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The Power of Reading

Today, I’m asking you to reach back in your boomer memory. Way back. Do you recall visiting the public library as a kid? I do. Every other week in the summer, my mother would drive me (and my two sisters) to Stewart-Lakewood Public Library in Atlanta, Georgia. I can still smell the musty, book odor that emanated from the shelves and feel the cold blast of central air-conditioning when we walked in the door. Entering that building on a hot summer’s day was pure delight for me.

The goal was to read ten books for that precious certificate that I would present to my teacher at the beginning of the school year. Was there a prize to be earned or extra credit? My boomer brain has gone fuzzy on that, but I do remember that I read books — lots of books. I’ve forgotten most of the titles, but surely they involved travel stories to exotic places that formed the foundation for my late-blooming career as a travel writer and those ever itchy travel feet.

But not everyone is lucky enough to have ready access to free reading material. According to Room to Read, 793 million people in our world cannot read or write, dooming them to a life of poverty. Over 90% of of the world’s illiterate population (source: Room to Read) live in developing countries where libraries are mostly non-existent.

Can you imagine what your life would be like if you couldn’t read? Literacy is the ticket to a better life. And we can help. This year, over 100 travel bloggers are participating in Passports With Purpose to raise $80,000 to construct two libraries for the children of Zambia, in partnership with Room to Read. (Do you remember last year when we raised $64,128 to build a village in India for the Datil people?)

How does it work? Passports with Purpose will host a drawing from Nov. 30 to Dec. 16, 2011. Members of the travel blogging community have solicited or provided prizes with a value of $100 or more. And wait till you see the assortment of prize offerings— there’s something for every travel interest.

Your job is to visit the Passports with Purpose site to browse the prizes. For each $10 in donations that you make to Room to Read, you will will be entered to win a prize (or prizes) of your choice. Once again, the fundraiser begins on November 30 and closes on December 16, 2011 and all proceeds go directly to Room to Read for the construction of two libraries in Zambia.

Is My Itchy Travel Feet sponsoring a prize? You betcha. Alan and I are thrilled to be working again with Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North. Due to their generosity, My Itchy Travel Feet is offering a two-night stay in one of the Four Season’s luxurious casita guest room accommodations, plus one dinner for two at Talavera, Troon North’s signature steakhouse. The prize is valued at $1,400.00. Alan and I can’t think of a better way to introduce you to the beauties of the Sonora Desert in Arizona. Next week, I’ll be telling you more about the luxurious Scottsdale resort.

Passports with Purpose wouldn’t be possible without support from sponsors that include: Round the World With Us, Travellerspoint and HomeAway or the hard work of four Seattle travel bloggers: Debbie Dubrow, Pam Mandel, Beth Whitman and Michelle Duffy.



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