Dear Family, Friends, Team Members, Partners, Supporters, Loyal Customers, and Engaged Followers,
Travel has always been very special to me.
In 1999, I travelled with my high school to volunteer in a rural community in the Dominican Republic, and It was there and then that I discovered my passion for sustainable travel. I believe so strongly that when people from different cultures come together in an organic and meaningful way, our world is a better place. For the past few years, my mission has been to put the creation and control of local tourism back where it belongs: in the hands of locals. Because when locals are empowered to create and provide an authentic and cultural travel experience, it’s a better experience for travellers that makes a difference in the places we go. Over the past 7 years, together with the most passionate and dedicated team I could ever ask for, and with the help of our partners across the globe, we have connected over 9,000 travelers to locals and their communities across the globe. We have contributed over $350,000 directly to locals and we have created over 50 jobs in developing and emerging economies, employing locals who often struggled to find employment in their home communities.
“My mission has always been to connect the world. To bring people together. I believe that the more we understand and appreciate our global neighbours, the smaller our world gets. And the smaller our world gets, the more we care about each other.”Jay Mahoney – The NWC and Tugolo Founder
Through our community development initiatives, we have built an educational facility and community centre, supported the construction of 25 houses for families in need, and facilitated hours upon hours of English. Our travelers connected with victims of the 2007/2008 post-election violence in the Internally Displaced People Camps in Kenya. It was the best experience of their lives, and the happiest times for the communities were when our travelers came to visit. Our travelers connected with victims of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. It was the best experience of their lives, and the happiest times for our team in Haiti. And our travelers were there during challenging environmental and economic times in the rural mountains of the Dominican Republic, and on the other side of Puerto Plata – the place where travelers rarely see. It was the best experience of their lives, and the happiest times for our partner communities were when our travellers came to visit. Most importantly, everywhere we visited, we had a positive impact. We had just begun to roll out the next phase of our authentic travel initiatives in Colombia, Costa Rica, Tanzania, Mexico, Italy, Cuba and Spain.
My mission has always been to connect the world. To bring people together. I believe that the more we understand and appreciate our global neighbours, the smaller our world gets. And the smaller our world gets, the more we care about each other.
“There is reason to believe that when the doors are open once again, our world will be a very, very different place. And, perhaps, this is not such a bad thing.“
The last week has been difficult. As the Coronavirus situation rapidly evolved, we worked day and night to bring all of our travelers back home. We stopped at nothing, in the most stressful and challenging circumstances to get every one of our travelers home to their families and friends. Though we have always known that helping travelers experience something amazing comes with the responsibility of bringing those same travelers home safely in the event of an emergency, I am not sure if there was anything that could have quite prepared us for this. I’m not sure about you… but we didn’t really see this fast moving global pandemic coming.
These are unprecedented times for our generation, and now that all of our travelers are home safely and the dust has settled, I have some information to share that may not be too hard to fathom. Given that most of the world is either quarantined or mandated with social distancing, this is not a great time to be a travel start-up. At this time, there is no end in sight, and no one really knows when the world will officially open back up. There is reason to believe that when the doors are open once again, our world will be a very, very different place. And, perhaps, this is not such a bad thing.
For the foreseeable future, we will not be taking any more bookings. These turbulent times are calling for reflection, for healing, and for humanity to put our best foot forward. We need to focus on helping each other get through this. I just think that right now, that’s more important than anything else.
It has always been our mission to bring the world a little closer together. We hope that one day soon, we will again be able to do what we truly love to do – connect travelers with locals and their communities for an inspirational travel experience unlike anything else… a travel experience that changes each of us just a little bit, while making a difference in the places we go. Until then, my team and I have a few ideas up our sleeves to continue our mission, albeit a little bit differently. When life drops a forest of lemon trees on your head, get out the chainsaw and start working your way out. If for no other reason, do it because people need you.
Founder: Tugolo, The NWC & Impact Excursions