Out of Africa
“With vowely virtuosity, Meryl Streep tackles Karen Blixen—a.k.a. Danish writer Isak Dinesen—struggling to run a coffee plantation in early-twentieth-century Kenya. Robert Redford plays the big-game hunter torn between his love for her and his need, like his quarry, to run free. In retrospect, you can sense Hollywood on the prowl for Oscars, but scenes of majestic animals roaming the velvety green Ngong Hills inspired countless safaris.” – Sarah Kerr, Conde Nast
This movie certainly made me want to run off to Africa and go on safari. There is nothing that compares to seeing wild game in their natural habitat. The biggest spectacle of all must be the Wildebeest migration.
Why not combine one of these safaris with the opportunity to help young Maasai women who are being ostracized by their tribe, because they are choosing not to have a barbaric procedure that may well leave them with life long pain. To find out more contact us or take a look at our website http://www.handsupholidays.com
The Wild Bunch
“One of the landmark westerns—about Texas outlaws escaping to the harsh, gold-hued beauty of northern Mexico on the eve of the country’s topsy-turvy revolution—The Wild Bunch is best known for upping the ante on screen violence. But director Sam Peckinpah has a feel for Mexico’s rituals and earthy generosity. The finale alone, filmed at the Romanesque ruins of the eighteenth-century aqueduct and winery Hacienda Ciénaga del Carmen, is worth the price of admission.” – Sarah Kerr, Conde Nast
Y tu mama también
“A rich kid, his best friend, and his hot older cousin with a secret all head south from Mexico City to a stretch of sand overlooked by tourists (a lucky find since the area, in Huatulco, Oaxaca, is hardly unknown to development). In the tradition of The Graduate—but with travel instead of Mrs. Robinson as the trigger—this comedy looks at the sexual fumblings of an emotionally adrift, morally uncertain new generation. More recently, director Alfonso Cuarón has taken his characters—and his viewers—even farther from their comfort zones: He just released the acclaimed Gravity. – Sarah Kerr, Conde Nast
Some parts of Mexico have had a bit of bad press in recent years, but fortunately the trouble spots are quite isolated and many of the most beautiful and fascinating parts are still very sat for travelers.
Soak up the winter sun and at the same time make difference, to those less fortunate than yourself, at an innovative complex of homes and centers, each of which cares for a vulnerable and underserved group of people. Though each center is operated by an autonomous specialist organization there are many synergies and so the city is able to help more than 20,00 people each year, including children, elderly, women, the sick, and families in extreme poverty.
“Black sand; a sky so moody you want to give it medication; and everywhere vines, climbing up from the forest floor and draping down from the dense jungle canopy. The potboiler feminism of Jane Campion’s breakthrough film was overcooked, but the Kiwi scenery around Auckland’s Karekare Beach was a revelation.” – Sarah Kerr, Conde Nast
Personally I would have thought the real movie drawcard would have been The Lord of the Rings trilogy. It went a long way to highlight the wealth of natural beauty. New Zealand is an outdoor enthusiast’s delight and a country once so safe that the birds forgot how to fly. It is these flightless birds, including penguins, can do with your help on your visit here.
For the the traveller, top of the list are sights such as White Island, an active marine volcano, 30 miles off the east coast of the North Island, and the fjords in the world heritage area of Milford Sound. The sight of 6,000ft high peaks jutting out of the waters of the Tasman Sea is phenomenal and if you are lucky you may even spot dolphins and seals playing around your boat. Go for a swim in the tranquil Bay of Islands in the north, then hike in the stunning Glacier Country in the south.
Unfortunately, despite the lush wilderness and small population, human activity has still had a significant impact on the natural habitat of native penguin populations. Two Blue Penguin Colony’s of around 700 penguins, could do with your help with maintaining their habitat. Though you aren’t working with the penguins directly you can enter the colonies, and work on vegetation and habitat restoration programs. The work is often quite intense, but knowing that these cute little critters will have a higher chance of survival makes it all worthwhile.
“In 1954, Ernesto “Che” Guevara, then a medical student, set out to ride a motorbike from his family’s Buenos Aires apartment to a leprosy clinic on the Peruvian Amazon by way of Chile’s Atacama Desert; Cuzco, Peru; and the Incan citadel of Machu Picchu. One can quibble with the romanticized young man in director Walter Salles’s dramatic re-creation, but each new landscape and climate—from verdant valley to dusty city, from high-up, bone-chilling cold to jungle steam—has its own forceful majesty.” – Sarah Kerr, Conde Nast
A single trip may not be enough to discover all this ancient country has to offer. Highlights include the Andes, home to the iconic Machu Picchu and other Inca ruins, and the jungle of the Amazon basin.
Anyone who has wandered among the ruins of Machu Picchu, the “Lost City of the Incas” will tell you that it is not only a breathtaking sight, it is also a testament to human endurance and perseverance.
These are also qualities that you can observe for yourself if you chose to immerse yourself in village life and help improve the situation of impoverished children in the Andes by giving back and restoring their school. Make it a more conducive place to learn and help the children practice their English: a vital skill in a region with a booming tourism industry.
During your time in the Andes learn more about these people and take part in the local custom of “ayni”, cooperation between community members. If one family requires assistance building a house, they request help from other community members and reciprocate later with the same number of hours/days granted to them. Though it is unlikely that you will ever need to make good on your time spent volunteering, you will take back wonderful memories of the assistance you rendered these impoverished communities.
Your improved understanding of local culture and traditions will only serve to heighten your enjoyment and appreciation of the fascinating historical sights you will explore. If this sounds like an interesting idea, contact us at Hands Up Holidays.