We did it! We pounded 210 miles of pavement between us from Staten Island to Central Park for the Maasai, chatted with actor and activist Edward Norton and Maasai warrior Samson Parashina on the link between conservation and travel, and are raising $40,000 for the Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust. Help us go the distance!
As Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best Tour Operator 2013, we recognize the work we do sets a model for the travel industry. We realize that we are in a business that is contingent on there being a beautiful world worth exploring. We want to leave behind a planet that is so astonishing that those who come after us want to be ambassadors for our planet, too.
This year Absolute Travel became a member of the Clinton Global Initiative to work on a commitment creating a Responsible Tourism Guide, a solidifying moment in our efforts to participate in the conversation on sustainability. We are demonstrating our dedication to sustainability both literally and figuratively through our steps, and drawing focus to one of our favorite wild places—Kenya’s Chyulu Hills—by raising $40,000 for the Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust (MWCT).
Our fundraising efforts will culminate with eight of our team members running the New York City Marathon on November 2. Along the way, we invite you to join us for an evening in conversation with award-winning actor and MWCT Ambassador, Edward Norton and MWCT’s President, Samson Parashina moderated by Scientific American’s Executive Editor, Fred Guterl.
A CONVERSATION WITH EDWARD NORTON & SAMSON PARASHINA MODERATED BY FRED GUTERL
October 30 | 6:30 – 9:30 pm | $100 per person | The Strand Rare Book Room
On October 30th, Absolute Travel and MWCT will host a conversation on the intersection of travel, conservation and sustainability at the Strand Rare Book Room in New York. Panel members will include Edward Norton, award-winning actor and UN Ambassador for Biodiversity; Samson Parashina, MWCT’s President, Chairman of the Board & Champion of the Earth recipient; Katie Losey, Absolute Travel’s Director of Marketing and Founder of Absolute Awareness; and moderator Fred Guterl, Executive Editor of the Scientific American. Drinks and hors d’ouevres by Poppy’s Catering will follow. 100% of profits will go to increase women’s economic independence and support MWCT’s Community Rangers as they protect the lions, elephants, and all in this vital eco-system.
“Absolute Travel provides a great vehicle to connect with the world and create sustainability. This year, Absolute Travel’s NYC Marathon team is living that connection by investing in MWCT in an extraordinary way. Their 8 runners are raising $40,000 that will provide scholarships for Maasai women to become Community Rangers. These women rangers are pioneers in their community that will go on to protect the iconic wilderness and wildlife of East Africa for generations to come,” says Norton about the collaboration between Absolute and MWCT.
With the purchase of a ticket, attendees will be entered in a luxury raffle to win a trip for two for a three night stay at MWCT’s luxury eco-lodge, Campi ya Kanzi, in Kenya’s Chyulu Hills!
Space is limited; reserve your $100 ticket (100% of profits go toward supporting MWCT)
ABOUT MWCT & CAMPI YA KANZI
MWCT works to protect the legendary ecosystems and astounding biodiversity of East Africa through conservation that directly benefits local Maasai communities. Through MWCT, professional conservationists and dynamic young Maasai leaders work together to demonstrate that the Maasai community can thrive, not just survive, by managing their ecosystem wisely. MWCT’s efforts are focused on the Maasai communities and landscapes of Kenya’s Chyulu Hills, within the world-famous Amboseli-Tsavo Ecosystem. This is Hemingway’s “Green Hills of Africa”: deep cloud forests on hills over the savannah teeming with wildlife and Mount Kilimanjaro rising out of the plains. The Maasai communities of this area own all of the land between the protected National Parks. Within their land lie critical wildlife migration corridors and habitat reserves, forests that are carbon sinks and rivers and springs that supply the fresh water not only to this ecosystem but to more than seven million people in Kenya, including the second largest city.
Nestled within this lush territory is MWCT’s luxury eco-lodge, Campi ya Kanzi. The Maasai are the landlords at this inspirational lodge that embodies all the best aspects of ecotourism while providing one of the most memorable safari experiences available. This unique project, the vision of Italian husband and wife team Luca Belpietro and Anotella Bonomi, is the product of their goal to build a partnership with the local Maasai as a way to protect their cultural heritage and local wildlife. Set on 260,000 acres but hosting only 16 guests at a time, Campi ya Kanzi is located in one of the most unspoiled areas of Africa. While the privacy of the lodge is a compelling reason to visit, it is the local Maasai guides, who offer companionship and an introduction to their home, that make the experience at Campi ya Kanzi so unforgettable.
ABSOLUTE AWARENESS: CONNECT DEEPLY & PERSONALLY
Whether you connect with Kenya’s Chyulu’s Hills or elsewhere, we believe that there is nothing more powerful than a personal experience to make us care deeply. Along with our partners in Absolute Awareness like the MWCT, we invite intrepid sojourners to connect in such meaningful ways with our wondrous world. Not only is Absolute Travel dedicated to creating life-changing trips, we are also committed to protecting the places we love, all over the globe. The cornerstone of our approach is called Absolute Awareness, and its mission is two-fold: to inspire people to care about our world’s wild places, and to prove to the locals that their natural resources are invaluable, vital to their livelihoods, and worth protecting.
OUR CONNECTION STORY: WHY WE’RE RUNNING
When visiting the Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust’s property, Campi ya Kanzi, in Kenya, we expected to be wowed by the wildlife and landscape. What we didn’t expect was to discover that our bond with MWCT had begun months before we even met! While trekking through a nearby cloud forest, we learned our paths had already fatefully crossed when our Maasai guide revealed he had finished the NYC Marathon within two minutes of one of our travel companions! Naturally, we went for a run in solidarity along Kenya’s dirt roads to celebrate! Absolute and MWCT will run in solidarity once again—but this time it will be through the streets of Absolute’s hometown.
$40,000 FOR MWCT WOMEN COMMUNITY RANGER PROGRAM
The funds raised will go directly toward supporting the MWCT Women Community Ranger Program. The funds will create salaries, scholarships, and purchase equipment for women rangers so that they may transform their community through the opportunity to gain equality and achieve economic independence while protecting the land and animals that need it most.
As a Community Ranger with MWCT, Dorcus James, 24, will directly benefit from the funds. James supports the MWCT Conservation Managers by gathering data in the field and monitoring for poachers in the area. This works has been remarkably successful in protecting the area’s elephants against poachers. James sees her work as an MWCT Community Ranger as a rare opportunity for her to gain economic independence and to give back to her family.
“In our community women are not valued and the job that I have here at MWCT empowers me to be more independent and provide for my family,” says James. She continues, “My parents have invested in me by selling cows for me to go to school and I would like to give something back to them. I am also very proud to be a role model for my younger siblings and the women of my community.” By working as an MWCT Community Ranger, she has also discovered the vital role the wildlife and wilderness plays in the everyday experience and wellbeing of her community. She adds, “I like to work as a ranger as I have learned much about wildlife and I can see how wildlife benefits my community.”
MEET THE ABSOLUTE MARATHONERS
An impressive eight participants will be representing Absolute Travel and running for the Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust: Ken Fish, Brooke Garnett, Brian Lonergan, Adam Vaught, Blaine Anderson, Todd Bliwise, Christa Russo, and Katie Lotz. Whether we’re pounding the pavement on home turf through the paths of Central Park, across the Brooklyn Bridge and down 4th Avenue, or when we’re clocking the miles abroad during our travels, our sweat speaks volumes about our dedication. And we’ve got the blisters, chaffing, and tan lines to prove we’re ready to go! The craziest places we’ve trained? Ken braved the heat in Nicaragua, Todd traversed the plains in Mongolia; Blaine hit the sand in Antigua and Anguilla; Katie raced the ‘roos in Australia; Christa circled Table Mountain; Brooke ran shore side in Big Sur; Brian stepped out in Vegas and Adam braved great heights on the Golden Gate Bridge.
Purchase your ticket for A Conversation with Edward Norton & Samson Parashina Moderated by Fred Guterl
Help us reach our fundraising goal by contributing to the cause on Crowdrise.
Get in touch with one of luxury travel specialists and learn how you can incorporate Absolute Awareness into your dream journey.