Global Family Travels with Jennifer Spatz
Case Study: community-based travel company
Jennifer Spatz is a founder and CEO of Global Family Travels & Co-founder of Impact Travel Alliance for Greater Seattle.
Growing up in several countries, Jennifer experienced the bonding power of travel with her family, and by authentically connected with the locals, learned that despite our differences, we are all the same in our hearts and minds. The experiences she had inspired her to offer community-based travel experiences, and partner with local non-profit organizations to create service-learning tours for families.
Jennifer’s path led her to get a double B.A. degree in Anthropology and International Political Science from Bates College in Maine, and a M.S. degree in Agricultural Economics from Purdue University. Prior to founding Global Family Travels, Jennifer had a career in international development, trade and finance, traveling extensively for work in Asia, Europe and the Middle East.
It was Global Family Travels’ first official trip in 2010 to the stunningly beautiful region of North India called Ladakh that transformed Jennifer’s life. The journey entailed a village clean-up with students from the Siddhartha School, founded by Khensur Rinpoche, an educator and Buddhist monk and a lifelong friend of the Dalai Lama. At the end of this trip, Jennifer knew she had found her calling and the Universe supported it, allowing her to use her Sacred Gifts to develop transformational travel experiences filled with immersive activities.
Today, Jennifer is passionate about creating educational & transformative travel programs in support of many United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, including education, access to clean water, conservation, gender equality, and preservation of local cultures.
When I founded Global Family Travels (GTF) almost 10 years ago, I first called it Paravati Family Travel because I was drawn to this special Hindu Goddess of the mountains, marriage and households.
Paravati represents Positive Change. It is Global Family Travels’ mission to provide cultural experiences that build bridges and ones that will leave you and the communities you visit, and the people you meet, with the satisfaction of knowing that you all have been changed for the positive. Hopefully, these experiences will foster an understanding that there is a unity of humankind and you will return home with a sense of global connectedness that will ultimately contribute to your own sense of purpose and happiness.
In partnership with community-based tour operators and local non-profit organizations Global Family Travels creates service learning tours for families which include a unique mix of cultural and educational activities, home stays and participation in local service projects aimed at directly improving the lives of people in the communities.
Through its 3 pillars of Learn. Serve. Immerse, Global Family Travels’ trips are designed to spark curiosity, make an impact, and share that story with the world. It is Jennifer’s hope that GFT’s transformational trips foster greater cross-cultural understanding and global citizens who will take responsibility for the challenges facing our global community.
“The most powerful way to learn is through first-hand experience, by allowing the country and its people to be our teachers…”
“We offer opportunities to work together on local service projects aimed at improving the lives of people in the communities we visit.”
“Travelers become immersed in the culture of the communities we visit by experiencing daily life with the locals.”