Global Exchange’s 2006 “Reality Tours”

Travel Blog  •  Jim Benning  •  11.22.05 | 2:46 PM ET

Back in 2001, when World Hum wasn’t yet a year old, we published a story by Jeff Spurrier about the eye-opening “reality tour” he took of Tijuana, Mexico with a San Francisco non-profit called Global Exchange. It sounded like a great experience, and I’ve been following the travel offerings from the human rights organization ever since.

I just received an e-mail with their new slate of trips, and they sound like the kind of journeys that could inspire even the most die-hard indie travelers to try a tour. (In short, they’re no ordinary tours.) They include a journey to Afghanistan in March to learn about the role women are playing in public life these days, and a trip to Syria and Lebanon, where participants will meet with leaders of religious and political groups.

Here’s what Global Exchange says about its tours:

The idea that travel can be educational, transformational and positively influence international affairs motivated the first Reality Tours in 1989. Unlike traditional tourism, Reality Tours promotes socially responsible travel as our participants build true “people to people ties”. Reality Tours are founded on the principles of experiential education and each tour focuses on important social, economic, political and environmental issues. When you journey with us you will meet the people, learn the facts first hand, and then discover how we, both individually and collectively, contribute to global problems and how we can enact positive change.



4 Comments for Global Exchange’s 2006 “Reality Tours”

Jenn 12.21.05 | 7:53 PM ET

I’ve registered for the March Reality Tour to Afghanistan.  I’m pretty much an independent traveler, but this tour accommodates a maximum of nine people, which is acceptable to me.  I participated in Cross Cultural Solutions’ trip to Cuba two years ago (prior to the US Govt. pulling the cultural permits) and found the experience rewarding. There was ample free time to explore and interact with the local people to get a true feel of the climate.  I’m expecting a similar experience during this trip to Kabul.  Anyone joining me?

Jim 12.21.05 | 9:15 PM ET

I’m betting you’ll have an amazing trip, Jenn. Let us know how it goes. I’d love to hear about it.

Jenn 03.08.07 | 9:06 PM ET

It’s been a year since I journeyed to Afghanistan on this trip and yes, I did return safely.  The group met with Afghanistan’s government leaders, heads of NGOs and locals. The people were warm, friendly and curious.  I felt safe most of the time.  I’m still trying to grasp the experience, especially since news is riddled daily with increasing violence.

I’d definitely travel with Global Exchange again and would return to Afghanistan after it cools down a bit. I maintained a blog during the trip and update it every so often.

Costa Rica News 01.28.08 | 10:22 PM ET

Can anyone take part at this type of tours?

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