Traveling Light: Make an Impact While Dropping a Few Pounds

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Get Active in Puerto Rico This Columbus Day Weekend

Fifteen pounds is a lot of weight to lose by accident. That’s what happened to Travel Impactful founder Candice Lam when she took a six-week trip to Puerto Rico earlier this year. The combination of outdoor activity and island philanthropy saw the pounds drop off without Lam even realizing—until, that is, she returned to her hometown of Boston, Massachusetts. Who knew travel during the pandemic could prove so rewarding. Weren’t we all supposed to be putting on the pandemic pounds, not the other way around?

For Lam, the power of travel extends beyond wellbeing, though— it’s personal. Growing up in Hong Kong and visiting different regions of China with her mother, she realized the extent to which travel can open the mind—and the heart. “We would make multiple trips together around the mainland, spending time in local communities. Of course, we encountered poverty, but there was also great kindness and richness in life.”

Now as an adult having emigrated to the United States, Lam—a CPA by trade with extensive experience in top-flight corporate finance—has a plan. She wishes to build on her early experiences in China and offer a fresh take on travel, one that forges deeper connections between the individual and the places they visit— and that also stresses the importance of outdoor activity. Travel, walk, dance, swim, hike, and sing in stunning locations sure to boost your endorphins and leave you feeling on top of the world.

“What inspires me is developing a different model for travel,” says Lam. “Let’s create something that’s neither typical vacation nor all-out volunteering, but that lands in the middle—something with a focus on wellness, on movement, on giving back. From salsa dancing to tree planting, how can we break the mold and find new ways of connecting with ourselves and others?”

From the PRC to Puerto Rico

Between 2015 and 2019, Lam had been organizing volunteer-driven trips to rural China, but COVID abruptly put a stop to this. Musing on alternatives, she made several visits to Puerto Rico in the first half of 2021. An easy flight from Boston and still within the United States, Puerto Rico is an island rich both in heritage (the capital city, San Juan, celebrates its 500th anniversary this year) and ecology, boasting the only tropical rainforest across the United States and its territories.

“I came back from my trips increasingly elated,” said Lam. “From community fundraising a total of $50,000 to reconnecting with my family and spending time in the charming streets of Old San Juan, my experience on the island of Puerto Rico was amazing. That’s not to mention the yoga retreats in the mountains.”

Inspired, Lam got to work on what would become Travel Impactful, with its mission of delivering unforgettable cultural vacations while supporting local entrepreneurs and contributing positively to the communities they serve. Its inaugural trip takes place this Columbus Day Weekend (Oct 8th-12th), and includes the opportunity to work with local NGO Las Casas de la Selva planting rare trees in the rainforest in Patillas  and helping repair some of the devastation wreaked by Hurricane Maria in 2017.

Get Connected

Also included in the Columbus Day Weekend trip are opportunities for gentle yoga, delicious Puerto Rican cuisine, a walking tour of Old San Juan, and a chance for you and like-minded companions to connect meaningfully with one another. See the itinerary for full details, including some spectacular early bird pricing. Round-trip flights from Boston to San Juan for that weekend currently run as low as $200-$300.

“Throughout the pandemic, people have realized three things,” Lam concludes. “We crave connection with people, we want to make an impact during our lifetimes, and we want to make a more positive impact when we do eventually travel.”

Experience the warmth and breathe the fresh mountain air of Puerto Rico. Come join this inaugural trip and discover a more holistic approach to travel. Schedule a Zoom meeting, call Candice on (617) 610-4896, or connect by email for more information.

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