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We had the pleasure of catching up with Jess from Tasi Travels. Jess talked to us about her Travel with Purpose trips that have recently launched.
"This year we have been so excited to launch a new arm of the Tasi Travels brand, our ‘Travel With Purpose’ trips. Travel With Purpose was inspired by my own travels, I was finding that more and more people, and young people in particular, were looking for something more out of their travel experiences. They were wanting to travel to remote, untouched parts of the world, connect genuinely with the local people and culture, have a truly authentic experience of the place and perhaps more than anything, be able to contribute positively.
That’s where the idea for Travel With Purpose came from, and it seemed only fitting to lead our first groups back to the place where the idea for Tasi was first born two years ago, Atauro Island in Timor-Leste (East Timor).
Atauro Island is a tropical paradise, unlike anywhere else I’ve ever travelled. It is still mostly unknown to the western world, with only a few eco-lodges on the island and very minimal tourism. Depsite this, like many developing countries and remote islands, Atauro Island struggles with plastic pollution. While some of this rubbish is being washed onto the shore, much of it is local rubbish ending up on the beach due to lack of waste disposal and recycling facilities. There are some amazing individuals and initiatives pushing for positive change, however there is still work to be done.
This was what originally took me to Timor-Leste, I have worked in the marine debris space for a lot of years and was invited to join some girlfriends on the trip. One of my friends is an incredible advocate for the environment and had previously been to Atauro Island and set up a number of sites across the island for regular beach clean-ups, collecting the data for the Australian Marine Debris Database.
Our first Travel With Purpose group headed back to Timor-Leste this July, for the adventure of a lifetime. Amongst days spent snorkelling (the waters of Atauro Island were recently declared the most biodiverse in the world), boating, hiking and attending local cultural festivals, we did a number of beach clean-ups, collecting 2,709 pieces of rubbish off one stretch of beach. These are some of the stats:
402 plastic drink bottles
355 plastic bottle lids
756 pieces of hard plastic
407 pieces of soft plastic
221 pieces of rope
There is a lot of work still to be done on Atauro Island, but we are excited to be a part of this positive movement and to work closely with the local community. We are taking a number of groups to Timor-Leste each July and August and our understanding, impact and access to resources will continue to grow with each trip.