Travelling With A Purpose

Last summer while backpacking through the streets of Europe on my own, I came to an unexpected and striking realization. Prior to my trip, I couldn’t wait to embark on my solo travels.

I imagined that my trip was going to completely change my life. I was going to immerse myself in the different cultures I stumbled across, get lost in the chaos of new destinations and people, and maybe even find myself along the way. It would be my own little Eat, Pray, Love adventure.

Instead, what I realized was that I had no purpose in my travels. I wasn’t writing, taking photographs, or giving to a cause while on my trip. For some reason, I wasn’t doing any of the things that inspired and drove me. All I was doing was simply travelling to travel, and it left me with a deeply disheartening feeling of emptiness. I could be marveling over the most beautiful sunset casting it’s glow over Venice and still feel lost.

I do believe that feeling lonely and lost is an inherent part of solo travel, but for me it was also a sign of something deeper than that. Today, I see travel as an opportunity to make a difference. Whether it be through teaching, volunteering, or exploring my creativity- it’s so much more than simply taking a trip.

Not only is it important to gain something valuable from travel, it’s just as important to leave something for others to gain from as well.

The National Geographic

If you’re looking for travel opportunities that also offer purpose, the National Geographic offers meaningful trips like these. These adventurous trips immerse you in, and educate you about diverse culture, as well as environmental and societal issues of the region. They run through Tanzania, India, Guatemala, and many other countries that are filled with opportunities to shift and alter your perspective.

Operation Groundswell

Operation Groundswell is sparking a movement of globally active and socially conscious backpackers. There are plenty of countries and programs to choose from that will fit your form of activism. In total there are 162 programs in 18 countries around the world. These trips connect like-minded backpackers who want to shape the world while exploring it.

Kalu Yala

Ever dreamed of studying abroad while practicing sustainability in the beautiful rainforest? If so, Kalu Yala may be the choice for you! I first found Kalu Yala a year ago, and was captivated by the idea of the small off the grid, tight knit community. They offer plenty of unique learning, building, and visiting opportunities in the beautiful rainforest of Panama.

These are all amazing opportunities to travel in a unique and fulfilling way, but they’re not the only ways to travel with purpose. If you book a trip to a country because you want to explore it’s beauty and culture, that’s great! The mistake I had made was not setting any goals for my trip. Goals even as simple as practicing photography, or trying new foods will motivate you on your travels. You’ll feel inspired to try new things and make the most out of your trip, rather than relying on travel to do those things for you.

Have you ever embarked on a purposeful trip abroad? Share your experiences and stories below, I’d love to hear about them!



  • I love slow travels, the travels to meet people and know well a country!

    • Diana Maria

      Agreed Patricia! xx

  • Those sound like amazing opportunities, especially the one in Panama. I see your point about travelling with purpose and I am not sure if I’ve been doing that but now I really want to set some goals for my future travels 🙂

    -Leta | The Nerdy Me

    • Diana Maria

      Good luck with your future travel goals Leta! 🙂

  • This was such a fun read, thanks for sharing!

  • Great post! And thanks for sharing these travel opportunities! Traveling gives me a creative outlet for sure. I know there are lots of people now that think people don’t even enjoy their trips anymore because they are too busy being busy basically. For me, I couldn’t imagine not taking a million photos or writing blog posts. It’s all about creativity and loving what I do. 🙂


  • Love this post! I’m glad you shared that little tidbit about National Geographic because I absolutely love watching that channel.

    cabin twenty-four

  • Fay Ovitt

    What a great post! This is so true- I experienced that feeling of emptiness while I was on my solo trip in Seattle. There were so many times when I thought to myself, “What am I even DOING right now?” It’s funny how such deep emotions and thoughts are brought to the surface when we spend so much time with ourselves. I am excited to look into these purposeful trips! <3

  • I love the feeling of travelling – you feel alive, happy and ready to explore new things! All your photos are absolutely gorgeous!!!

    Layla xx

    • Diana Maria

      It’s such a wonderful feeling, isn’t it?! Thank you Layla you’re too kind xx

  • I don’t travel too much because I’m a student but once I’m done with uni, the plan is to take a year off before work and travel travel travel. Traveling for me has always been enjoyable, but I understand what you mean!

    Reine | Sincerely Reine

    • Diana Maria

      I hope you have an awesome time on your travels, that’s so exciting Reine! xx

  • This is such an amazing idea. I haven’t travelled a lot over the last few years simply because I wouldn’t have a purpose – but this could completley change that! Thank you!

    • Diana Maria

      Thank you Alice! I hope you find the opportunity to travel and have such an experience! xx

  • I’ve looked into those National Geographic trips before and they look amazing. We are currently saving up for a trip and hope to take one of those!!

    • Diana Maria

      That’s amazing, I hope you get the chance to go on one of those trips they look life changing!

  • I’ve never travelled abroad before; although I would love to visit a few countries in Europe, the idea of travelling solo really scares me! I’d never even thought about travelling with a purpose as such – especially with a purpose that would not only benefit yourself, but the communities that you visit. It’s amazing that there are so many programmes out there that offer this opportunity!

    -Alicia x | Lifestyle & Advice

    • Diana Maria

      Solo travel can be quite scary and isn’t for everyone, but I would definitely encourage you to give it a shot! I agree, it’s wonderful these opportunities are so easily available!

  • I’ve been to a few places abroad, but I’ve always loved the idea of traveling alone, although it scares me a little bit, it’s something that I’ve started to think about recently and seriously consider instead of just always saying it’s something I ‘want’ to do! I definitely think I wouldn’t be able to put my camera down and would be going 95% for the amazing shots I could capture, like you say, a beautiful sunset casting it’s glow over Venice! But I also really like the idea’s and suggestions you have for more cultural/educational and volunteering programmes as those are always important reasons to travel! Lovely post and pictures 🙂

    Xo Gemma

    • Diana Maria

      Aw thank you Gemma! Hopefully you get to go on your dream trip and explore your creativity! The idea of solo travel scared me as well, but it’s not as scary as it seems I promise!

  • I love travel, I did an interrail and also small travels around the world and I love your post!!
    Super inspiring and I love the suggestions you are giving 😀
    Have a lovely week

    • Diana Maria

      Thank you Patricia, I’m so glad you enjoyed the post! I traveled via interrail as well and it was such an easy way to get around!

  • Travelling is great, travelling with a purpose sounds even better – I’d love to do it more one day! Helping others out would be such a meaningful experience and immersing yourself in a different country/culture would be life changing I’m sure.

  • Katrina Fernandez

    I so love to travel, I don’t even care who I go with while travelling. The most important is that I visit the place where I wanted to. But when travelling I prepare to plan it very well. 🙂 Thanks for sharing your experience, I so love it. <3

    Hope you can drop to my blog at KatrinaIsha
    xo, Katrina