By Ilona Kauremszky

Q: Any suggestions for someone who wants to learn on a trip and feels like she might be contributing back to the area she is staying at?

A: Thankfully today you’ll find more programs out there designed for travellers with a conscience or experiential travel as is another buzz word used to describe people who wish to learn and not zone out when they visit a destination. You could go about researching this topic by looking at it in a couple of ways. First decide what destination or area you wish to vacation in.

For instance, if Hawaii is a place you always wanted to visit, there are several eco-type programs available. In Maui, a new Jean Michel Cousteau Ambassadors of the Environment Centre ( recently opened offering several nature and cultural programs. I took part in a fascinating hike through the Maunalei Arboretum. The mission was to dig out non-native plants, gather native seeds for replanting to eventually renew Hawaii’s largest private nature preserve known as the Pu’u Kukui Watershed Preserve nature reserve. The famous oceanographer guru whose father Jacques introduced the world to the natural wonders of the sea has also opened other centres around the world which you can check by visiting his web site at

Another way to approach your topic is by determining what interest you wish to explore. Let’s say you want to be an archaeologist for a while. You can participate in an archaeological dig at the Crow Canyon Archaeological Center ( in sun-drenched southwestern Colorado. Become Indiana Jones and sleuth your way through this archeologically-rich canyon, home to the Pueblo Indians as you work alongside a pro archaeologist who shows the tricks of the trade. At the foot of world-renowned Mesa Verde National Park this outdoor education adventure offers adults short one day and longer stay programs as well as a special Family Archaeology Week. It’s perfect for culture-vultures and those fascinated by ancient civilizations.

Or maybe you might wish to work on a trail system. Then why not help maintain and preserve America’s first national scenic trail with the Appalachian Trail Conservancy ( Considered the world’s longest continuously marked footpath and America’s first national scenic trail it covers over 3,370 kms of rugged high country that really makes for great experiential travel. After all volunteers built the trail and no experience is required. Just roll up the sleeves, spend a week or more on AT’s large-scale projects and prepare to get the feel for Appalachian life.


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