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National Geographic Introduces 'Travelers Of The Year'
Nat Geo is hoping to bring that same level of distinction to the travel world by announcing its first ever recipients of the Travelers of the Year award. According to the National Geographic website, this honor is given to "individuals who explore the world with passion and purpose," which seems a bit arbitrary at first glance. After all, who amongst us doesn't fit that description, right? But once you read the bios on the inaugural winners you start to see why these particular people were chosen from a list of hundreds of nominees sent in by readers.
For example, Paula Busey and Samwel Melami were given the award because of their unique cooperative relationship, which has been fostered over the past few years. Paula, who is a high-school librarian, met Samwel while on safari in his home country of Tanzania. While on that trip, Samwel served as the guide, impressing Paula with his knowledge of wildlife conservation, ecotourism and tribal history. When she returned home, Busey thought that the students in her school could benefit from meeting Melami and learning a few things from the young guide. So, she raised enough money to bring him to the States, where he spent a week teaching more than 1500 students about African traditions and culture. In return, the students raised funds to help Samwel build a modern kitchen in a school back home. The venture was so successful, that it has continued over the past three years.
These are just a sampling of some of the interesting travelers who have taken home this honor for the first time. Considering most of the men and women on the list are not unlike many of us, perhaps a Gadling reader or two will make the list in the future as well.
[Photo Credit: Dana Romanoff]