Trek The World 2020 Finalist List

AirTreks is thrilled to giveaway $5,000 to trek the world in 2020 for one aspirational person looking to spread their wings and take flight on the trip of a lifetime.

At the beginning of January we launched the Trek The World 2020 Giveaway Contest and we have been overwhelmed with incredible entries. Before announcing the winner of the contest we want to honor and highlight some of the authentic stories that caught our attention.

We hope you enjoy learning about these travelers’ stories as much as we did. Stay tuned for the contest winner coming soon!

Fashion and Beauty, Travel and Wanderlust 

“Pretty Planet”, Sierra Boone, is a journalist and visual storyteller working on authentic and innovative ways to tell stories of culture through beauty, travel and justice. If Sierra were to win the #TrekTheWorld2020 giveaway, she would use it as the opportunity of a lifetime to immerse herself in the literal beauty histories of the world and the beautiful people who built and transform them. In the form of a video series, she’d travel to each destination with one goal: uncovering and deciphering cultural beauty standards around the world. Read Sierra’s blog entry here

Marcus Bird

Each journey into the unknown has made Marcus bolder. In 2009 he moved to Maisaka, Japan for two years and explored spirituality. The first place he’d ever been that was completely different from any place he’d ever been. He learned that the world was large, complex, and a lot about what he assumed about certain places. Japan revealed to Marcus that travel is ever mind expanding. Travel has helped Marcus to grow and define himself. He went to Bangkok to shoot his first music video. It was true mental transformation for him. Limited resources, a camera and a vision. Marcus is going to release a video every day in every destination he travels to. 

Park Street Studio Photographer and Videographer – Nick Hall

Nick is a believer that you’re always right where you need to be. He’s also a believer that routine and comfort is the downfall of all of us. It’s so easy to convince ourselves that there isn’t an entire world out there, unseen and unimaginable. Nick wonders if he could have the opportunity to experience the culture and wonders of a world that is different than his own. As a photographer, Nick knows it’s not about the camera it’s about the journey you take the camera on. He believes that best learning in life comes from travel. You only know what you know. And to truly open his mind, he needs to trek the world. His visual entry can be found here.

Photo Credit: @hannahdonzephoto

Dancing Joy Around The World

AirTreks worked with Dancing Joy to send them around the world to film Dancing Joy in 10 different countries. If they win this contest, they’ll travel and share their film screenings in many of the countries that shot in!

HV Minnella 

This mother wants to take her two children around the world with her. This trip is about family. She wants her and her family to open their eyes and embrace all that the world has to offer. She interviewed her daughter and her son to see where they would want to go and why they want to go there. So beautiful to see the world through a child’s eyes. 

The Perfectly Imperfect Travel Family 

As returned peace corps volunteers, this couple knows what it is to be immersed in new cultures, to assimilate into local life, and to truly listen to new perspectives. They used to live on a tiny island in Tonga in the South Pacific. They learned the language, attended feasts with traditional dances, taught at the school and advised local businesses. They took cold showers, drank rain water, graciously ate what food was available and played with neighbor kids who became their Tongan family. They yearn to really experience diverse cultures and people like this; not just visit and watch from the outside. It is their dream to return to Tonga and share their second home with their two young kids. Their kids have heard stories of Tonga their whole lives, their daughter was given a Tongan middle name. Watch their entry here.

Globetrotting Artist

This globetrotting artist, Diana J Lee is an artist and a world traveler. Her first around the world trip was booked with Airtreks! She was really scared to travel by herself, but with some words of encouragement during my phone call with one of Airtrek’s Travel Planners, she took that leap of faith and went on an adventure of a lifetime. From traveling, she learned that art is an important part of culture and history, but se began to notice all of the artists she admired were men, so stories and history are mostly told from a man’s perspective… even to this day. She wants to change this, and that’s why she’s interested in traveling the world in 2020. Explore her trip idea here.

Living Well Enterprises, LLC

Morgan is a travel lover because it allows her to truly experience the gift of being alive, enjoy this amazing planet we live on, and discover the different kinds of people, plants, and animals that live on it. Most importantly, travel keeps life in perspective for Morgan. Whenever she’s traveling she feels so small and really sees both how temporary her life is and also what a lasting impact one life can make. When traveling, she loves how life itself takes the lead and she can see the perfection of life itself unfolding right before her eyes.

Live It Well – @vmthepsychplorer

Entry from VM: “Maybe because perhaps my soul mate is not in a form of a man, but in a shape of beautiful landscapes, rich cultures and colorful traditions. The way people describe their feelings when they are with their special someone is the same feeling I get every time I onboard a ship or a plane, whether I’m traveling solo or with groups. The giddy excitement and adrenaline rush is surreal. Meeting not just one person, but tons of strangers from different walks of life with different story to tell. Eating not just your mother’s home cooked meals, but indulging yourself with different cuisines of different countries from street food to fine dining. A gastronomical experience I’d say. I don’t even mind getting lost in some foreign places. A bit of wrong turns and wrong bus rides will not sum up the totality of the trip.” vmthepsychplorer

The Gift – Varsha T

This video depicts Varsha’s story so far – about the gift she is blessed with, and why it is the reason she wants to travel all over the world. 
For her #TrekTheWorld2020 dream trip, she has created the following travel route using our AirTreks Trip Planner app: New Delhi – Wellington – Anchorage – Montreal – London – Stockholm – Budapest – Athens – Cairo – New Delhi.
Traveling to these places across the globe will be a great opportunity for her to explore and experience the varied history, culture, and scenaries of each destination. She’s excited to absorb the cultural essence, and create art that will reflect the destinations beauty and wonder. The trip will also help her expand her mental horizons and discover new aspects about herself.

Jiu Jitsu Around The World Trip – Donna

Donna’s entry: “One of my biggest fears was doing sports. I never did any sports as a kid and had a lot of anxiety just throwing a basketball. I was always the smallest person in my class. PE was my least favorite class and I would always be picked last to be on a team. Five years ago, when I was 25, I started training jiu-jitsu. Jiu-Jitsu is a martial art where smaller, weaker people can control bigger people using techniques. During my first year, I struggled a lot with letting go of my fear of showing people how uncoordinated I was. I would have to see the techniques for 5-10 more times before even attempting it. I would get so frustrated that I would cry after class each night and sometimes even in the middle of class. It took me over a year to feel comfortable doing even the most basic techniques. I loved how jiu-jitsu makes you problem solve and kept showing up to class. With the help of my coaches and teammates, I was able to overcome one of my biggest fears and now I am a blue belt! I am so glad to be able to conquer my fear of sports and now I would like to conquer another goal of mine: starting my own non-profit! I’ve never thought I could start a non-profit but because of jiu-jitsu I feel like I can accomplish anything I put my mind to. I love the environment and want to start a non profit to protect and restore our rivers!

If Donna won the contest she would trek the world for a year and stay in each destination for a month so she could practice and learn new jiu jitsu techniques in each destination she goes to. Her full entry here.

Amy Hajdas

Amy’s entry: “As my husband said best: Because we’ve learned SO MUCH and have SO MUCH TO LEARN… it’s engaged us in how we live – the foods we eat, the music we listen to, the arts we enjoy… It’s expanded our understanding of a shared humanity – differences worth exploring & celebrating – the colors, sounds, and fragrances of our planet – we are not going to stop! This #trektheworld2020 route allows us to engage with #creativehumans around the globe and participate in the beauty of it all.” -@amelju.ext Her full entry here.

Opera Woman 

One of the most entertaining entries yet! Opera Woman: “Opera, the most elitist art form and underprivileged children living in the villages often without access to water and safe toilets…Can you put the two together? Can you imagine 500 children singing opera arias for the first time after a two-hour workshop? Thanks to @airtreks#TrekTheWorld2020 challenge, this dream will be a reality this summer. I shall travel to Turkey, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, India, and Thailand (I grew up in these countries) to bring the joy of music to 500 children this summer. This voyage will start in San Francisco in May and will last three months with stopovers in Istanbul, Tashkent, Bishkek, Mumbai, and Bangkok. Music is the best connector and access to opera is simply human rights, children’s rights. Stay tuned to witness how classical music melts away all gender, ethnicity, language, and religious differences. It’s my mission and passion to use my voice to bring water, safe toilets, and classical music to 1,000,000 children. Join our movement and live from the heart!” -@opera.woman Her full entry here.

Awakening Affirmations – Anna

Anna’s Entry: “This is my year of renewal; the year I incorporate the growth received from the challenges of losing control, independence, self control and work experience. The time to re-open my senses by enhancing my taste palette, sharpening my ears beyond mundane tones and basque in the weakness of my eyes. I have claimed a re-start! I believe the struggles will continue to guide me on this path and there is more dirt, sand, and uneven pavements yet to be discovered.” -@myannaj Her full entry here.

Roaming Near and Far – Kara Paul

Kara’s entry: “This year, my husband Daniel graduates from grad school and I’d love nothing more than to reward all his hard work on the trip of a lifetime with the help of AirTreks and any other partnerships I can cultivate. We’ve had to overcome a lot of challenges and heartbreaks the world has thrown at us, and could use a trip like this to recharge and celebrate how far we’ve come. It would be a wonderful combined anniversary, Christmas, and graduation present, as I believe we would probably take the trip in December due to my work schedule and his final weeks of school this summer.” – Kara Paul Her full entry here.

My Giveaway Trip, My Teacher – Eveline Y Bayu

Eveline Bayu’s entry: “For almost 20 years I have worked in an office as an accountant. Everyday I do the same routine. Every year I go on vacation. For me, having holiday, visit tourist attractions not only as a means of relieving stress from routine or to show off on social media. I enjoy every holiday because I discover new things, both culture, food and history. From local food I learned the history behind the food and the food sources of the local community. From the old building I learned the style of the building, the political and social situation of the people at that time. When I was at a traditional market, I learned about local food, local languages and local clothing. When I was staring at the temple, I learn that although we are in limited or difficult situation, as long as there is a will, there will be a success.” Her full entry here.

Adventures of Randy Vitales

Randy’s entry: “I am a travel vlogger, it is my passion to create stories that will inspire others to see the world – a world that is beautiful and full of adventures. Vlogging is the modern day storytelling, I create content by producing photos and videos where I tell stories of adventures (or misadventures). I am a storyteller and I’d like share my stories and make the world a beautiful place to explore. Here is a video of why I should be chosen.

When in Rome – Gouri Prakash

Gouri’s entry: “It all started when my father relocated to the Middle East, when I was in the 7th grade. Uprooted from metropolitan Mumbai, and planted into the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, I was at grave risk of blooming into a cactus. Halloween or not, as a female, I was required to dress up like a ghost, flailing in black robes, whenever I stepped out of the confines of my house. It was a way of life which was very different from anything that I had ever encountered or come to expect.” Her full entry here.

It’s a Big World Out There – Beth and Mateo

“We had so much fun exploring AirTrek’s trip planning tool and brainstorming our next travel adventure. Thank you AirTreks for this exciting opportunity to share our passion for seeing the world.” Beth and Mateo

Red Bandana Around The World – Karla Petty

When Karla lost her father, she found healing in the places they had dreamed of traveling to together. He gave her a red bandana when she went on her first solo camping trip the Yellow Stone. He told her to baptize the bandana in the Yellow Stone River and bring it back to him, and so she did. And since then her red bandana has accompanied her on every trip she’s taken since. If she wins this giveaway, she’ll carry the red bandana and her father’s adventurous soul to places he would have loved to travel to but never got the chance to.

Calling of the Heart – Alexa Webster

Alexa does not have a home and she does not have things. She is a true nomad. She loves the earth and considers herself a citizen of the earth. She’s a firm believer in travel and she is dedicating this trip to her mother who has not been able bodied enough to live her dreams and so her mother’s dreams live in Alexa’s heart. This journey will help her live out her mother’s dreams.

San Fransico Drone Flyer – Burt Lawson

Burt wants to bring his love for flying drones and capturing the beautiful world in his trek around the world.

Pay It Forward – Samantha Joanne Millar

Samantha was finishing her social work diploma where she worked in a group home with 6 children. The house parents of the group home did a lot of traveling in their lives and they believed that traveling was a way to open your heart, mind, and give back and pay it forward to people who’s path you cross. They traveled together across the United States and Canada and camped and traveled from Ontario to California. Travel is transformative and Samantha knows that in her heart, it’s why she wants to trek the world in 2020.

Literature and Travel – Brooke Urban

Reading and travel allow you to understand people and world views that are different from your own. Brooke would like to travel to 15 different literary destinations to learn the cultures and to write a book about her experience traveling to all of the destinations.

Thank you to every beautiful story told and entry submitted. We have been blown away by these stories. To follow along with more incredible entries search the hashtag #TrekTheWorld2020 on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

Stay tuned, the contest winner will be announced soon!

Trek The World 2020 Contest Rules

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