The team at Journeys International is excited to join the league of members of 1% for the Planet, all of whom have committed to donating at least 1% of revenue to planet-sustaining not-for-profit organizations. For Journeys, this step is consistent with our decades-long commitment to sustaining natural environments and traditional cultures in partnership with local communities in the places we visit.

Our Conservation Story

young woman and manThe founders of Journeys International, Will and Joan Weber (then Joan Schwartz), first met on a campus organizing committee for the first Earth Day in 1970. In many ways, this momentous global event – the start of Earth Day and the birth of the environmental movement – planted the seed for Journeys International’s eventual creation, although Will and Joan had no idea at the time that they would spend their lives as partners in life, business, and conservation.

After graduating from college, Will and Joan moved to Nepal for work in the Peace Corps and schools. In their final year in Kathmandu, Will helped the team working to establish a National Parks system in Nepal. Upon returning to the United States, they encouraged friends to visit the Himalayas. However, they realized how difficult it was for American travelers to visit Nepal in ways ways that included cultural connection and contributions to conservation and they began planning trips themselves.

When Will and Joan planned their first trips in 1978 and 1979, one of the goals was to support local people and the conservation of their culture through income from tourism. A second goal was to leverage tourism to support conservation. Journeys International has been committed to sustainable travel since the very beginning. Honoring Earth has been one of our company values since the start.

Roots in Ecotourism

Our founders understood the profound impact of culturally-respectful and environmentally-sensitive travel. Rather than merely extracting resources from the places we were visiting, we believed, and continue to believe, in leaving a positive mark. This philosophy laid the groundwork for the concept of ecotourism.

Weber family stands in front of Eco-Tour bus

Over the years, the team at Journeys International has worked to identify specific ways to connect across cultures, nurture natural environments, and care for the world around us. We have prioritized partnerships with ground operators owned locally in the destinations where we travel. We craft itineraries intentionally to include as much cultural interaction as possible, and to minimize the negative environmental impact. As collective knowledge improves about how to manage and travel sustainably, we aim to learn and improve.

Alongside Journeys International, Will and Joan started a non-profit grant-making organization called the Earth Preservation Fund (EPF).  The EPF channels contributions from Journeys travelers to projects in our destinations where relatively small amounts of money can go a long way to support conservation and development. This is a prime example of the benefits that travel can deliver to local communities – ecotourism in action.

A Journey Through Time

As we reflect on our journey from the early Nepal trips to our current extensive trip offerings, one thing remains constant—the unwavering commitment to our founding principles. Today, Journeys International stands as a testament to over 45 years of ecotourism evolution in action.

Under the leadership of second-generation owner Robin Weber Pollak, we have expanded our destinations and honed our skills, yet our core values persist. Our growth has been deliberate, with new destinations added only after establishing personal relationships and gaining a deep understanding of the local cultures and environments.

Our team continues to consider how to care for the planet and its people as responsibly as possible. In the past decade, we have eliminated printed marketing and internal printed documents. We have shifted to remote operations and eliminated the carbon footprint of commuting. We offset the full carbon footprint of all travel. We are now embarking on the process to become a B Corporation, but in the meantime….

Another Step: Joining 1% for the Planet

1% for the Planet logo

The natural next step for Journeys International is formalizing our commitment to environmental and cultural sustainability and regeneration. 1% for the Planet is a global network of businesses and nonprofits committed to addressing the planet’s challenges. The principle is simple but powerful: participating businesses pledge to donate 1% of their annual sales to conservation causes through the network. This collective effort aims to drive positive change and support organizations actively working towards the conservation and restoration of our planet. By aligning ourselves with 1% for the Planet, Journeys International solidifies its commitment to responsible travel and environmental stewardship, formalizing the commitment that a portion of our proceeds will directly contribute to the well-being of the places we explore and cherish.

This commitment reinforces our dedication to sustainability and environmental conservation. For 2024, 1% of our annual sales will be donated to environmental causes through this global network of businesses and nonprofits. Excitingly, the EPF is now an environmental partner in the network, and we will continue to support and nurture the work of that longstanding partner. We also plan to support our commitment with team volunteer work for environmental partners within the 1% for the Planet network. The International team has pledged to complete a total of 100 volunteer hours in honor of Earth Day and our new partnership.

As you embark on your next adventure with Journeys International, know that you are not only exploring hidden worlds but also contributing to the preservation of our planet. Your goals for exploration align with our commitment to environmental stewardship, and together, we can create a positive impact on the places we visit. Thank you for being a part of the Journeys International family and our vision. Here’s to more adventures, discoveries, and a sustainable future for all.