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Team Dispatch

Our Founder says Farewell to the World Trek and Hello to the U.S. Trek
August 2, 2000

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A note from The Odyssey's Founder, Jeff Golden

I have to confess that before the World Trek I couldn't have told you how many kinds of potatoes they grow in Peru. I'm from Idaho and I don't have to wait too long between people cracking jokes about potatoes, so they hold a special place in my heart. But I didn't know they've got over 140 kinds in Peru.

I also didn't know they listen to reggae music in the boats that go to Timbuktu. Or that a well-decorated room in Iran may have no furniture, or that you can dance with 15-foot-tall dolls in Nicaragua.

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Our founder Jeff and his fearless trekkers share a final goodbye hug
And even though I read the newspaper almost every day, I didn't know that nearly 1,000,000 people will lose their homes because of dams being built in India, or that American companies have been smuggling banned seeds into other countries to test them, or that as many as 250,000 children serve as soldiers in conflicts around the world.

I will always be grateful to the World Trekkers for having brought so much of the world to life for all of us who got to join them on the web.

Speaking of the World Trekkers, I also didn't know what an amazing group of people they are. I mean I certainly suspected they were great people. We had over 2000 people apply for these positions, and a group of people willing to give up everything they know and love to work for free has got to have a pretty big heart. But the passion and commitment they have brought to their work have been simply staggering.

When the World Trekkers set out on their journey tens of thousands of miles back they were determined to share the beauty and the pain of the world with youth in ways that will inspire them to learn more and help make a positive difference in the world. They succeeded beyond their dreams, reaching over 50,000 students, thanks only to the immense sacrifices they have made along the way.

They managed to get dispatches in twice a week for over a year and a half from some of the most difficult places in the world. They have all spent as much time sick as they have healthy, and they have not been minor illnesses. They have spent more time in buses and internet cafes than they have seeing the sites of the world. The money they could have earned with their tremendous skills and energy, which they donated to The Odyssey, is no minor account either. Despite all the amazing people they met and sites they saw it has not been easy for them to be so far from family and friends for so long.

For all of this and so much more I would like to extend my personal gratitude to each of the World Trekkers:

Jamila Banks
Jasmine Hamlett
Yang-Yang Chen
Andrew Coté
Monica Flores
Abeja Hummel
Kevin Maes
Silvia Montero
Kavitha Rao
Shawn Sullivan
Brian Wingate

Allow me to add my thanks to everyone stateside who has given so much over the last five years to make the World Trek a reality. I wish these colleagues and friends, both the World Trekkers and the stateside crew, as well as everyone who has followed along with the Trek, all the best. There's an amazing magic to everything we have accomplished so far, and I look forward to all that you each will go on to do in the future to make even greater changes in this world.



Abeja - Great Wall, Great Trekkers! Now what?!
Jasmine - Homecoming
Kavitha - The End! World Trek is Done!
Kevin - Bienvenue à Paris! Welcome to Paris!
Monica - We're Comin' to America! What Next??
Yang-Yang - Yang-Yang says One Last Goodbye

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