Palms Australia’s Encounters are ethically run small group tours that provide participants with authentic, hard to come by experiences in Timor-Leste, Samoa, Kiribati and Myanmar. The tours have been carefully designed to give you an insight into the daily life of people of another culture, an understanding of sustainable approaches to development, and an insight into the life and work of our development volunteers.
We’re not shy about the countless benefits of joining an Encounter as an individual, but what about organising a custom trip for your friends, community group, workplace, church, school or university? It might sound daunting, but organising a custom Encounter trip for your group is easy, and the experience will last a lifetime. Need more convincing? Here are just five reasons to book an Encounter for your group.
1. Connect your home community with an overseas community
Palms Australia’s Encounter trips take participants off the beaten path and introduce them to remote communities where grassroots work is being done by locals to create sustainable solutions to poverty. The friendships you’ll create with locals in these communities will make the world feel a little bit smaller. Many Encounter groups find that maintaining a relationship with these communities after returning home helps them feel connected to something bigger.
2. You’ll learn about a new culture
Where better to learn about the world than immersed in a completely new culture? If you’re travelling with a group that works across cultures (e.g. a multicultural workplace) or has a focus on a certain culture (e.g. a school/university learning about a particular country), you’ll gain more insight into a new culture than any textbook or training course can give you. The pre and post-departure material you’ll receive from Palms Australia, along with the expertise of your experienced in-country guide, will improve your ability to communicate across cultures.
3. Trips can be tailored to your needs or interests
Want to visit more schools than co-ops? Have your heart set on a certain country? Need to make accommodations for travellers with medical conditions? No sweat. We can tailor our trips to best suit your group’s goals, interests or personal circumstances.
4. You’ll build life-long relationships
The experience you’ll share with your group will bring you even closer than you were before departing. At the end of each day, your guide will lead group discussions as an opportunity to reflect on your experiences. These group discussions will not only help you better understand others in your group, but also yourself.
5. It’s more ethical than a holiday
We get it, we all need a break away from our routine to refresh and recharge from time to time. But many of our Encounter participants find that experiencing the new sights, smells, sounds, tastes, textures and experiences of a new culture can be even more refreshing than laying on a sun chair in a resort.
Rather than landing in the pockets of for-profit tour companies, travel agencies, international chain hotels or large corporations, the cost of Encounters goes directly towards supporting local businesses and communities in the country you travel to.
As our Encounters are designed to benefit both participants and the communities you’ll encounter, you won’t be staying in luxury. And you may not always be comfortable. You will, however, gain a genuine insight into life in a new culture, make life-long friendships, and return home with a new perspective on global development and the roles that different people can play in making the world a better place for all.