WanderWorld Foundation

by Beth Whitman (September 14th, 2015)

Beth Whitman IndiaFor nearly as long as WanderTours has been offering tours, we’ve been donating to organizations located in the countries where our tours run.

The donations have all been made on behalf of our tour groups but they come directly from WanderTours.

I am so excited to announce that we (myself and a small board of directors), have just received word that we’ve been granted non-profit 501(c)(3) status for the WanderWorld Foundation. The WWF will be the non-profit arm of WanderTours and Wanderlust and Lipstick.

With the establishment of the WanderWorld Foundation, our goal is to make donating to charities we support abroad not only easier for our tour participants but also tax-deductible!

Over the past six years, we’ve donated to charities where our tour groups can visit the program so that we can learn about their work first-hand and so that we’re able to talk directly to those who oversee and also benefit from those programs.

When we visit these charities, our tour participants are usually so moved by the experience that they have a desire to make additional donations but often times don’t have enough cash in-country to do so.

Now, when someone on one of our tours visits a charity and likes what they see, they can return home, make a donation via the WanderWorld Foundation, and designate that their funds go directly to RENEW (minus PayPal and/or wire transfer fees). Neither I nor our board members take any salary from our work with the WWF and all costs (mailing, non-profit status filing fees, etc.) come out of our own pockets. That means that most funds will go directly to the charity of choice from the donor and, if none is designated, into a general fund to be distributed at the board’s discretion.

Helping Women and Children

Our overall goal is to raise funds for causes that help women and children. We identify organizations that have a long-term plan to make a difference in their quality of life and help them improve their economic standing in their community. In other words, to provide these women and children with some independence and confidence.

To date, we’ve donated to:

  • Amnesty International’s Women Not Witches program which supports women of domestic violence in Papua New Guinea
  • RENEW Bhutan, an organization that helps women and children of domestic violence in Bhutan
  • Lifestart Foundation in Vietnam which helps families in Vietnam
  • Sambhali Trust in India which helps women and children in Rajasthan, India
  • OneDegreeForward in Cambodia helping orphans in Cambodia
  • WEAVE which supports refugee hill tribe women in Northern Thailand
  • Nunneries in Myanmar and Bhutan

This month we’re visiting ROLE Foundation in Bali. This organization provides skills and education for women and children to help them break out of poverty.

While initially the funds raised will come directly through WanderTours and our tour participants, our goal is to hold on and/or offline fundraising events for these (and other) designated charities and to broaden our reach in terms of donors.

We can accept donations PayPal, check and cash. The funds, minus any financial transaction fees, go directly to the organization of our Board’s choice if not specifically designated by the donor.

We are in the process of working on a website and should have that up and running in the coming months.

For now, we’re simply thrilled to have been granted non-profit status in the U.S. as this helps us move forward with the work we hope to accomplish in the coming years.

Be Bold,


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Essentials for Running ~ Road ID

by Beth Whitman (September 11th, 2015)

Road ID BraceletIt’s funny. I’ve been wanting to get this review/mention about Road ID up on the blog for a long time but have, frankly, been sidetracked with a lot of other things and it’s been lower down on the priority list (sorry, Road ID folks!).

But after publishing yesterday’s post about running (and travel) and how important it is to be tuned into your environment, several people contacted me about how much they love their Road ID paraphernalia, so I knew the time was perfect to talk about this essential item that I always run with.

Let me first wind back the clock.

I have an otherwise healthy friend who had a heart attack at 40 while running around Greenlake, a very popular three-mile walking/running/biking route in Seattle. Luckily for Dave, a nurse was nearby, recognized his sudden collapse and revived him (yay, Dave, so glad you’re still with us!).

Dave was hospitalized but the thing about it was that he lost his memory. He wasn’t carrying any ID with him so for probably a day or so, his roommate didn’t know where he was and he couldn’t tell anyone his name.

Though I only started running recently and this incident happened years ago, this stuck with me. Because of Dave, I’ve always been vigilant about carrying an ID with me during my runs.

Until Road ID, if I was in my own neighborhood, I just ran with my driver’s license. When I traveled, I took the hotel’s business card with me plus my license. When I’m staying with friends, family or at an AirBnB, I write down the name and address of the place where I’m staying and carry that with me. Now the Road ID bracelet has replaced my license. It has the added benefit of including emergency contact info in case someone needs to be reached.

I have the Wrist ID Slim but Road ID has a wide range of products that are great for runners, bikers and, yep, even travelers. :-)

Their products come in lots of colors and styles so you can really customize it to how you like.

Now, I don’t walk out of the house (or hotel or family’s house) for a run without my Wrist ID.

Be Bold,


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Disclosure: Road ID provided this bracelet to me for review. Regardless, everything I have said in the post reflects my honest opinions.

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Your Sixth Sense – A Matter of Life and Death?

by Beth Whitman (September 10th, 2015)

WatertownThis summer I went to Jon’s family reunion in Watertown, New York, just about as far north in NY as you can get without being in Canada.

Watertown’s got some charm to it. It’s home to an army base, Fort Drum, and sees lots of Canadian who come for the shopping deals. There are big chain stores and restaurants but also lots of independent cafes, restaurants, bakeries and other businesses that can hold their own.

We go every couple of years to catch up with Jon’s mom, siblings and extended family. Sometimes we stay with family, sometimes we rent a house. This year we stayed in a hotel that was centrally located to restaurants, shops and an amazing vegetarian grocery store/cafe.

Being so centrally located meant we were near a busy road in terms of traffic. Not a highway, but just a lot of cars pulling in and out of the parking lots of fast food restaurants, bars and chain stores.

On the Sunday morning of our stay, I headed out for a long run, 12 miles.

Because I didn’t know the area well, I figured out a route where I could run six miles out and six miles back to the hotel. I wanted to stick to the main roads so I wouldn’t get lost. These roads also happened to be busy which I figured would be safer than side roads since there would be people regularly driving by in case something happened to me. I didn’t want to stumble and fall on a country road.

I left the hotel shortly after 6:00 a.m.

Nothing less than a threat

The first thing I noticed was that there were a lot of young(ish) people already up and about so early in the morning. The first group I happened upon were a few twenty-somethings hanging out in the parking lot of a Dunkin’ Donuts. “Hmmm,” I thought, “early for them.” But then it dawned on me they hadn’t been home yet and they were likely winding down from their Saturday night.

Then as I ran on, I started to realize how far away from Seattle I really was. In Seattle, pedestrians have the right of way and drivers are very courteous when it comes to allowing you to cross the street, whether at a crosswalk or elsewhere.

In Watertown, drivers ignored the fact that I was there (yes, I’m sure they saw me) and drove in front of me while they were either exiting or entering a parking lot, not even hesitating to let me run by. OK, I can deal with that.Runner New Orleans

What was more annoying, however, was the leering, the slowing down of the vehicles on the road and the head-turning by male drivers of pickup trucks and  motorcycles.

Because it was so early, I had to assume that these guys, too, were still out from the night before and not necessarily up and at ’em in time for church.

To a guy, this behavior might sound innocuous, innocent, maybe even a compliment. But for a woman, these small gestures are nothing less than a threat to what might happen if a situation were to get out of control.

I can’t tell you the last time I felt the slightest danger while out for a run. Not even in New Orleans and certainly never in Seattle.

Particularly in Seattle, I feel very safe during my runs and walks around my neighborhood. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a perfect place. There have been reports of women runners being attacked or even hit by hit and run drivers. But the only nods and smiles I get are from other runners, many of whom I recognize since we travel similar routes.

I don’t know what the crime rate is in Watertown, but it’s not the kind of place you’d consider to be crime-ridden. But still, I had a feeling of angst as I ran. A sense that I could have been easily snatched by a couple of guys in a pickup truck.

As I got a bit further out of town near my four or five mile mark, I got so uncomfortable that I turned around and headed back toward the hotel. I did find another route that was more populated and was able to stretch out the run to nearly 12 miles. But that run was a bummer for me.

Sixth sense

Jon has often said to me that I have a really good gut instinct when it comes to our travel choices. I dazzle him with my ability to find interesting (and safe!) alleyways in cities and fascinating locals to chat with in the most exotic of destinations. I now wonder if that’s a skill I’ve honed because I HAVE to be super tuned in whereas he doesn’t. He’s not aware of the same potential for threat that I am. But that means I’m also tuned into the good.

I now think this is why women have such a good sixth sense. We have to. Because it’s a matter of life and death otherwise.

Be Bold,


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Photo Credit:
Watertown – Doug Kerr

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