Interview by Kelsey Meyer of The League of Innovators
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World Footprints is an Award-Winning multi-media platform that fosters global citizenship and responsible travel. Hosts Tonya and Ian Fitzpatrick connect to thousands of loyal fans via radio, TV, and web. The Fitzpatrick’s focus their community of influence on promoting socially conscientious travel, and leaving positive footprints.
Tonya Fitzpatrick is an attorney, author, speaker, and award-winning broadcaster. Tonya has lived, studied, and worked abroad in England, China, Russia and Romania. Ian Fitzpatrick is an attorney, strategist, and author. Ian has a long history of travel and travel industry experience, having previously served as a financial analyst in corporate planning and labor relations at Northwest Airlines. Together, Tonya and Ian co-host the World Footprints Radio show.
You both have extensive travel experience. What encouraged you to take this experience and share it with the world?
Tonya and Ian:
For us it was about finding our purpose in life. We’ve always enjoyed traveling and, in some ways, traveling has been a sanctuary away from the craziness and it has always been a welcome respite from the mundane. When we opened our travel agency (our entrée into the travel sphere) we had a mission to help people discover the joy of travel. Our hope was to foster global citizenship and cross-cultural understanding.
Your website www.worldfootprints.com has information on how to travel, where to travel, and what to do once you get there. Can you tell us about some of the special features your site offers its visitors?
Tonya and Ian:
Our site is multi-dimensional and includes a Travel Portal that feeds daily travel deals, a marketplace for travel supplies and products and other resources. Our travel videos and videos from White House and other events as well as our Twitter feed and Blog that showcases relevant travel intelligence and news. Of course, our radio shows are archived on our site along with tons of other information. We will be adding an eCommerce feature that will offer sustainable and fair trade products for sale. Currently we have a book store and clothing & gear store on the site. We also have a portal where travelers can offset their carbon footprints while supporting UN approved community projects. There’s a lot of rich content.
In your own words, what does it mean to leave “positive footprints one step at a time”.
Tonya and Ian:
“Leaving positive footprints one step at a time” means leaving a positive legacy of friendship and global citizenship. It means helping to preserve our planet and natural resources for generations to come. Because there is so much need in the world and we can’t save the entire world or address every need, we can make a difference by doing something. Every action resembles one small step.
Many of our readers are business owners. Can you speak from a business standpoint, on what advantages, and difficulties you see with having three different medias; radio, TV and web, through which to send your message?
Tonya and Ian:
The advantage is that we effectively have multiple revenue streams. The challenge is that it is often difficult to manage our various projects. Additionally, each media entity requires a different focus and strategy to implement with a small staff.
The important stance you both take on eco-friendly travel is very inspiring. Can you give our readers some tips on eco-friendly travel?
Tonya and Ian:
Better yet, we have money saving tips for responsible travelers. These include:
Pack light and/or try to travel with a carry-on bag only. This will help lighten the plane’s load (the heavier the plane load, the more fuel it burns) but traveling with a carry-on will save money on airline baggage fees.
Purchase a set of empty travel-size bottles and fill them with your products (shampoo, conditioner, lotion). By reusing these bottles you will save money by filling them with products you’ve purchased in bulk vs. paying multiple times for packaged travel-sized toiltries that will thrown away and added to the mountain of landfill waste.
Travel with a reusable water bottle that you can refill many times. If the tap water in your destination is questionable, then you can purchase water purification tablets or purchase a large container of purified water from a local market. Just as with toiletries, buying water in bulk is cheaper per ounce.
Mass transportation is experiencing a renaissance and the cost of travel is generally less than the cost of an airline ticket. Travel by train or bus is a great option to lower your carbon footprint.
Explore a destination by foot, bike or public transportation. This also lowers your carbon footprint and offers a great opportunity to interact with locals.
Drive conscientiously. If you need to rent a car, consider renting a small economy car or a hybrid. Compact cars are cheaper and more fuel efficient, and hybrids offer a savings on fuel costs.
If you’re taking a road trip prepare your vehicle beforehand to optimize fuel efficiency. Make sure your engine is tuned up, your tires are properly inflated and your trunk is cleared of heavy nonessential items that would add to your fuel costs to haul.
Need a guide book? Rent one from your local library. It is free and you will be helping the environment by reusing a resource that you may only have a one-time need for.
Buy local! Purchased souvenirs made by local artisans and fruit and snacks from a local farmers market. Goods produced locally are generally cheaper since shipping costs are not added to the final cost. Plus, the short distances these goods have traveled means that their carbon footprint is smaller AND you are supporting the local community. (NOTE: Avoid buying souvenirs made from endangered species. Refer to the International Fund for Animal Welfare for guidance on animal souvenirs to avoid.)
Embark on a volunteer travel experience. Volunteer travel is an amazing way to see a place, immerse yourself in a local culture and leave a positive footprint. It can also be a more economical way to see a destination.
Consider traveling with a small group that is organized by an environmentally responsible tour operator. Group trips are often more cost effective and they make less of an environmental impact.
Set your home to vacation mode and save money while traveling. Turn all electrical appliances to their vacation or energy-saving mode and unplug non-essential appliances. Turn off all lights or put one key light on a timer and install an energy-saving compact fluorescent light bulb in that light. Suspend your newspaper delivery until your return.
With seasoned travelers such as yourselves, the question on a lot of our readers minds is, what is your favorite place you have traveled, and why?
Tonya and Ian:
Asking us to choose our favorite destination is like asking a mom to choose her favorite child. We have special affinities for a few places—Bermuda, because we were married there; South Africa, was our honeymoon destination; Toronto, because we got engaged there; London, Michigan, Southern California are Tonya’s former homes; New Orleans, just because…the list goes on. But, everyplace we travel leaves a special feeling in our hearts.
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