World Wide Initiatives
A Wonder of the World: Barbara Adams is a wonder in her dedication to giving back
How do you decide where to travel next? Since becoming a world traveler in 2007, Barbara Adams of Granada Hills, California, has pegged her course to the wonders of the world. “Each time I go somewhere, I try to hit a wonder,” she says. This focus has taken her to far-flung destinations from China, Thailand, and India to Egypt, Alaska, South America, and beyond.
Although she has been a travel enthusiast since obtaining her driver’s license and immediately whizzing away to a hostel on the beach for a weekend, Barbara didn’t become a serious world traveler until her two children were launched from the nest. There has been no looking back since. She now counts 22 O.A.T. and Grand Circle trips among her travels—with the 23rd pending shortly.
In 2010, her quest to visit the wonders of the world took her to Panama—with Costa Rica as a side venture. On the itinerary was a visit to the San Francisco School in the Costa Rican village of San Francisco de Penas Blancas. A Grand Circle Foundation partner since 2003, the school has expanded beyond a traditional educational model to include a microfarm—a community garden designed to teach the children and the villagers essential farming skills while also providing nutritional meals for the children and a source of income for the village as a whole.
“When we went to the microfarm, I was so impressed with what they were doing for the community, as well as for the kids,” Barbara recalls. “What impressed me is that the project combined the farming with organic, healthy food—something that people weren’t doing everywhere in 2010. They were able to produce and market what they love to do and make their livelihood, so I felt that was a worthwhile cause.”
Barbara donated $25 a month to the school and the microfarm, deducted automatically from her bank account, for nearly a decade until she learned that the project was well supported, and her generosity might be better directed elsewhere.
In the meantime, Barbara had taken an O.A.T. adventure to Tanzania, where her small group visited the Rhotia Primary School, a Grand Circle Foundation partner since 2012. The Foundation had sent supplies to the school, and Barbara’s small group helped to deliver them. “We really felt involved,” she says. “I felt like we were a piece of it.” She now sends money to the school every month.
While Barbara sees projects deserving of support throughout her travels, she prefers to focus on one site at a time. “I want to support projects I have seen or been involved with in some way,” she explains. “If you put enough money into one project, then the project gets completed and you can go on to the next.”
The fact that 100% of her donations go to the project, with no administrative fees, also factors into her decision to give. “That’s a big thing for me,” she says. “The thing I love most about O.A.T. and Grand Circle is that they give back. I’m a person who appreciates that across the board.”