Our Wanderful statement on Ukraine and how you can get involved.
A Message to Our Wanderful Community:
There was a time I lost my daughter on her first day of school.
There I was, arriving at her bus stop 15 minutes early, only to watch her bus whiz by without stopping.
If you’re a parent (and even if you’re not), you might have a sense of how I reacted. The next 45 minutes took ten years off my life. I called multiple emergency numbers. I bawled, pacing back and forth on the street. I couldn’t decide whether it was better to go home (in case she found her way back), hop in the car and drive to her school, or stay exactly where I was.
It was only after she was located and returned to me (a little shaken, but ultimately fine), that my body could rest.
There’s a quote out there that says that when you become a mother it feels like a literal piece of your heart is walking outside of your body, completely exposed, and what’s terrifying is that no matter what you do you can’t protect it like you could when it was still inside you.
It’s with this knowledge that I woke up to yesterday’s news thinking of the mothers in Ukraine who are terrified. The mothers who are desperately seeking out safety for their children. The parents who would give anything, go through anything, to be sure that their children can be safe, happy, and unscathed.
My heart is breaking thinking of all the women in Ukraine who are fighting in this moment with everything they have for their children. My deepest thoughts go out to them today, though I sit with the crushing knowledge that thoughts are nowhere near enough.
If you follow Wanderful, you know that our work isn’t just about the fun of travel, but the responsibility it places on our shoulders, too. Our community is made up of thousands of invested, global citizens. We lean into the world rather than escape from it, and during hard times like this, we speak up.
I have stated before that travel is a political act. No matter where we travel, we are engaging with a place’s history, culture, political movements, and more. Whether we’re traveling right now or we’re at home looking for ways to support, the choices we make directly affect the world around us. In a world of ultra fast connection and wireless limitations, our connectivity is both a burden and a superpower.
So here’s how to take action, starting today:
For those looking to make a financial contribution, this list of places to donate was assembled by a group of Ukrainians and has been shared by journalists worldwide. I’d like to call out the Voices of Children organization that allows you to donate therapy, psychologists, and other help for children affected by trauma in eastern Ukraine.
Follow and amplify bold voices from Ukrainian women from around the world
Below is a list of bold Ukrainian women speaking up and out. Add them to your follow list.
- Olga Tokariuk – Freelance journalist
- Jessica Zychowicz – Head of Fulbright Ukraine-IIE: Institute of International Education
- Daria Shapovalova – Fashion entrepreneur and content creator
- Anna Senik – Ethno-photographer
- Myroslava Petsa – BBC Ukraine journalist
- Nika Melkozerova – Executive editor of New Voice Ukraine
- Olga Rudenko – Chief editor of Kyiv Independent
The UN Sustainable Development Group shared profiles of four women from eastern Ukraine changing their communities. Read on.
Amplify the organizations that are using tourism for good
Tourism is a powerful force, and it can fundamentally change people’s lives. For those of you who are a part of the travel industry and are reading this wondering how you can help, here’s a great example from Moldova’s tourism board, which is opening its doors to Ukrainian neighbors and identifying safe places to stay around the country.
Other interesting reads
If you’d like to educate yourself about Ukraine (and in this case, the experiences of women in Ukraine), we highly recommend these interesting reads:
- My Place is Where I Want to Be (special project from the UN Development Programme, 2021)
- Ukrainian Women Make Strides toward Political Engagement, but Barriers Remain (Wilson Center, 2021)
- Ukrainian ‘Railroad Ladies’ (New York Times, 2020)
As we watch this devastating event unfold, we are grappling with how we, as a travel community and business, can best support and make a meaningful difference. We will continue to educate and inform ourselves and ask how we can help.
Founder and CEO