Reverend Wendy Craig-Purcell is committed to creating a world that works for everyone. She also loves to travel. As Founding and Senior Minister of The Unity Center, Wendy has blended these passions to develop the concept of “Travel With A Purpose”. It is her heartfelt goal to take it to all seven continents of the world.
Travel With a Purpose (TWP) combines four elements that make it truly unique adventure.
- Economic Opportunity – In connection with each trip, The Unity Center partners with a carefully selected, established, in-country non-government organization (NGO). As part of the trip, The Center works in cooperation with the NGO to provide microcredit loans to local indigenous people as a means to earn their way out of poverty. The NGO also introduces TWP travelers to local artisans who create “fair trade” products which are sold through The Unity Center’s Fair Trade Boutique, “Partners” and our Sangha Café. All profits from these sales are segregated to form the primary source of The Unity Center’s microcredit loans. The overarching philosophy of this element of TWP is to provide indigenous people with economic opportunity in the form of a “hand-up”, rather than a handout.
- Sacred Service – TWP travelers engage in volunteer work alongside the local people to support their path out of the challenges of poverty. For example, in Guatemala in 2011 the TWP group helped construct stoves with outside ventilation in indigenous families’ homes to alleviate the harm done by cooking indoors on open fires. In 2012, the travelers to Peru helped construct an adobe brick greenhouse that produces both food and a cash crop of roses to supply the thriving Peruvian rose market. Working together on these Sacred Service projects, our travelers and the local people have the opportunity to labor, to laugh, to learn a little of each other’s cultures, and to develop gratitude and respect for one another – an important ingredient in creating a world that works for all.
- Spiritual Practice – TWP travel is far from a “four star” experience! The rigors of the often remote location, working in an unfamiliar environment and climate, with people who speak different languages and have a different culture, all add up to fertile opportunity for the practical application of such spiritual principles as: appreciation, tolerance, acceptance, patience, persistence, focus on the positive, prayer, grace, empathy, compassion and trust, to name only a few. Each day Wendy leads brief spiritual practices which help the group remain grounded in the deeper purpose of the TWP experience. Out of respect for the local people’s culture and traditions, we only discuss our Unity principles amongst ourselves.
- Adventure – A significant aspect of each TWP trip is the opportunity to experience the fascinating, often sacred, and always beautiful sites in the vicinity of the work project, such as the volcanoes and Lake Atitlan in Guatemala, and in Peru, Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley. Travelers also visit popular tourist locales in the cities and towns, traditional markets, farms, and are invited into local homes to learn about indigenous ways of life. We even get to hug the kids!
To view a gallery of past trips, please click HERE
Combining these far-reaching and varied components, Travel With a Purpose truly represents a unique and life changing experience. We hope to see you on upcoming trips in the future!