Contributed by guest author Scott MacBride
There was no doubt in my mind that I had to be in Brazil for FIFA World Cup™ in 2014. The one way to guarantee it would happen was simply to make myself buy a plane ticket. With no real plan and the little money I could spare, I bought the cheapest flight I could find: A one-way flight to Salvador, Brazil. With that, I was on my way to the trip of a lifetime. But I didn’t just learn about soccer; I also picked up a passion for coffee and was inspired by the locals I was lucky enough to spend time with. Traveling with a purpose changed my life for the better in a major way. Here are 3 ways to plan your own trip with a purpose:
Be proactive. I recommend getting into travel mode as soon as you can. Start by thinking about a place you want to visit. Fill your mind with visions of a foreign land, all the things there are to see, and what it would be like to experience how different cultures live. There is a broad, eye-opening aspect to travel beyond just a vacation filled with relaxing and partying. Real travel offers a way of opening your mind and doors to your life pursuits.
Mix Passion with Purpose
First decide what drives you, and then brainstorm ways to apply it to your travels. Whether it’s volunteering your time or donating supplies, determine how to make your trip a meaningful one.
My trip to Brazil was a combination of my passions coming together. I have loved and played soccer my entire life, and in the summer of 2014 the FIFA World Cup™ was commencing in the soccer-crazy nation of Brazil. Experiencing the Cup in person seemed like something I couldn’t miss, but I also wanted to give back, so I decided to provide underprivileged kids with soccer balls during my travels. I packed 30 soccer balls in a bag and raised money to buy more while I was in Brazil.
My passion for coffee had been growing, too; not just drinking it as a beverage, but developing it as a profession for myself. I wanted to learn all aspects of the chain, from where it is grown and how it is sourced, to the way it’s transformed during the roast process and served to customers in the community. I didn’t have any leads to learn more about coffee farming while I was in Brazil, but I just believed I would be able to figure something out.
Be Open to Adventure
Even when you travel with purpose, realize that there are some things you just can’t plan in advance. Don’t be afraid to veer from your itinerary. Get outside your comfort zone, mingle with the locals, and take advantage of every opportunity.
One afternoon during my trip, I went to a local bar to watch a soccer match and stumbled upon a place with only Brazilians fans. After the match, I started talking with a man who spoke English, and I found out that his sister was married to a guy with a coffee plantation about 15 hours away in Itapetinga. He told me if I wanted to go to the farm, I could take a bus to meet his brother, who would take me to the farm.
Once I arrived at the coffee farm, I was able to see everything, including the trees, the processing method, and the people who worked to produce coffee. The opportunity to pick ripe coffee cherries off the trees, load them into processing machines, and put them onto drying beds is something I will always remember and appreciate. Also, after visiting the farm, I had the chance to accomplish my other goal. I bought as many soccer balls as I could find, which ended up being almost all of the balls in town, and gave them to local kids.
Coffee and soccer allowed me to connect positively with so many people in Brazil and really travel with a purpose. At the end of the trip, I had given away over 300 soccer balls to happy and thankful Brazilian kids. When I got back to the States, I was so intrigued by the coffee experiences that I decided to launch a cold-brew coffee company, Jupiter Cold Brew, in San Diego. I hope to incorporate small farmers from around the world and provide some amazing coffee to people in my community.
When it comes to planning your own travels, there’s no place for being passive. Pull the trigger and book your trip, follow through with your goals, and get ready for the adventure.
Scott MacBride is a world traveler, avid surfer, competitive soccer player, and coffee guru residing in Encinitas, California. He is also the founder of Jupiter Cold Brew Coffee. Scott’s vision is to provide great local coffee to the people of his community while staying true to values of sustainability, quality ingredients, and healthy choices–all while enjoying life to the fullest.