All Good Things Must Come to an End

Posted on | October 12, 2016 | Comments Off on All Good Things Must Come to an End

Thank youSustainable farms in Central America. Wells in Haiti. Schools in Mali and Cambodia. A village in India. Libraries in Zambia and e-books in Kenya.

It’s hard to say good-bye to a list like that, full of possibility and hope. We’re so proud of the projects that with the help of the travel blogging community we’ve been able to see brought to life.

But the time has come to do just that: To say a fond farewell, if not to the work of improving the world, to this specific way of doing so.

When this modest online fundraiser started, the travel blogging world was a very different – and smaller – place. It was pretty easy to talk to everyone on Twitter. We even commented on each others’ blogs! Instagram was just a speck in our mothers’ eyes and Pinterest was yet to come along. But with the diffusion of everyone’s time and efforts online it’s been harder and harder to attract the kind of attention we need to make an impact. We loved the model for Passports with Purpose and how it created an online community. But as time has gone on and the internet has changed, we’ve found that sustaining and growing that community just isn’t practical anymore.

We have a lot of thank yous to say: To the founders of PwP, whose vision and hard work launched this project and did so much good. To all the travel brands who sponsored our work and generous donated prizes for us to give away. To the travel bloggers who rallied their audiences and wrote eloquently about why they wanted to make a difference. And to every person who ever made a cash donation, whether for $10 or $1000.

We will be sure to share updates from our past beneficiaries when we get a chance – we’re hoping to have some news about our 2015 Worldreader project to share with you soon.

If you are interested in continuing to contribute to Passports with Purpose, although we are not holding our fundraiser this fall we will continue to accept donations through the end of 2016. This money will go to support the school we built in Cambodia in 2009, which could use funds to continue operating (learn more about that project here). As in the past, 100 percent of any funds we raise, less PayPal fees, will go directly to American Assistance for Cambodia. Donate here.

It has truly been an honor and a privilege to work with each and every one of you. Thank you for your past donations, your hard work, and your willingness to believe that we can make a difference just $10 at a time.

Mara, Meg, Michelle and Katie

Over $20,000 raised! You’ve helped bring digital reading to Kenya

Posted on | November 19, 2015 | Comments Off on Over $20,000 raised! You’ve helped bring digital reading to Kenya

Look at what you did in ten days: Just $10 at a time, you came together from all over the world, and raised over $20,000 so that children in Kenya can have access to the huge and beautiful world brought to them by books.

The funds raised in 2015 from Passports with Purpose will help bring digital reading to libraries in western Kenya. Although we don’t yet have an exact number of how many e-readers we will help Worldreader purchase for the libraries, we estimate that we will help thousands of children, teachers and parents with access to thousands of books.

Thank you PwP 2015We’ll have a complete and final tally as we receive company matches and as additional donations come in. Stay tuned as we continue to work with Worldreader and watch your donations help in Kenya. Huge thanks to all of our donors, bloggers, and sponsors – without you we could do nothing.

Prize winners will be chosen at random and then notified along with host bloggers on Sunday, November 22, 2015. Good luck!

We’d like to take a moment here to say a special word of thanks to our sponsor TBEX for their generous and ongoing support. They are a key part of what makes our fundraiser work.

If you are still interested in donating (without bidding for a prize), you can still do that HERE. One hundred percent of all donations, minus PayPal fees, will go toward supporting Worldreader’s work in Kenya.

But most of all we hope you accept the gratitude of the entire Passports with Purpose team. Every year we are blown away by the sheer number of people who come forth online to give so much. If you contributed in any way we hope you’ll take a moment today to feel good for making a difference in the lives of many people in Western Kenya. The past ten days have seen some dark events, but we believe that the generosity and goodwill shined through this fundraiser like a beacon.

Love these prizes as our fundraiser ends soon

Posted on | November 17, 2015 | Comments Off on Love these prizes as our fundraiser ends soon

We’re down to the final hours of our fundraiser and things are heating up. We’ve raised closed to $15,000 since we started on November 8 and would love to make that $20,000 by 11:59 p.m. EST tomorrow, Wednesday, November 18.

But to get there we need your help. Every $10 moves us closer to bringing digital reading to five libraries in Western Kenya. And what’s more, every $10 gives you a chance to enter and win a prize.

Passports with Purpose Worldreader fundraiserYesterday we shared our annual Best Odds post with some really fantastic prizes that you have a pretty good chance of winning. Today we thought we’d pull out a few more prizes that maybe haven’t quite gotten the attention we think they deserve.

Prizes that would make great holiday gifts

RambleGood Launch Collection Bundle – we like the stylish infinity scarf, but this whole package would make a lovely present.

Kuru Shoes Gift Certificate – let your favorite person pick out his or her own comfy pair of traveling shoes.

Think Tank Photo My 2nd Brain Bag – this snazzy bag is especially great for the friend or family member who loves to travel with Apple products.

Prizes for the travel blogger in your life

One Ticket to the Women in Travel Summit – This is a great networking opportunity for female bloggers in March of 2016.

Lifetime Membership to Travel Blog Success – Got a friend who is a newbie blogger? This membership can help him or her make the most of blogging with access to online learning and community.

Prizes that would make for a great vacation

Three nights at HK Austin Hostel – Stay in a fun & trendy neighborhood in Austin? Yes please.

Burkina Faso Hiking Journey in November 2016– The trip of a lifetime to Africa.

Of course, we love all our prizes – so we invite you to visit our catalog and check them out. Then we hope you’ll donate and enter to win – but be sure to do it soon because time is running out.

The prize catalog will be up and donations accepted for a chance to win a prize until November 18, 2015 at 11:59pm EST. You can still donate after that, you just won’t be able to win a fab prize.



Ten dollars + Our best odds prizes = Digital Reading for Kenya

Posted on | November 16, 2015 | Comments Off on Ten dollars + Our best odds prizes = Digital Reading for Kenya

The “Best Odds Post” has become something of a tradition in the Passports with Purpose fundraiser. Every year we know that some people wait to donate and bid until we’ve told them just what prizes they have the best chance of winning.

That means we assume that all those of you who have held off on donating are just waiting for us to tell you what prizes have the best odds. Well wait no more! Especially because you only have until 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, November 18 to bid on them.

We don’t mean to imply that these prizes aren’t super fabulous. The only difference is that for the moment you have a slightly better chance of winning them than some of the others. And we don’t mind saying that we hope you change the odds because there’s nothing we love more than a nice surprise like that.

Instructions for how to donate and bid follow the list of prizes.

Resorts, Hotels & Camping

Four-Night Ranch Vacation for Two at Circle Z Ranch, Arizona

One-Night Stay Kimpton Hotel Monaco Baltimore

Okemo, VT Two Night Ski & Stay Package for Two

Two-Night Stay at Hard Rock Hotel San Diego

Two-Night Stay in at KOA Deluxe Cabin

Three Nights at a ResorTime Property

Week Stay at a Thousand Trails Campgrounds

Vouchers & Tours

Flight-only Travel Voucher

Gift Certificate for ToursByLocals Private Tour


Gift Certificate for Ex-Officio Clothing

Mindshift Gear rotation180° Travel Away 22L Backpack

Travelmate Deluxe Product Bundles (Two, each valued at $169.99)

Other Stuff

30-Minute Flytographer Photography Shoot

Vintage Norwegian Enamel Brooch

The prize catalog will be up and donations accepted for a chance to win a prize until November 18, 2015 at 11:59pm EST. You can still donate after that, you just won’t be able to win a fab prize.


It’s Friends and Family Friday at #PwP

Posted on | November 13, 2015 | Comments Off on It’s Friends and Family Friday at #PwP

Friends & Family Friday

Photo credit: Worldreader

We’re just about at the halfway mark in our fundraiser, and are definitely feeling the online love. Our fantastic bloggers have been out tweeting up a storm, sharing their prizes on Facebook, and filling the online travel airspace with all kinds of goodness on our #PwP hashtag. We love to see it, and to see the donations coming in to help us reach our goal of helping Worldreader bring e-books to five libraries in Kenya.

Today we’re asking everyone who loves our fundraiser to join us in Friends and Family Friday, where we pass the word around directly to people we know. This can be via email, through a phone call, or during a conversation at the office.

Why are we asking you to do this? Because we know that it works. When people hear about our fundraiser from someone they know and trust, they are more likely to make a donation. And since we make our money by collecting lots and lots of small donations, the more people who get our message and actually give, the more we’re able to send to Worldreader.

We know you’re busy, so we thought we’d share a couple of paragraphs that you should feel free to cut and paste into any email you send:

Passports with Purpose is the annual travel bloggers’ fundraiser, working to do global good by partnering with the travel industry and with a handpicked and vetted charity. Travel bloggers work with their favorite travel brands and destinations, which provide prizes – everything from gear to resort packages. During the online fundraiser donors can browse a catalog of prizes. For each $10 donation they get one online “ticket” or chance for a prize. Donors can bid as many times as they like for each prize – putting $100 in one prize basket and getting 10 chances to win it, or spreading their money around to different prizes. At the end of the fundraiser the Passports with Purpose team draws one winner for each prize.

The funds raised in 2015 from Passports with Purpose will bring digital reading to five libraries in western Kenya via Worldreader. The e-readers will provide an estimated 6,250 children, teachers and parents with access to more than 50,000 books.

Each library will get 50 Kindle e-readers, containing both English and Swahili fiction and non-fiction for all ages, as well as Kenyan textbooks. The Worldreader program also includes comprehensive training for the librarians, as well as a field-tested and proven solar solution that will keep the e-readers charged if electricity is scarce.

One hundred percent of Passport with Purpose donations, exclusive of PayPal fees, go directly to Worldreader. The fundraiser is runs through 11:59 pm EST on 11/18. During that time the catalog of travel-related prizes will be live.

To add a personal touch, we also suggest that you talk about your favorite prizes or explain why you’ve chosen to give to Passports with Purpose this year and in the past.

And of course, the most important piece of information to include is a link to either our 2015 Prize Catalog:

or to our Donate page:

Thank you so much for helping to spread the #PwP love to the people you care about – fingers crossed that you and they win an amazing prize.

It’s we-love-our-prize-sponsors day

Posted on | November 12, 2015 | Comments Off on It’s we-love-our-prize-sponsors day

Passports with Purpose Thanks

Photo credit: Worldreader

Seriously – have you looked at our prize catalogue? If not, take a minute and go check it out. We’ll wait.

Luxury hotel stays from New York to California, a week in a Yosemite yurt (now those are two words it’s very fun to say together), a high-performance GoPro camera, a pickpocket-proof wardrobe of travel clothes, the trip of a lifetime hiking in Burkina Faso – and that’s just a sampling of some of the things you could win just by donating $10.

We’re so grateful for all of these prizes because without them, we wouldn’t be able to run our fundraiser. Year after we year we count on travel brands to donate generously and they always do. That’s because they know that the global community of travel loves to give back, but also loves the chance to win something they might not have the means to buy. It’s a win-win that is only made possible by travel brands saying yes.

Donate to WorldreaderOf course, in order to do our work we need your help too. Until 11:59 p.m. EST on November 18, 2015 for every $10 donation you make you can enter to win one of these prizes. Every penny that you give, minus Paypal fees, goes directly to our charity beneficiary Worldreader. The funds raised in 2015 from Passports with Purpose will bring digital reading to five libraries in western Kenya. The e-readers will provide an estimated 6,250 children, teachers and parents with access to more than 50,000 books.

If you think these brands deserve a thank you like we do, you might hop over to Twitter and give a few of them a shout-out there. We’ve created a Twitter list so you can see everyone who helped make this year’s fundraiser possible.

The work we want to do is serious, but having these prizes to give away makes it fun. Thanks so much to all of our sponsors for bringing joy to so many people around the world.

Join PwP for Upcoming Twitter Chats!

Posted on | November 9, 2015 | Comments Off on Join PwP for Upcoming Twitter Chats!

ereaders Kenya Worldreader

Now that our 8th annual fundraiser has kicked off, we hope you will join us for one or more Twitter parties/chats in the next 10 days to learn more about Passports with Purpose and Worldreader and to help us spread the word about the fundraiser!

First up is the #KidsNTrips Twitter party tomorrow morning, November 10, at 9:30 a.m. PST/12:30 p.m. EST, hosted by @lajollamom, @jenleo, @travelmamas and @PassportPurpose. Not only will we be talking about how you can help with PwP, your participation may earn you an American Express gift card to spend during your next trip! Learn more at or just follow the #KidsNTrips hashtag on Twitter.

On Wednesday, November 11 at 11:30 a.m. EST, join @PassportPurpose, board member @katieaune and co-hosts @Worldreaders, @thetravelword, @roniweiss, @stayadventurous, @nytravfest, @africaTravelATA  and @beentoafrica for #AfriChat. We’ll be talking all about how you can make a difference in Africa – by participating in Passports with Purpose or otherwise!

Finally, on Tuesday, November 17, join @PassportPurpose and @MomItForward for the Girls’ Night Out (#GNO) chat from 9 to 11 p.m. EST. Find out how we’re doing as the fundraiser wraps up and how you can still help! Learn more at or just follow the #GNO hashtag!

Donate Now and bring e-books to Kenya with Worldreader

Posted on | November 8, 2015 | Comments Off on Donate Now and bring e-books to Kenya with Worldreader

Donate $10

Photo credit: Worldreader

Welcome to the 8th annual Passports with Purpose travel bloggers fundraiser!

The prize catalog is now open and we’re taking donations for our 2015 beneficiary, Worldreader. Check out the hotel stays near and far, clothing, electronics, gift certificates, tours, travel gear and more! They make great gifts for the holidays, and best of all you are helping someone in need.

Each year we raise thousands of dollars $10 at a time and each $10 means so much. For every $5000 that we raise, Worldreader will bring digital reading to 200 Kenyans. Think of all the books in Swahili and English, all the new Kindle e-readers, all the trained librarians – all of it raised by you, our lovely donors.

The prize catalog will be up and donations accepted for a chance to win a prize until November 18, 2015 at 11:59pm EST. You can still donate after that, you just won’t be able to win a fab prize.

We can’t thank everyone enough for making this happen. A huge thank you to the bloggers and prize donors; everyone who tells a friend about Passports with Purpose on social media and asks them to donate; those of you who have hosted our widget; our volunteers who work behind the scenes and our sponsors who give generously.

So what are you waiting for, go donate and tell a friend about #PwP!

Donate to Worldreader


Worldreader President David Risher shares his story

Posted on | October 20, 2015 | 1 Comment

We’re getting ready to kick off our annual fundraiser on November 8, 2015. This year 100 percent of the proceeds will go to Worldreader to bring e-readers and e-books to libraries in Kenya. We’re thrilled today to offer a bit of the behind-the-scenes story of Worldreader from its president and co-founder David Risher. 

Learn more about David at the Worldreader website.

A huge thanks to David for taking the time to share his passion for children, books, and travel, all things that matter hugely to the Passports with Purpose team. Learn more about our fundraiser and partnership with Worldreader.

How Traveling Changed my life

Seven years ago, my family and I were lucky enough to take an entire year traveling around the world. We’d been living overseas with our young daughters, and decided that rather than return directly to the US, we’d take a full year to visit 19 countries we’d long wanted to see, try our hand at teaching our own children (we called it “road schooling”), and participate in some service opportunities along the way. We knew it would be an extraordinary year; little did we know how much it would change our lives.

 The map that my daughters, Zoe and Mia, made before we started our trip in 2009.

The map that my daughters, Zoe and Mia, made before we started our trip in 2009.

Our trip began in China and Vietnam and ended in Latin America– Bolivia, Peru, and Ecuador, where we (naturally) had to visit the Galapagos Islands. As many people do, we stopped in Guayaquil, and were lucky enough to spend time volunteering at the Perpetuo Socorro orphanage, where an old friend had taught for several years. As we were getting ready to leave, we noticed a building with a big padlock on it. So I asked Jacqueline who ran the orphanage: “What’s that building for?” And the head of the orphanage answered: “it’s our library.”

I paused for a second, absorbing the implications of this. Then I asked if I could take a look inside. She answered: “David, I think I’ve misplaced the key.”

That was a big moment for me.

Jacqueline proceeded to explain that the books destined for the library would take months to get there, and often by the time they arrived, the books were already out of date or were not really what children wanted in the first place. (Since then, I’ve seen more 20-year-old history and accounting books than I knew ever existed.)  It was clear that the children at the orphanage weren’t getting the books they needed to become inspired, engaged and their best selves.

My wife and two daughters with some of the children and staff at the Perpetuo Socorro orphanage in Ecuador.

My wife and two daughters with some of the children and staff at the Perpetuo Socorro orphanage in Ecuador.

This is the case for millions of children around the world. And if nothing changes these same children will struggle to become tomorrow’s doctors, tomorrow’s writers, tomorrow’s investors and creators.

Being at that orphanage in Ecuador and seeing the curiosity in those children’s eyes made me remember what a privileged childhood I’d had. We didn’t always have much in my family, but I never had trouble getting the books that helped me fuel my imagination and curiosity.

Luckily, we have an entirely new set of tools today to solve this problem and unlock kids’ potential. E-readers that cost $400 a few years ago now cost $50, and still last weeks on a single charge. Cell phones are more prevalent every single day  – some say there are already more mobile phones on the planet than there are toilets. It costs less than $100 to deliver an entire digital library of books via a Kindle e-reader to a school or library in Africa – a library that never closes and can be shared by several students or a family.

So here’s the thought that struck me at the orphanage: let’s use simple, inexpensive technology, engage authors publishers and teachers, and get books to kids in the world’s poorest countries so that we unlock the potential of millions.

Today, Worldreader is five years old. We’ve reached over 5 million people through our mobile phone apps and we have reading programs in 12 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, reaching 40,000 students in 133 schools and libraries with thousands of books via e-readers. By putting local content from African Publishers on these e-readers, we’re providing books in 43 languages that students can relate to, are interested in reading and that teachers are eager to use in their classrooms. A recent study we did with e-readers in Kenyan libraries showed that the presence of e-readers led to an average increase of 178% in monthly library visits and 84% of patrons reported reading more with the devices. What’s more is the reading isn’t confined to the walls of the libraries: during the study there were 254 library-initiated community events held to encourage reading in a much bigger way. These findings illustrate a real change in behavior towards reading and the birth of a reading culture in the schools, libraries and communities that receive e-readers.

David reading with a student in Kenya

One outstanding student in our e-reader program at the Kibera School For Girls in Kenya shows me her favorite books on her e-reader.

Traveling is eye-opening. It introduces you to new cultures and new experiences, while exposing you to different living conditions and challenges that people around the world face everyday. But it also shows you that no matter where you are in the world, every child shares the same curiosity about life that each one of us grew up with and that I see in my own daughters’ eyes. Books can help children in the developing world stimulate this curiosity so that they can pursue their dreams.

My youngest daughter, Mia, teaching English at a Chinese school in Xi’an, China.

My youngest daughter, Mia, teaching English at a Chinese school in Xi’an, China.

Meeting new faces along the way in India.

Meeting new faces along the way in India.

We’re extremely grateful to Passports with Purpose and their entire travel community. Because of your hard work, five libraries in western Kenya will each receive 50 Kindle e-readers – providing an estimated 6,250 children, teachers and parents with access to more than 50,000 books. That’s huge. But it’s what these books represent for these communities and the future of every one of their members that is truly exciting, because they unlock the potential of their children.

Students browse the library of books on their Kindle e-readers for the first time.

Students browse the library of books on their Kindle e-readers for the first time.

All photos courtesy of Worldreader.

Donate to Worldreader


It’s Selfie Time! Share Your Favorite #BooksforKenya Photo

Posted on | October 19, 2015 | Comments Off on It’s Selfie Time! Share Your Favorite #BooksforKenya Photo

PwP_selfieWhen I was eight years old I received as a gift a bank shaped like a giant Tootsie Roll. It was full to top with those small, chewy candies whose chocolate flavor somehow manages to be appealing, waxy, and artificial all at once. The minute I opened this present I knew exactly what I would do with it. Soon enough I sat cozily under the eaves in my attic playroom surrounded by piles of stuffed animals and books, my mouth a gooey mess. The next person who borrowed Tik-Tok of Oz from our town library surely found it full of brown fingerprints. Rarely was I so happy.

When I got a little older, I started walking to the public library every day after school, settling in at a table or on a couch with books that I read while my homework sat neglected in my backpack. I was an omnivorous reader – sometimes I even read the dictionary because I loved words so much. To me the library was a second home.

This love of reading continues – at the moment I have no fewer than seven library books stacked in my office, ten in my bedroom, and four that I’ve checked out on my Kindle. These days I’m more likely to have a cup of coffee or glass of wine in my hand when I read than a Tootsie Roll, but my pleasure is just as intense.

I can’t imagine what my life would be like if I couldn’t read or didn’t have access to books.

Spread the PwP Love: Post your favorite reading selfie

So why am I sharing this reading autobiography? Because my love of reading and writing has led me quite happily to become a travel blogger and to join the board of Passports with Purpose where over the past eight years we’ve raised over $200,000 for literacy-related charities in Africa and Asia. Literacy is a fundamental human right, and the PwP team believes we can all make a difference when it comes to providing books and education for those who need both.

And reading makes me feel excited and inspired – two great emotions for social media, #amirite?

With that in mind the Passports with Purpose team invites you to share a reading selfie.BooksforKenyaselfie

We’d love to see pictures of you reading your favorite book or using your e-reader or phone to read on the go. Maybe you want to share a picture of yourself reading in front of monument or on the side of a mountain. And feel free to throw in a quote if you like.

Post your selfie on Instagram or Twitter using the hashtags #PwP #BooksforKenya and #Worldreader. Tag us while you’re at it and we’ll pick our favorites to re-Gram and share on our website.

Follow Passports with Purpose on Instagram and Twitter

Follow Worldreader on Instagram and Twitter

Extra! Extra! Our Fundraiser Starts Soon!

We’re not simply focusing on books because I love to read: Our fundraiser starts on November 8, 2015 and has a goal of raising money to bring digital reading to five libraries in western Kenya with Worldreader.

The e-readers will provide an estimated 6,250 children, teachers and parents with access to more than 50,000 books.

The fundraiser is a lot of fun – not only can you give money to a worthy cause, you can enter to win wonderful prizes. Learn more about it, share your selfie on Instagram or Twitter, spread the word about #PwP, and come back on November 8!

Donate to Worldreader


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