Traveling with a Purpose

Let’s paint a picture.

You’re planning your next vacation and determining where to go. What drives your decision to visit a specific location?

National Geographic states, “More than ever people want to travel with a greater sense of purpose,” says Deborah Calmeyer, CEO and founder of Africa travel specialist Roar Africa.”

Society is choosing to travel with intention. Volunteer work overseas is leading the decision of our country’s travelers. People want to make a difference in other countries, which is causing a positive change in their own lives.

In many places in Africa, people are finding value in the helping a community in need, educating and offering resources for the people and animals. Those returning homes find a greater appreciation for what we have and how we can make a difference impacting the world as a whole.

There are teaching, child-care, medical and dental jobs and need in developing countries. The impact we can make on the people there is immense.

Christian based organizations are leading travel trends as volunteers head overseas to make a difference in developing countries. Ministries not only bring those to Christ but bring resources, food, provide houses and build communities.

Noonday Collection is an ambassador based jewelry company that created a way for artisans in vulnerable countries to earn a living for their families by using their talents and skills to create beautiful jewelry. This company through fair trade sustainability has created better working and living conditions for those in developing countries.

“Sustainable tourism [is defined as] travel that seeks to diminish environmental impacts, protect the earth, and benefit locals, while also encouraging travelers to make deep connections with the people and places they visit” (Travel Weekly).

We can help to by recycling paper and plastic, using less water and keeping chemical pollutants to a minimum at our jobs and our homes.

Traveling abroad has become more than tourist based leisure. People are traveling to get hands-on experience and impact developing countries around the world.

There are still a need for volunteers in developing countries around the world. Local churches in your area send teams of volunteers out yearly. Princeton Alliance Church in Plainsboro, New Jersey is sending teams out to their five partner countries multiple times a year. Opportunities are closer than you think!

People from celebrities to the middle class are joining this travel trend. Purpose driven travel is on the rise and there is still so much work to be done in vulnerable communities around the globe. Not only are you impacting the community, but gaining meaningful experience and knowledge from that society.

Online Shopping Trends

In 2019, retail shopping has become less common to buyers. Online shopping accounts for 10% off sales and more and more people are buying online! Don’t get me wrong there are people who still prefer shopping through retail locations, but millennials from ages 22-37 are driving sales online.

30% of consumers would purchase through Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter or Snapchat. Facebook is primarily used for businesses to promote and expand their audience. In 2015, Facebook had 157.1 million users. For small businesses, promoting your brand through social media is necessary to stay cpmpetitive and connect with your consumers.

Influencers are promoting brands and products everyday through social media. There are hundreds of Instagram bloggers located around the world that are household names to consumers. Men and women share their fashion, lifestyles, home furnishings and accessories through social media and other apps.

Instagram: @emilyanngemma

“An influencer is an individual who has the power to affect purchase decisions of others because of his/her authority, knowledge, position or relationship with his/her audience,” (Influencer Marketing Club).

Online shopping allows buyers to avoid the lines, the wait and dealing with the public. You know how it is. There’s always that one person who is unhappy with everything and shouts loudly at the checkout counter.

As of 2016, 79% of Americans shopped online. At the time only 15% were shopping directly through social media accounts. Social media is a great way to hear about new products and promotions. Though the figures of shopping directly through social media have not increased substantially, there was 6.5 billion earned in 2017 from social shopping.

Another method for buyers to shop online is through the LikeToKnow.It app. This features a one stop shopping site for buyers to shop directly through their screenshots. It is very popular for Instagram influencers to link their favorite products to this app for followers to shop from the ease of their phones.

Starting this year, Instagram offered checkout for buyers to purchase through businesses without leaving the app. 54% of millennials use social platforms to research products before they buy. Social media is a great place to get ideas for fashion and home furnishings.

Celebrities are using social media as well to advertise their own companies and other brands. Kylie Jenner demonstrates using her own makeup line in videos on social media and Instagram to promote her company, Kylie Cosmetics.

Online shopping trends in 2019 are going to continue to grow. There are currently 348 million social media users and the numbers are climbing each week. There are new bloggers and social media influencers that are popping up everyday to share new fashion trends and shopping deals.

Thoughts for a Saturday


Today I was reminded of the importance of making time for God. Each day we’re bombarded by so many plans, tasks and chores that can take the place of quality time with the Lord. Often times, we make time for something we deem more important than talking with Him. Even time spent with the Lord that is rushed by other thoughts and concerns can lack the complete lesson of what God is giving to you for that day. Clear your mind of the plans you have ahead of you and listen to what the Lord is telling you. By starting each day with him, we are filled with his presence to help us throughout the day. Although spending time with God may not always fit into your daily schedule, I want to challenge you to include time every morning for the Lord.

-Cause me to understand the way of your precepts, that I may meditate on your wonderful deeds- (Psalm 119:27 NIV)