September 30, 2005
Interview Preview: Danielle Weiss - Latin
America Fan and Sustainable Travel Expert
Sustainable travel has been an issue I have been interested in
for a while now and through G.A.P
Adventures, the sponsor of the grand prize for our soon to be
launched Travel Story Contest, I was
able to learn more about the topic of sustainable tourism.
Danielle Weiss, a former tour leader for G.A.P, is now the company's
Sustainable Tourism Coordinator. While I was quizzing Danielle about
sustainable travel issues of course I asked her a bit about herself
and her connection to the adventure and eco-travel industry. As
she started to tell me more about her background, I realized that
I had a very interesting person right there in front of me, who
has lived, worked, studied and volunteered in a number of foreign
countries. Needless to say, I needed to find out more about Danielle
and her background.
Danielle completed a degree in environmental studies at the University
of Waterloo and during her college years she travelled to Guatemala
and Costa Rica. In her 3rd year of studies she went to Ecuador for
two semesters. During the first semester she worked on academic
studies, while during the second semester she volunteered in a coastal
jungle project where she provided environmental education to local
children, got involved in a tree planting program and worked in
a women's program.
That year in Ecuador truly changed her life - Danielle came back
a different person. The most striking experience was that she had
developed a strong distaste for the materialism that is so prevalent
in our western societies. A key memory for Danielle was meeting
a family who had walked for four days through the jungle with a
sick baby to try to reach medical facilities. Unfortunately the
family did not reach the hospital in time and the baby died. Images
like these shaped Danielle's realization how hard life is for so
many people and how lucky we really are.
Danielle on a hiking adventure
Danielle will tell us how difficult it was to come back to Toronto
and not surprisingly she went back to Latin America not much later.
Over a period of several years, Danielle lived, worked and volunteered
in different locations in Latin America and fell in love with the
countries, the language and the people. She will share stories of
survival where she literally survived on about a dollar a day. During
one of her stays in Latin America she linked up with G.A.P Adventures
and eventually become one of their tour leaders. In the upcoming
interview, Danielle will tell us more about her travel experience
and her experience as a tour leader, continuously on the road for
Today, Danielle is back in Toronto, and after various positions
at the head office, she has become G.A.P's Sustainable Tourism Coordinator.
Through her work Danielle makes a difference in a number of Latin
American communities and demonstrates how individuals and private
businesses can lend a hand to people in need.
Danielle participating in a stove-building project
A practical example of "voluntourism"
is the sponsor of the grand prize for our first story contest: an
exciting adventure cruise on the Amazon on the historic and unique
Explorer expedition cruise ship. Visit our contest page to find
out more about our first travel story
The completed interview with
Danielle talks about the concept of sustainable
An interview preview with Bruce
Poon Tip, G.A.P.' s founder
The completed interview with Bruce