The Adventure Project

The Adventure Project: Creating Jobs that Help People Thrive

Why Jobs? Because everyone deserves the opportunity to thrive. Yet, 1 billion people still live in extreme poverty. We have the power to change that”.  – Becky Straw and Jody Landers, Co-Founders of The Adventure Project

The more I travel and learn about the world, the more inspired I am to give back and make a difference. Besides writing on non-profits and volunteering, I also like to donate money to causes and non-profit work that I believe in. However, if you are like me, it can be extremely daunting knowing where to even begin especially because there are so many ways you can give and so many charities out there. You can give a one-time donation to a charity that you love, you can purchase a “gift that gives” back, you can finance micro-loans to small businesses or even pay for a girl to go to school or a clean birth kit for a mother in Africa. The list of ways to give back is endless.

Perhaps because it can be so incredibly overwhelming yet exciting all the same, I am passionate about finding new models of giving back and sharing these organizations with you on my blog. Today, I would like to introduce The Adventure Project, a non-profit that “adds venture” to offer education, tools and resources for people to become entrepreneurs and change their lives. I had the opportunity to speak with one of co-founders, Becky Straw, and learn more about the inspiration behind The Adventure Project and what she and co-founder Jody Landers are doing to change the world. Here is what I learned.

The Adventure Project

The Adventure Project Co-Founders, Jody Landers (left) & Becky Straw (right)
Photo credit: Esther Havens

Conservation/Environment Food Security Global Health Global Issues SOCIAL GOOD
Jacmel, Haiti

Fresh Fried Plantains on the Streets of Haiti

Last February, I was in Haiti as part of a #Bloggers4Haiti trip on behalf of Heart of Haiti, a “trade not aid program” developed by the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund and Willa Shalit in partnership with Macy’s to promote sustainable income in the arts for Haitians. Our trip began in Port-au-Prince and took us to the southern coast to the lovely ocean side town of Jacmel which is known for its papier-mâché.

While touring the different papier-mâché studios, I looked outside the window and saw this woman. There she was seated alongside the street, making fresh friend plantains one of my most favorite treats! As my mouth started to water, I grabbed my camera to capture the process of making them street side. For less than a $1 we bought a bag to share and they were just as fresh and delicious as they looked.

Jacmel, Haiti


The Texture of Injera

On my first night in Addis Ababa, I was introduced to the main staple of Ethiopian food: Injera. Injera is a sponge-like, sourdough bread made from teff that looks like a giant textured pancake and is used to scoop up different types of usually spicy Ethiopian stews called wat. Although I have dined at Ethiopian restaurants before in the States, I was truly looking forward to the real thing in Ethiopia. I find that generally ethnic food is best and spiciest when you have it in the motherland.

Injera is the traditional meal of Ethiopia and neighboring Eritrea and is exceedingly healthy as it is full of iron thanks to the teff grain. It is made by combining teff flour with water and the mixture is fermented for several days giving it its sourdough base. Once the mixture has completed this process, it is baked on a large clay plate called a mittad over a hot fire and formed into a spongy, big pancake.

Ethiopian injera

Injera up close. You can see its spongy texture.

When you dine at a traditional Ethiopian restaurant or home, the first thing the waitress or host does is brings over a large bowl of warm water and soap to the guests to wash your hands. Since Ethiopian food is shared and everyone eats from the same big plate, having clean hands and using only your right hand while eating is proper etiquette.

The injera is spread out on a large platter with a few pieces ready for to grab.


Then the various wats (either vegetarian or meat spicy stews) are poured on top of the injera one at a time.

Food in Havana

The Ins and Outs of Dining in Cuba

Cuba has never been known for its cuisine and we were warned to expect lots of beans and rice, and unexciting meals during our week-long trip to Cuba. I found it surprising that Cuban food in Cuba would be so bad as I have eaten at a local Cuban restaurant here in Minneapolis countless times and have always loved the flavor of my meals. I decided to remain optimistic and see for myself without passing judgment.

I was unexpectedly surprised that not only was most of the food I ate in Cuba delicious, like Cuba itself cuisine was in the midst of a revolution.

Food in Havana

A delicious meal we had a a gastronomical school in Havana where servers, cooks and staff are honing their skills.

Marseille's Fish Market

Marseille’s Marché aux Poissons

Anyone who has even been to Marseille knows about its beloved Marché aux Poissons (fish market). The oldest and second largest city in France, Marseille was founded in 600 BC by the Greeks and became one of the most important port towns along the Mediterranean Sea. Given its prime location and wonderful harbor came a long-held tradition of fishing. The Marché aux Poissons has been around for centuries and is the best place around for fish lovers to buy the freshest seafood in France.

Marseille's Fish Market


Eclectic dining at Piccolo in Minneapolis

Monday night I had the pleasure of showing off my amazing town and its progressive dining scene to a couple of travel, foodie and photographer bloggers, Anita’s Feast and her husband Tom from Switzerland. I had met Anita last year at BlogHer in New York and we have kept in touch via social media ever since.  Little did I know, her husband and travel photographer Tom Fakler is originally from Minnesota and had recently spent a few months in Nepal on a photography trip volunteering for an NGO.  When I heard they were coming to Minneapolis to visit family, we scheduled a date to meet for coffee to catch up. We had so much to talk about that meeting for dinner was inevitable.

Since Anita is a travel and food blogger I had to pick somewhere wonderful to show off our town and it’s amazingly diverse dining scene.  Piccolo, a small eclectic restaurant nearby my home was the first place that came to mind.

Screen Shot 2013-06-26 at 7.40.45 AM

Minnesota TRAVEL BY REGION United States

A taste of Machuca in Punta Gorda

Author’s note: This post is part of my series on my recent trip to Honduras. To read past posts on Honduras, click here.

On my last day in Roatan, one of the Bay Islands off the coast of Honduras, I took a half day private island tour. I decided to take the tour as opposed to lounging around on the beach because I truly wanted to learn more about the unique Garifuna culture and heritage that makes this island so fascinating.  As much as my body and soul wanted to enjoy the beautiful surroundings of the resort at Barefoot Cay, a stronger inherent urge within my mind was begging me to do something more cultural than laying in the sun. Thus, despite my longing to do absolutely nothing for a day, my active mind got the best of me and I booked a five hour private tour with one of the island’s best locals, Ray Anthony.


The impact of the good old Sweet Potato on Global Health

Screen Shot 2013-02-19 at 4.31.23 PM

Today I am honored to be collaborating with a group of women bloggers on behalf of ONE, a non-partisan, grassroots advocacy organization that fights extreme poverty and preventable diseases, to increase awareness about world hunger.

ONE asks:

“How can it be that 40% of Africa’s children are so chronically malnourished by the age of five that they will never fully thrive, physically recover or mentally develop – and this has not improved in two decades, despite so much other development progress?



  • In 2010, 171 million children under the age of five had stunted growth (chronically malnourished)[1]
  • Every year, malnutrition causes 3.5 million child deaths – or more than one third of all deaths of children under the age of five[2]
  • More than 600,000 children die each year from vitamin A deficiency[3]
  • 2 billion people are anemic, including every second pregnant woman and an estimated 40% of school-aged children — contributing to 20% of all maternal deaths[4]
  • The economic toll of malnutrition causes the loss of 2-3% of GDP in affected countries and more than 10% of productivity over a person’s lifetime[5]

Screen Shot 2013-02-19 at 4.32.17 PM

Global Health Global Issues SOCIAL GOOD

A visit to Alpage de Ritord: A traditional cheese maker in the Alps

One of the oldest traditions in the region of Savoie is making cheese. Three alpine cheeses are made in this region of the French Alps: Abondance, Beaufort, and Comte. These cheeses evolved over time due to the unique, isolated community of alpine herders who collectively used their dairy supplies during the summer months to make large cheeses that were easy to transport down the valley into the markets.


A night of heavenly food in the splendor of the Alps

After four days of hard work hiking the highs and lows of the sensational French Alps, we finally found salvation: Refuge de l’Aiguille Doran. Known as one of the best, more luxurious refuges in Vanoise National Park we were in for a heavenly night of fine wine, chef-prepared french food and delight. I could hardly wait!

Adventure Travel France Tour de Vanoise TRAVEL BY REGION Trekking/Hiking
Antigua, Guatemala

Eating like the locals in Guatemala

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” ― Lao Tzu

Lucy and I hit the pavement hard in the morning, walking and taking pictures as if we were on some kind of crazy photography marathon.  Lucy lives in Antigua.  However, I only had one full day to see as much of this amazing city as possible.  And, amazing Antigua was.

I was completely captivated by everything I saw.  Every step was a photographic moment. Every building had a story to tell.  The rooftops were often in a spray of blossoming flowers in hues of purples, pinks and white.  The peeling paints telling the tales of centuries ago.  The missing cobblestones making each street a unique albeit tiring journey.  The mysterious volcanoes.  Threatening and looming off in the distance.  The colorfully dressed indigenous people.  Everything was a Kodak moment.  The problem was there simply wasn’t enough time.

Beautiful typical buildings and homes. There are many streets like this in Antigua.