How to inspire young people for 30 years

It turns out I might have been inspired to start this blog more than 20 years ago, and this story goes back even further than that.

This summer, I spent time on deserted beaches, lush hillsides, and walking in an unusual way up a beautiful glen in the Isle of Man.

And it’s not just me that thinks it’s special.

Biosphere Vannin

I was happy to learn that the Isle of Man is preparing to become a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.

No, this doesn’t mean it’ll have a huge dome placed over the top of it, and the government will preserve it as it is for the next 100 years.

It means that the Island has a balanced and diverse mix of ecosystem and population, and that it’s worth well managing that mix.

Biosphere reserves are places where nature can flourish and the local economy can grow. I’m looking forward to seeing this project develop, especially as it will almost certainly help outdoor adventure and education organisations like the Venture Centre.

For more details and videos, go to the brand new Isle of Man Biosphere Vannin website.

The Venture Centre

About the same time as I was becoming a 13-year-old social investor, I visited the Venture Centre with school friends. Continue reading

Lagoa Do Cassange – Social, sustainable, and a beautiful place to stay.

Lagoa do Cassange – one of the most sustainable and socially beneficial guesthouses in the state of Bahia.

I was connected with this place by Alison Mcgowan  of HiddenPousadasBrazil, and if anyone knows guesthouses around Brazil, it’s her.  She’s spent the last 4 years documenting and recommending the best around Brazil on her website. I think HiddenPousadasBrazil is likely to see quite a lot of growth as the World Cup and Olympics get closer.

When Alison recommended Lagoa do Cassange, I knew I had to visit.  As I arrived after my 9 hour door to door journey from Salvador,  I could tell it was something very special.  Pallm trees lined a deserted beach. My bungalow overlooked the sea.

Img_6748Img_6745

After a delicious breakfast on my first full day there, I had the chance to spend some more time with one of the owners of the guesthouse, Flavio Hauser.  He explained to me in more detail why Lagoa Do Cassange had recently been awarded first place for an internationally recognised socia-cultural award.

Img_6751Img_6753

As well as their sustainability policies, including solar power and recycling, Flavio, and fellow co-owners Marcelo & Isney started a number of unique projects in the area.

I’ve written about these in detail for ResponsibleTravel.com, why they are so important, and the massive positive effect it is having on the local population. Here’s the link to my full article on ResponsibleTravel.com.

Img_6976

In short, they ran a free adult education course for 5 years, and built a kindergarden school that now has 30 students.  They have run computer classes for over 100 local residents, and teach environmental awareness through beach clean up days, and a fascinating honey project.

Of course, you’d never necessarily know that these projects are going on.  It’s just a beautiful place to stay, and by choosing Lagoa do Cassange, you’re also helping to reinvest back into the local community.

Img_6749

The Social Butterfly of the most Beautiful Beach

My adventure to the remote Marau Peninsula started from Salvador, in the North East of Brazil.  Up at 7am, I’d be there by 3pm.

The ferry left Salvador at 8.30am.  I’d just missed one when I turned up, but it’s kind of great that I did.  On my same ferry, were a couple of British expats.  Lewis, Chloe, and her daughter Anna.  It turned out we were going the same way.  When I got on the coach after the ferry, and found myself sitting next to Lewis.  Lewis spends most of his time in Ibiza, running a private concierge service, and is thinking about spending more time in the beach paradise that we are both headed towards.

Chole, who used to be nurse in Peckham, London, decided to switch her life for another destiny. She’s spent the last 5 years building a beautiful lodge called Butterfly House, just next door to the one I was planning to visit.

It turned out that it was Chloe’s Birthday, so of course there was a party at Butterfly House, to which I was kindly invited. What would you expect from the social butterfly of Butterfly House? Thanks Chloe!

After getting lost on a deserted beach, which is pretty hard to do, I arrived in time for Lewis’s signature cocktail, his Caiprioska.  As you probably know, it’s just like Caipirinha, but with vodka instead of Cachaca.  A couple of hours later and we were doing shots of tequila, and I was invited to stay the night in a gorgeous double room, complete with coconut light switches that I think look a bit like boobs with large nipples.

After the gourmet-amuse bouche, from super friendly head chef Ilious, there was a delicious home made chocolate cake, which we finished off for dessert at breakfast.  Luckily Ilious had lived in Portobello Road, London, and knew exactly how to make scrambled eggs and bacon for a wondering Englishman (well.. Manxman).

I had a wonderful time in the Butterfly House, and recommend it to anyone looking for a slice of bohemian luxury on the Marau Peninsula.