or best Italian restaurant to enjoy a cozy dinner for two accompanied by a wonderful bottle of Chianti … or whatever particular bribe works best for you!
The scenic course starts in downtown Miami, crosses over the Macarthur Causeway to South Beach, takes you a few miles down the beach and then back to downtown.
This year, the weather was perfect and the runners and crowds were vibrant as ever.
Some enticing races coming up that may inspire you:
- Another one in Miami: the 13.1 Miami Beach Half-Marathon and 5K: March 4 (with beachside dancing bash afterwards)
- Georgia Marathon and Half Marathon (Atlanta; 6th Annual): March 18
- New York: 13.1 Half Marathon and 5K: March 24
- Boulder, CO: BolderBoulder 10K: May 28 (Recently named America’s All Time Best 10K by Runner’s World magazine)
- WIPRO San Fransisco Marathon: July 29th (For those who really want a challenge – hills, hills and more hills.)
- Chicago Half Marathon and 5K (16th Annual): September 9. (Perfect time of the year to visit the Windy City!)
And of course, there are thousands of other options out there, all over the globe!