My last 'vacation' was in 1995, and that was my honeymoon.
Every year, I make myself the same promise, 'THIS will be the year I go somewhere WARM!'
I live in Nova Scotia, and I grew up in northern New Brunswick.
I have four seasons which consist of occasionally warm, kind of chilly, cold and freeze your ass off.
I HATE the cold. With a passion. I was born in the wrong climate! Thank you, Mom and Dad (Kidding. I love you. Just not where you chose to live).
Every year, I plan to use my tax return on a trip 'away'.
Every year, that plan goes down the drain when the tax money has to be used to pay the monstrous power bill, or car repairs, or sports fees for the kids or ... or ... or.
There's always something to spend it on.
And it's never a trip. Anywhere. Let alone warm.
Don't get me wrong, I've taken my kids away on overnight excursions to places like Crystal Palace, but that's a two hour drive away, and we stayed at my mom's place.
Other than when my parents took the boys and I to Canada's Wonderland back in 2001, they've never been on a plane. I've never taken them away anywhere on a real vacation.
And I've certainly never gone anywhere exotic with friends, or alone.
But the way I see it, they may not be world travelers, but they've had a good childhood.
We've had fun.
And if I put all my resources into raising my kids now, on the things we need, and some of the extras they want, in another few years, there will be time for 'me' trips.
I plan on hitting a sandy beach with palm trees somewhere in this big world.
I know I'm not the only person who has dreamed of traveling to places they've never been.
And I know I'm not the only one who can't afford to simply call an airline and book a ticket to ... wherever, whenever their heart desires.
On this single mom's budget, it's just not possible.
Yes, many people are able to save for their adventures. They put money away, they sell things, they do whatever they have to in order to raise the cash to live their dreams.
For others, despite the saving, or fundraising, or planning, or wanting, it just doesn't happen.
Now, that's all about to change for some very lucky people.
A new charity is being launched this week, hoping to make some of those abandoned travel dreams a reality.
It's called, A Ticket Forward.
This new initiative is the brainchild of Jordan Axani.
Jordan recently found himself with an extra 'round the world' airline ticket, and instead of letting it go to waste, he searched for a travel mate.
You can read Jordan's original story HERE with an update, HERE!
But this isn't about Jordan, really. It's about the new charity that he has created as a result of his journey to find that travel mate.
Jordan received many responses to his ad, from people all over the world, of all ages, who were afraid of never seeing their dream destination.
Many of these messages and stories he found extremely touching.
It made him want to help them all and A Ticket Forward was born.
From their (temporary) website, "A Ticket Forward elevates quality of life by facilitating the connection for individuals with people and places that matter to them most. We believe that travel is more than a luxury; it means the world. We partner with donors, brands and organizations to remove the distance between loved ones, enable cross-cultural exchange, and provide opportunities for personal growth." - A Ticket Forward
Basically, Jordan and his teams in LA, NYC, and Toronto are working with the Edward Charles Foundation, as well as corporate and private sponsors, to provide crowdfunding and private funding for eligible applicants, and will make it happen!
There is an application process, and no guarantees, but if an applicant is selected by the Selection Committee, and they are short listed, there is a chance that their trip will be funded by A Ticket Forward.
Is there somewhere you always wanted to go but for whatever reason, could not? Tell them your story!
You can either apply to A Ticket Forward on your own, or submit the name of someone you feel would be deserving of their trip of a lifetime.
If you meet their requirements, found HERE, and you believe this could be the one opportunity you (or someone you know) would ever have to see that one special destination, go ahead ... APPLY!
You can find their application page HERE.
I think this is a wonderful thing Jordan and his team are doing.
Giving to deserving people, and making dreams come true is always a good thing.
And now, if you'll excuse me ... it's below 0 degrees here today, so I think I'll turn up the heat, sit in my tub for awhile with a mai tai and dream of palm trees.
On the bright side, I don't have to worry about sharks in my tub.
Or unsightly Speedos
Hey ... HEY! NO splashing!!!
I have since found their NEW website! The first group of people have been chosen to receive A Ticket Forward! See it HERE.
You can also find their Facebook page HERE.