I have lived in Lebanon for 20 years and have traveled around the country more than most tourists and residents, mainly through visiting youth service projects every April as the national coordinator of Global Youth Service Days (www.learningtocare.com/gysd). This year youth did 37 projects in the many different areas of the country.
I am still constantly amazed by the physical beauty, rich history, and cultural diversity of this small country. After participating as a lecturer on many Stanford Travel/Study trips around the region, I decided to organize a trip of my own that combines my love of Lebanon, dedication to volunteering, and commitment to the environment. What better way than organizing an EcoVolunTour of the country? Eco – means we will be as environmentally friendly as possible in how we travel, what we do, and the things we consume. Volun, of course, stands for the volunteering we will do – a great way to meet the local people of the country. And Tour means that we will get to know Lebanon from the soap factory in Saida to the river rafting and Roman temples in the Bekaa to the cedars and the Gibran museum in the north. And we certainly won’t miss one of my very favorite places in Lebanon – the incredible Jeita caves – awesome doesn’t begin to describe them! We will not only visit the standard tourist sites, but will also take “the road less traveled” and see some of the back roads and off road trails of the country.
And we will meet some very special people along the way – our wonderful local chefs at Ramlieh and the man who manages both the tree nursery and the skywalk there, the person who designed and guided the building of the Eco-Lodge at Taanayel, built from sun-dried adobe bricks, the passionate wine specialist at Tourelles, and the many people who will work side by side with us as we volunteer.
Don’t forget that the deadline to register is May 20th. Let’s have a great time exploring Lebanon and making our own NON-carbon footprint here together!