In the midst of the 7.8 earthquake in Nepal, Nicole Brewer and Renee Evans, founders of Iluv2Globetrot, are moving full speed ahead with organizing a volunteer trip to the devastated country.
From July 1 — 8, while trekking through Nepal, the travel group will perform volunteer work with organizations committed to improving the lives of women and children. With years of experience teaching abroad in countries like Oman, South Korea and Germany, and travel features in Cosmopolitan, BBC travel and National Geographic channel, the dynamic duo know more than a thing or two about traveling abroad.
Black Enterprise caught up with the co-founder Nicole Brewer, to learn more about her career journey and the upcoming trip to Nepal.
Tell us a bit about your background.
I’m originally from Detroit, MI and attended the University of Michigan, receiving a BA in Communications. After finishing undergrad I moved to Chicago and worked in Market Research for a few years. After being laid off and looking for work for some time I decided to move abroad for work as an ESL (English as Second Language) teacher and haven’t looked back since.
I taught in South Korea for three years, am on my second year as an English Lecturer at a college in Oman and studied abroad receiving my MA in International Humanitarian Action last year from a dual program in Germany and South Africa.
As the co-founder of I Luv to Globetrot, why was it important for you to create an online destination that motivates people to travel?
Traveling and living abroad has changed my life for the better. Being from Detroit, MI and now traveling the world to over 30 countries, I felt it was my civic duty to document these amazing experiences of hopes to inspire others to consider an unconventional route of living the expat lifestyle. I’m so happy I did because I get loads of messages from people from all over the world saying how I am inspiring them to trot the globe.
Your volunteer trip was planned way before the unfortunate earthquake in Nepal, why is still important for you to travel there?
My business partner Renee and I were hoping to choose a destination that we could visit and explore a unique culture, while giving back at the same time. I’ve volunteered abroad before and we both wanted to go on a trip where we could give back. After research and talking to people, as well as taking a poll in our travel community I luv 2 Globetrot onÂ Facebook, we decided on Nepal as it was the second choice amongst our travelers and both had an interest in this destination.
Currently we only have a handful of interested parties because of recent unfortunate events, some people are nervous about committing to the trip. However, since our main goal was to volunteer and give back to the community, we are even more dedicated to go and be of service to the people of the community.
It’s even more important to go now, as this devastating tragedy will have such implications on not only the infrastructure, mental health of the locals and economy. We just really want to do our small part to help since we had such a desire to trot here. If anyone is interested in joining us, please feel free to email email@example.com.
You have a MA in International Humanitarian Action with a background in market research, how has this prepared you for the type of work you do today?
My experience in market research, as well as my MA degree has made me more aware and adaptable to various situations and cultures. I’ve lived abroad for several years working with people from various walks of life and my past experiences have really assisted me in having compassion and understanding in everything that I do. I ideally plan to use my MA degree in the future to assist me with my long-term goal of starting a non-governmental organization.
In regards to the Nepal volunteer trip, my MA experience ranged from hearing lectures from UN officials, Red Cross trainings and having simulations of in the field experiences in a humanitarian response setting, so this will indeed assist me in my desire to volunteer abroad more and especially in the current setting in Nepal.
What has traveling taught you?
I’ve lived as an expat for over five years. Traveling has taught me so much about others, but also has made me grow as a person. It really has made me realize that the world is not such a bigger scary place and it has restored my faith in humanity. I have met some of the most amazing people from around the world while globetrotting. I’ve gained incredible patience and understand that the journey is so much more enjoyable then arriving at the destination. This is where true understanding and growth comes from.
What’s the downside to expat life?
The downside of expat life would for sure have to be being away from your family and close friends from back home for extended periods of time. Between finishing graduate school and then moving to Oman, it had been almost 2 years since I’ve seen my family. You may lose family members, miss out on weddings and birthdays but have to stay the course and continue on your journey.
What are your favorite apps for living and traveling abroad?
Some of my favorite apps are Skyscanner app for searching flights and TripIt for keeping all of your itineraries, flight details, hostel bookings and more in one place. I’m also looking forward to adding the I Luv 2 Globe Trot app to the list. It’s in pre-production at the moment but we plan to connect travelers from our community but and them inspire others as well.