Our decision to travel the world was sparked by a desire to learn as much as possible about people, cultures, and different realities here in our home country and abroad. Several years into a life of globetrotting, nothing ignites us more than when we can pair all of that discovery with a chance to make a difference along the way. Similarly, we love learning about what people and organizations—big and small—are doing to make the world more hospitable for everyone.
We’ve long admired the work of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Their lofty mission—“Finding cures. Saving children.®”—immediately captured our hearts and has intrigued us for years. Recently, a dream of ours was realized when we were able to spend time witnessing St. Jude’s mission in action while visiting Memphis, Tennessee. We had heard about the hospital’s ABCs of Cancer wall—where young patients are able to freely and creatively express their thoughts on cancer—and hoped to one day visit it ourselves.
Perusing the wall, we felt the sadness, the honesty, and the hope displayed on the different pieces of art.
D is for dreams.
T is for tears.
W is for wishing.
Each expression reminded us that, no matter how lofty the goal or how challenging the obstacle, every great movement is sparked by individual stories that prompt individual decisions to make a difference.
Inspired by this reality and by our visit to the ABCs of Cancer wall, we asked the Expedia community to share how they make a difference. Here are some of the responses in our own #ShareHowYouCare digital ABCs wall:
A is for animals. “This thanksgiving I will be roaming the streets handing out food and water to abandoned dogs.” @carrentalrincon
B is for bus. “We give our metro cards to people on the street when we visit Chicago.” @rychepet
D is for donate. “Have garage sales to help fund the trip and donate part of what we make and have to help others.” @TeacherStacyH
E is for eat. “When I do not eat all of my meal, will give my take-home bag to a homeless person.” @kimodo
G is for gift. “Always give to kids. Last gave away my computer chess game to kid in Indian hill village. He loved it! :)” @travelbusy
H is for heart. “I share and give wherever I go. It’s just in my heart.” @KEJUAN_THOMAS
I is for immersion. “I immerse myself in the culture. I’m in their homeland. The least I can do is learn and share.” @ansleyadrift
L is for local. “We always shop local and eat in local restaurants.” @KBentonDeLauder
M is for manners. “I take my southern charm and nice manners wherever I visit!” @21_easy_E
N is for note. “Keep a note of thanks in your carry on—when you encounter kindness…reward it!” @randombutyes
O is for opportunity. “I do luv to find a way to volunteer. Even an afternoon at a place for the homeless or hungry. What’s a few hours?” @hijinksandhalos
P is for plan. “We check w/our resort b4 we travel 2 see what […] their sponsored charity needs.” @djjdeb
Q is for question. “Would love to know ways to give back when I travel!” @wdwnerd
R is for rescue. “I have not had the opportunity to yet, but if anywhere has a wildlife rescue needing volunteers, I’m always ready!” @stumblingfuture
S is for service. “We tend to TIP WELL…when restaurants are hopping, we appreciated great service!” @rychepet
T is for tip. “Always tip well and don’t haggle with the locals on the price of goods, especially in a tourist driven economy.” @qplushq
V is for volunteer. “I plan on giving back next year by volunteering in several countries abroad.” @radventurouslee
W is for waste. “We collect plastic waste from the beach.” @luxetravelfam
X is for (no) xenophobia. “Volunteered in Guatemala. Best way to experience the culture!” @lifewisdomwine
Y is for young. “I act as if I’m representing my home country—I’m young but not stupid / don’t want ppl to hate tourists.” @ilivedaybyday
Z is for zero out. “Making a habit of tipping hotel staff. Good way to discard coin currencies, plus leave bills.” @micheleherrmann
Expedia believes in the power of travel to transform lives. And we believe that everyone should have the opportunity to travel. For patients at St. Jude, travel isn’t always a reality, so Expedia decided to bring travel to them. Stay tuned to find out how!
How do you give back? #ShareHowYouCare in the comments below.
For more inspiration about how you can make a difference, check out these stories: