“People who travel develop this thing they called global empathy”, says Chris Stakich, CEO of Rustic Pathways, an organization dedicated to immersing students in cultures around the world. The programs targeted to high school and younger college students provide eye-opening experiences to how people live in remote parts of the world.
Travel is an essential part of every education. We very specifically focus on taking our students to the far flung corners of the world where there are local communities that don’t see many visitors where our students are able to plug into those communities and real immersion cross cultural experiences. We want to create a world where travel is a model of sustainable development. And so taking the $7 trillion that are spent on travel and figuring how to mobilize that money and mobilize those people to do very important good things out in the world. You know when you can sit down and break bread with people you have a different kind of empathy. There’s a program called Come with Nothing, Go Home Rich, where students come to Thailand with just the backpack on their back, with medications and a doc kit. And they spend the first day shopping in the largest outdoor market in South East Asia- fifty bucks, buy all the clothes and rope and tools they need and then they travel for three weeks along the Thai/Burmese border visiting off the map villages that don’t have names that are fill with refugee communities where everything is needed. And they live with these local communities and do some of the most powerful work that I’ve ever seen in my life.
About Chris Stakich:
Chris is the Chief Executive Officer of Rustic Pathways. An expert on travel and service-based education, Chris leads Rustic Pathways with an eye for innovation and excellence. Since graduating from Harvard in 2001, Chris worked in virtually all areas of our organization, from running programs in Costa Rica to managing our global team. Chris now lives in San Francisco with his wife and two young sons, and is committed to developing future leaders who embody compassion and global understanding.