For a lot of people, traveling is a consistent life goal - whether it’s about adventure during their vacations from work, or working towards a retirement filled with travel. But in the case of the former, travel can be a challenge when you’re limited to only two or three weeks of vacation a year.
"Two weeks of vacation is not enough time - especially to stay in one country and really get the opportunity to soak in the culture," says Ann Davis, founder of Venture with Impact.
Davis was diagnosed with brain cancer in her twenties, and says that was the impetus for fueling her desire to travel more. After surviving cancer and subsequently traveling to different countries, Davis says she found that the most fulfilling experiences happened while staying in one place for an extended period of time. She was able to connect and form relationships with local people and learn about different cultures.
"What I've noticed in myself and in other people as well is that (traveling) really gives you the opportunity to gain new perspectives," notes Davis.
As a teacher, Davis had more flexibility in her work life to take extended vacations, but knew other friends in other professions were not as lucky.
So, she created Venture with Impact, which combines travel, work, and volunteerism.
The company sends participants abroad to various locations around the world. During the month long stay, they are able to work for their stateside jobs remotely while engage in a local service project. Although the trip could be classified as a "working vacation," the work week structure still remains so that there is free time for participants to explore.
Venture With Impact currently has programs in Colombia, Portugal, Thailand, and Peru. Each of the vacation sites have ongoing partnerships with local non-profits where the participants can volunteer. Although her company has only been operation for less than a year, all that it has accomplished has "been great," Davis says.
"Being a female entrepreneur is definitely difficult sometimes, but it's been well worth it," she says. "I think that things in reality move really quickly, but when you're in the day to day grind you feel like you're not making the progress that you like to. Considering what we've done in less than a year, I think it's been great."