6 ways to have an Inspiring Adventure

In February 2014, I’m going to Myanmar and Thailand. I want to tell you how I plan this trip, so that you can take your own Inspiring Adventures too.

Firstly, what is an Inspiring Adventure?

An Inspiring Adventure is anything you want it to be. Inspiring Adventures explore the world. Exotic new countries and the cities you live in. They are fun, unusual, exciting, and maybe a little outside your comfort zone. They might teach you a new skill, or introduce you to an amazing person, or a whole new way of life.  They benefit the people you encounter, and probably enrich your life too.

So now you know what it is , how are you going to have one?

1. Have a purpose

Ask yourself why you are going. Perhaps an opportunity has come up right now, and you just have to take it and make the most of it. Perhaps you’ve been planning all the details for years.  Either way, ask yourself what the purpose of this adventure is going to be.

For me, it’s to have an adventure with a healthy dose of social benefit. The adventure part just happens. You don’t have to plan that. In fact my definition of adventure includes “an uncertain outcome…”  What’s the point of going if you know everything that’ll happen to you?

The social benefit part is more challenging. I love to showcase the best examples of social enterprise and responsible tourism that I can find. That means step 2.

2. Do your research

Who’s doing what you want to do?  Who’s already done it?  And who can you ask? Google. Start typing in relevant search terms that align with your mission and see who pops up top. Read about them and organisations. Send them an email about yourself, your adventure and your purpose. Make it personal.

They might not all write back, but some of them will, and their connections will help you. For me, the British Council in Myanmar was especially responsive, and has connected me with a responsible travel specialist.  And of course, don’t forget to ask your friends.

3. Tell everyone you know Continue reading

My Top 3 Restaurants in East London

Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen, Old Street

The chefs at Jamie Oliver's Fifteen restaurant

The chefs at Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen restaurant

I promise not all my recommendations will be social enterprises, but I had to include at least one, and Fifteen is the most famous example in London. Operating since 2002, this restaurant takes 15 disadvantaged young people per year through a 12 month apprenticeship, in the skills of becoming a chef.

The food is modern British, and scrumptious. For our large group, we were served sharing plates for mains. Passing these meaty plates around added to the feeling of being with your extended family during the holidays. Dessert was fantastic, with the chocolate mousse sticking in mind as especially delicious.

Being associated with a high-profile figure like Jamie Oliver of course helps to promote the restaurant, and also promote the whole idea that a restaurant can be used for good. All profits from the restaurant are donated to the Jamie Oliver Food Foundation Charity, and over 350 students have now graduated from the three Fifteen restaurants in London, Cornwall and Amsterdam.

Cay Tre, Shoreditch Continue reading

What is Social Enterprise?

I was recently invited to be part of the Beyond Sports Summit, in Philadelphia to help the audience answer one question – What is Social Enterprise? I want to give you an answer to that question too.  It’s a question that keeps coming up, and I don’t think it’s going away any time soon.

A little background

I’ve worked with several different social enterprise support services in London over the past couple of years, and had the privilege to know and work with a number of social entrepreneurs over that time.  When the organising team contacted me to answer the “what is social enterprise” question, I knew it wasn’t going to be easy.

You see, even for us in the social enterprise industry, we don’t all have one strict definition that everyone around the world agrees on.  We do all have a sense of what it means, and I’ll give you my answer:

Social Enterprises use financially sustainable business models to solve social problems.  

Wikipedia says Social Enterprises apply “commercial strategies to maximize improvements in human and environmental well-being, rather than maximising profits for external shareholders.”

I like my answer better.   Continue reading

Touring London for Social Enterprise – My Hub Crawl Route

I’m a big supporter of Social Enterprise.  I’ve worked with several of the leading social enterprise support services in London.  I love to introduce people to the fascinating world of business for benefit.

That’s why I created the Hub Crawl – A four-hour guided tour of three of the best social enterprise coworking spaces in London – Hub Islington, Hub Kings Cross and Hub Westminster.  I only run it on special occasions, but I want to describe it here to encourage you to learn more about social enterprise and these amazing hotbeds of social innovation.

You may still be wondering, what is a social enterprise anyway?  Here’s my short answer – it’s an organisation that has both social and financial goals.  What makes it different from a regular business? The social goals are at least equally as important as the financial ones.

What does social enterprise look like in action?  It could be anything from a small group of committed citizens, like the team at Hub Westminster, to a large international organisation like the Big Issue.

And that’s what’s great about the Hub Crawl, you get the chance to see and meet people from both of these organisations, and everything in between.

The Hub Crawl Route Continue reading

Copacabana or Ramsey – The Final Beach Walking Video?

Farewell for now Brazil. It was a wonderful journey.  I hope you enjoyed following the adventures, and the inspiring stories from the social entrepreneurs.  Have you been inspired to take your own Inspiring Adventure?  I hope so!

Together with you, I visited all five regions of the fifth largest country in the world in just over five weeks.  I feel very lucky to have been able to meet and share the stories of more than 15 social entrepreneurs with you.

Inspiring Adventures is now has more 2600 followers. My fun YouTube videos have been viewed more than 50,000 times, and my articles are starting to be published on major online content providers. Thank you for your interest and support!

I feel very grateful that my stories will continue to spread, and I am happy to be part of a positive journalistic movement.  I strongly believe that we can all find amazing people doing inspiring work where ever we look.  From exotic locations on the other side of the world, to right in our own local neighbourhood.

As you can tell from the video, I’m now back in the UK. I will continue to share fun adventures, along with stories to inspire you to start your own adventures.

The journey is the reward

Join The Hub Crawl – A Co-working Co-walking Adventure!

  • Want a fun adventures around three of London’s coolest social innovation coworking spaces?
  • Want to have a drink and a walk with socially minded people who are working on interesting projects?  

Then the Hub Crawl is for you! 

It is a 4 hour guided group journey around all three Hubs in London, on a Friday evening. It’s been running for more than a year, and we’ve taken more than 100 people on Hub Crawls.

Eventbrite - Hub Crawl! The Social Innovation Adventure

Why attend?

  • Enjoy a fun night of adventure around London! It just so happens to coincides with the weekly Friday night members drinks at each Hub…
  • Learn about social enterprise and coworking. If you didn’t already know, coworking growing rapidly, and the Hub is a global network of these spaces and a community of social entrepreneurs.
  • Connect with interesting, like minded people. The best feedback is that people have a fun night with great people.

What is the Hub?

The Hub is a global network of  more than 35 coworking spaces and a community of social entrepreneurs.

The Hub Crawl London takes you from the very first Hub in Islington, through to the beautifully designed Kings Cross (with its own bar), to one of the very latest Hubs in the global network in Westminster.

Eventbrite - Hub Crawl! The Social Innovation Adventure


Inspiring Adventures also arranges bespoke tours to meet your needs. If you’d like to request something special, simply fill in the form below.

Fighting for Peace in Rio

On a stormy afternoon in Rio, one of my last days in the country, I was lucky to be invited to an NGO called Fight For Peace. I learnt more about the social enterprise clothing brand that has sprung up from inside it.

In one of favelas that has not yet been pacified by government and military operations, I met founder and CEO, Luke Dowdney.

The following is a preview of article that I was asked to write about my social enterprise experience in Brazil for the Guardian.  Continue reading

Coworking in Brazil – Accelerators, Incubators, Hubs, and yes, they have pools

What does coworking look like in Brazil?  Is it trendy, colourful, work spaces?  Do they have pools?  Yes. Yes they do.  I work in a coworking space in London, and I’ve looked around a good few of the other coworking spaces we have here, and as far as I can tell, no pools.  This is why Brazil is a growing economy.  I have found the secret.

It’s not because more than 22 million people have been raised out of extreme poverty in the last 2 years (as the government claims), and it’s not because the World Cup and the Olympics are coming.  It’s because their colour coworking spaces have pools.

Continue reading

Education is the key to Conservation – Parque Das Aves

Part of the success of Parque Das Aves is down to the amazing the staff they employ.  The Environmental Education Coordinator for the park, Juliana Ebling, is also the President of the Brazilian Environmental Educators Association, and affiliated with the Government policy makers.

Along with Park Director, Carmel Croukamp, I found out more about how education is key to conservation and sustainability.  Continue reading

Organic Farming Acai – Bio EcoBrazil

What do you get if you mix Nasa technology with organic farming? High quality acai, freeze dried and ready to ship around the world.

Bio EcoBrazil has been supplying certified organic and bio-dynamically farmed acai for years. However, they have recently started using the same technology that NASA invented to supply astronauts with food, to freeze dry their acai.

Acai is a berry that the Brazilians love.  You can find it almost everywhere in the country. As a drink, a kind of yogurt, smoothy, mixed with bananas, all sorts of ways! It has smooth energy properties, so it doesn’t give you the instant kick of a coffee, but a slower release of energy over time.  Brazilians will often have it for a dessert after lunch, or sometimes, as a complete meal all on it’s own.

The international market to this tasty berry is opening it up, but the berry pulp doesn’t have a long shelf-life.  It needs to be refrigerated. But with a freeze-dried berry, that problem doesn’t exist. Not only does it travel well, it’s farmed organically, certified to Brazilian “IBD” bio dynamic standards, and it’s soon to be fair trade too.  Really it already is, it just takes a while to get the documentation in place.

“The international market understands organic and fair trade, and they are willing to pay for it.  Until we started freeze drying acai, we couldn’t get it to them.  Now we can.”  CEO and Founder, Leonilda Fagundes

Leonilda and Max

CEO Leonilda Fagundes, founder of Bio EcoBrazil, and her business partner, Max Dufranck

When I spoke to them, I could see the entrepreneurial spirit in their eyes.  Driven and passionate, they are ready for international success.

Leonilda got started in organic farming more than 10 years ago, and with German investors.  Now running her own company, once again she is open to investment.

If you are interested to find out more, check the Bio EcoBrazil Website here.  And if you are tempted in being a distributor, I think they’d also like to hear from you too!