What we do,
Basically what we do in a nutshell:
We take foreigners, international schools, and Chinese nationals, either living in China or outside of China, (this year with coronavirus since international tourism is closed coming into China we are only focusing on trips inside China) and we help them experience local Tibetan culture, mountains, and beautiful wild areas that are in off-the-beaten-track destinations. These are places that they would not have access to without our experience and the local knowledge of our guides.
See more on our work in ecotourism and sustainable development here:
How we help local mountain communities in the Himalayas
That travel business then helps Tibetans have jobs. It employs guides; it employs horsemen; it includes drivers, accommodation employees, hotel owners, guest house owners, homestay hosts, and a huge network of people that host us and help us run our trips. Through our trips we are offering new opportunities to whole communities.
We only employ local nomadic people because we want to give these underdeveloped areas more opportunities. In a quickly modernizing cultural climate, it is hard for these nomads to adapt to modern cities and urbanization since they have lived simply on the land for 100’s of years herding yaks and sheep in the high mountains. Our business allows them to stay in their native lands during this sensitive transition to preserve their culture and customs and take people into their traditional ways of life. It preserves the dignity and honor of their culture through environmentally and culturally responsible tourism. Rather than just traveling through the lands as consumers, we engage and learn about one of the last living nomadic cultures and do it in a way that gives back into village life rather than just taking from it.
But what we do is about so much more than just travel. The travel element is a vehicle that allows us access to impact high altitude mountain communities. We also do trainings with these local communities in education, conservation, and community development. For example, we provide trainings on business development to guides and entrepreneurs.
We also provide trainings to forward environmental conservation. Tibet is known as the “Third Pole” because, after the North and South Pole, it is the largest source of fresh water on the planet, providing drinking water to over 50% of the world’s population in China, India, and Southeast Asia. We help to educate both local Tibetans and our travel guests on how to take care of this precious resource for future generations. We work with community leaders to find solutions for environmental management. We also work to support environmental conservation on the high altitude Plateau and work to empower locals to take care of ecological issues to preserve threatened and endangered species including the Tibetan fox, the Wild Ass, and the Snow Leopard.
Basically – we’re going into some of the least reached and most remote parts of the world and we’re helping these lesser developed communities and we are providing jobs, education, and a way to get out of the cycles of underdevelopment. We’re helping them have hope so they don’t have to only live on $1 US dollar a day or live in malnutrition or poverty.
For more on how tourism impacts poverty alleviation see this article:
Also a good list on 10 Ways Sustainable Tourism Can Alleviate Poverty here:
Impacting communities to survive through coronavirus closures
Through our business, these nomads can have more income to provide for their families. Our trips are actually helping Tibetans provide for their families, have jobs, and stay afloat in this really crazy coronavirus economy. I personally know several local travel businesses that have lost their entire international client base due to Covid travel restrictions. 2020, 2021, and 2022 have been a series of hard years on everyone, but especially for those in the travel business.
Our business has still been able to stay open in these tough times as we have refocused on domestic travel. This has allowed us to employ many nomadic guides, hotel owners, and even travel agency owners who otherwise would have lost all their jobs and income with the lack of tours and the challenges in the tourism market. It has not been easy to stay open with all the ever-changing regulations in travel, but we have been able to do it and will continue to strive to help locals with our business. With so many people in the travel industry facing economically difficult times, it is more important now than ever that we can continue to operate to support to make it through these challenges together.
See more on howe we helping during COVID-19 in this article:
How you can help
Okay. So what does this have to do with the end of an era and the beginning of something new? On March 18, 2022 I had to face a super sad day.
I went the local CheGuanSuo 车管所 (this is essentially what is the equivalent of the the Department of Motor Vehicle or the DMV of western China) and I signed away the title to my Great Wall SUV to another owner.
So this is an end of an era because I’ve had my car for 10 years. That car has taken us into some amazing mountain communities. Everything we have done with our business to impact local communities has almost always started with that car. It’s created so much development. It’s run first aid trainings for people that had no access to medical care in the remote mountains. It has helped us train local villages in how to run sustainable cooperatives in ecotourism to host foreigners. It has taken us into the most remote mountains at 4,500 meters (over 14 000 feet) in elevation and impacted so many people and so many communities. Almost all our guides and our business somehow started with that car.
But it’s a Chinese car that is in the brand “Great Wall”, it is super old, it’s an SUV and it’s on its last legs! And honestly we’ve taken really good care of it, but we have driven to some really crazy place over some pretty crazy roads.
Watch our YouTube video to see some of the crazy wild places our car ventured to:
Our ask: Would you help us raise money for a new vehicle?
So we’ve sold our car. This is a super sad time for me. I loved that car.
But we are raising money for a new car. This is not just a personal family vehicle. This is the tool that takes us into the mountains. This is THE community development tool that is the foundation of so much of all or work.
It’s not just for me and our own personal family. Of course we do use it out here to get out of the mountains for our little Cubbage tribe for myself, my wife, and our kids.
But this is the vehicle that allows us to reach these local mountain communities.
So we are raising money for a new car and we’d love it if you can give into this.
Whether it’s $100 US dollars, or $500 US dollars. We’re raising $20,000 Us dollars for new car.
We are not raising money for a “new new car” – but a “new to us” car. We are looking to buy something like a 2018 model which will take us into the mountains for another 10 or 15 years. We definitely need something that’s a lot more dependable then our old car. Our old car broke down on us a couple times in 2020 and 201 and left us stranded in some remote mountain communities with our family. That created some tough and desperate moments and we started to realize that we needed to look into getting a new car.
We have replaced the car battery 3 or 4 times in the last year and our car just keeps dying and having crazy electrical problems. The heat does not work (we have tried to repair it 4 times in the last few years to no effect) and every time we go over a bump all the lights flash on and off. We’ve had it towed away several times in the last few months and all the mechanics tell us,”You just gotta get rid of this thing!” After pouring thousands of dollars into our car repair this year, a few weeks ago our local mechanic just looked at us and said, “Do not waste any more money on fixing this car. It is a money pit. Just get a new one.”
And so now is the time. We’re ending our era with the Great Wall Hover and we are asking you if you can partner with us for a new era in reaching local communities.
Would you walk with us in this journey to provide development to high altitude mountain communities?
See more about how you can impact community development at: