Friendship seeking sustainability in travel, work, and everyday life. 

We're Rachel and Katie.

So, how did we get here? We met in college, becoming fast friends over long conversations about travel, anthropology and social justice. While currently residing in separate cities (Chicago and Denver, respectively), we take every opportunity we can to travel together. Here's a little more about us. 

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Rachel

As a free-spirited yet oxymoronically type A personality—Rachel sees empathy integrated with exploration as her motivation and key to solving life’s greatest challenges. A graduate from the University of Notre Dame, Rachel studied visual communication design and anthropology, and through her travels to Europe, Central America, and Nepal, acquired a passion for cultural understanding and international development. She is interested in the way creativity and human-centered design can be used as universal tools to empower people to grow, flourish and rise above physical, emotional, or situational turmoil. 

Rachel has a multitude of experience in the international artisan sector, researching and consulting on a wide range of projects focused on understanding the artisan space, the cultural traditions that it celebrates, and the people within it. She has worked with people and groups all over the world, communicating with artisans directly and finding ways their traditional designs can be reinterpreted and shared in a global marketplace. Through this lens, Rachel sees the way an authentic supply chain can have a positive impact on the lives of both individuals and communities. Currently, Rachel works as a designer for a human-centered innovation firm in Chicago, where she gets to tackle complex user problems through immersing herself in reflective environments and research, and taking an empathetic vantage point.

Rachel sees this blog as an opportunity to better understand her role as a consumer and improve her abilities as a global connector. Her relentless optimism sees the adversity of the world as a call to action, and hopes to reflect on and evaluate the way her purchases and actions affect others and the environment. Through this journey, she hopes to encourage others to take action to improve their habits, find their passions, and use their own personal skills to make the world a better place. 

In her spare time, Rachel enjoys listening to cognitive science podcasts, reading non-fiction, collecting textiles from around the world, and practicing her vinyasa. She hopes to one day become a children's yoga instructor, write and design her own cookbook, run a marathon abroad, and (re)learn to play the violin.    

 
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Katie

Travel addict, oversized sweater aficionado, cheese-obsessed vegetarian, shameless Notre Dame fan, historical fiction nerd, adventure seeker, recycling enthusiast, quasi-bohemian avoiding major life decisions. 

Maybe as a result of being an oldest child, Katie has always felt an overwhelming sense of responsibility. Growing up, that feeling manifested itself in striving to succeed academically, excel in sports and activities, and generally set the proverbial Good Example for her younger siblings. She graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a degree in anthropology and Latin American studies and wrote a senior honors thesis comparing two international development projects from two different hemispheres and decades. Her college years were spent studying global issues, traveling, and experiencing firsthand the way that people all around the world live. Since her first "real" trip abroad to Peru at age 20, that feeling of responsibility has shifted to thinking about the way that her actions impact others. 

Katie contends that whether or not we want to acknowledge it, every choice we make has consequences for those around us. Our world, for better or for worse, is the smallest that it has ever been, allowing for the rapid transmission of goods, people, and ideas. The products we buy, travel experiences we choose, and ways we “dispose” of things we no longer want are not isolated events. And it is easier now than ever before to understand the global impact of these choices. Once we acknowledge that our actions have reverberating consequences for people around the world, we can work to minimize the negative and maximize the positive. Her real passion is finding the intersection of social enterprise that empowers women and girls with responsible travel. Only by forging and fostering cross-cultural understanding and connections can we ever hope to create a world that we are all happy to call home.  

Katie's personal mission in this blog is to share her experiences in trying to live a more socially conscious life and hopefully inspire you to do the same. She sees this as a way she can write about her first love (travel) while tying in other passions, such as understanding what it means to be responsible consumers and global citizens. 

When Katie isn't drooling over travel blogs and fighting that restless feeling in her gut, you can find her searching for that perfect cup of coffee (fair trade, please!), avoiding responsibilities by working out at the gym, or exercising her taste buds with her crazy-amazing friends.