The Power of Dreams and How I started a Non-Profit and Adventure Travel Agency

June 2, 2021

Contributed by:

Lena Zubareva

2020 is going to be a year of creativity for me. Many times while traveling the world I would catch myself thinking how life-changing it was to travel, how fast I was able to learn and grew, and yet, how much privilege I and most other travelers enjoyed. We had money, time to take off and explore the world. Meanwhile, a lot of youth around the world can’t enjoy the same.

That’s how the idea of Girls Empowered by Travel was dreamed up in 2016. I wanted to promote travel among people, particularly girls, all over the world – especially in places where travel is not really accessible for girls and not very common.

Our first chapter - and for now the only - is in Nepal, one of my favorite places in the world! I traveled there for the first time in 2014 and could never get over my love and fascination for this country.

So together with some bright Nepali youth we created an initiative, which later transformed into the non-profit called Girls Empowered by Travel. Our mission is to empower women, especially from underprivileged communities, by providing opportunities for purpose-driven travel, that transform their lives and their communities.

What a journey it has been. From a dream to trying on so many different ideas and projects that didn’t work out, but some did and the dream lives on  - way beyond me. Outside me.

Now there are trips being planned by and for Nepali youth, especially women; girls traveling and learning and representing our organizatn. They are working with cultural homestays, helping them preserve their cultures. They are even winning awards and grants. 

Another wild dream would be to spread the idea and mission of Girls Empowered by Travel beyond Nepal and establish chapters in other countries. For this we will need a team of more dreamers and doers. And I believe it’s possible!

Another dream of mine was to create immersive adventures for my friends, their friends and beyond. It all started - again - in Nepal. One year I celebrated a 5-day Festival of Lights Tihar with my Nepali brothers and sisters, all dressed up in gorgeous saris, doing all mysterious rituals, blessing each other with tikas - red dots on the forehead. I thought that this was so unique, beautiful, almost overwhelming, that I just had to share it with the world. That’s how the idea of Adventure Travelz was born - a travel agency that creates unique immersive adventures. 

How do I see an adventure? First, being a hiker and nature lover myself, I always like to fit lots of outdoor activities, that will challenge our body and mind. Secondly, I really like to immerse in places and cultures we are exploring. I co-organize all adventures with awesome local people, who make us see their country with their eyes and fall in love with it! Also I try to make a point that those immersive trips are also an inquiry within yourself, are very transformative and stimulate your personal growth. And the fourth “pillar” of adventure is having a positive impact on local communities. We believe in sustainable approach, involvement and economic empowerment of local people. On some of our trips we offer opportunities to volunteer and be of service to the local communities.

For now my worldly dreams have brought me to organize beautiful immersive adventures in Nepal and Cuba. Cuba is another baby of mine, with its vibrant culture and unique history; and my local rep is a professional magician. So it’s literally...magical:)

So what’s the dream vision 2020? I’m listening to my inner idea bell and just trying to create space for ideas and creativity. So far I came up with an unexpected idea and dream - an EXPEDITION TO GREENLAND! Many people seem to be going to Antarctica now, and before Greenland welcomes too many tourists - I must set off on an expedition! And I’m already almost ready to invite you to come with me to Greenland and Svalbard Island this August-September. Let’s go see polar bears and potentially catch northern lights and set foot on one of the least explored places on our planet!

Let’s see where dreams will lead.

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