Wednesday, March 12, 2014


Spring is near, which means it's almost cherry blossom time in Washington, DC. Looking for a fun way to experience the festival and do some good in the process? Volunteer!

Event organizers are always looking for people to lend a hand, particularly during the annual parade and kite festival. Learn details HERE!

Not in DC? It's festival season in many places -- most are happy to have eager volunteers. Check out their websites. Befriend Google. Have fun. Give back. 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014


March is Red Cross Month, which means it's a great opportunity to donate blood. 

Need three reasons to give?

How about the three lives one pint of blood could save? This week, visit the Red Cross website to find a blood drive near you and help save a life.

EXTRA CREDIT: Organize a blood drive in your office/church/school

ALTERNATIVE: Don't like needles or can't give? Check out other ways to support the Red Cross. And if you’re on the fence, help theRed Cross locate hesitant donors by playing this goofy video game.

Sunday, February 23, 2014


We met Cinde Jeheber, aka, the Ocelot Whisperer, in Costa Rica last year. Cinde volunteered with us at at the Monkey Park Foundation, where we prepped food for various animals, such as monkeys, marmosets, and one sultry female ocelot

Last week, we heard from Cinde in Nicaragua, where she traveled to build houses for the homeless. Between hammering nails and digging holes, she found a scared little puppy so shaggy it looked more like a little lamb than a dog.

She asked Carmen, one of the women her team was building a house for, if she could use her water to wash the puppy. They scrubbed it clean and dried it, and from then on, the little dog kept going into Carmen's new house and laying down, as if he lived there.

After a while, Cinde decided to ask the new home owner if she would like a puppy. Immediately, Carmen started crying, saying “I've been loving outside for 15 years all alone, now I have a house and a dog!"

And that's how Cinde's Random Act of Kindness to a lamb-looking puppy helped a lady get her first dog. 

Thanks for continuing to give back, Cinde! You inspire us!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014


Like our neighbor Bill, you celebrated Random Acts of Kindness Week, right? So what did you do or what did someone do for you? 

We'd love to hear your story. Email us at info (at) or leave us a comment below.

Here in DC, we had eight inches of snow overnight last week and no snow shovel. In the morning, when we looked out our front door, two neighborhood kids were busy clearing our walkway and sidewalk, snow shovels in hand and smiles on their faces. 

Our neighborhood's friendly enough, but the chances of two teenagers shoveling yards at random are remote at best. Kip stuck his head out and asked the kids what was up.

"Your neighbor paid us," one of them said proudly. Kip closed the door, and the kids got back to work.

Kip got so excited he made a snow angel.
The mystery gifter had to be Bill, we figured. He lives next to us with his lovely wife Paula. He's always helping us out, doing odd jobs, taking care of things that need doing. 

Relieved at not having to brave the 20-degree temps and find a shovel, we knew what we had to do. Kip went upstairs and grabbed his wallet. Then he opened the front door and hollered at the kids to come over. 

Handing the kids some cash, he told them go ahead and get the next two neighbors' sidewalks, too. 

Pay it forward. One small act for the day. Thanks for getting it started, Bill. 

And thanks to all of you who got in your 1 of 7 during Random Acts of Kindness Week. 

Don't forget to tell us your story. And while you're at it, help us celebrate Random Acts of Kindness Week II. Let's do it again this week. 

Sunday, February 9, 2014


C'mon, you knew Feb 10-16 was Random Acts of Kindness Week, right? Thought so. 

A girl gives Kip a hand in the Philippines.
Yes, this really is a week-long event. Do you already have a good deed planned? Well, if so, you're doing it wrong! 

This week is about paying attention, staying alert, and keeping your eyes open for opportunities to give back whenever they present themselves. 

In many ways, it's a big part of what 1 of 7 is all about. We're all busy people. We may not have time every week for a pre-planned volunteer activity. 

But that should never stop us from finding a way to do some good in the world and making philanthropy -- acts of goodwill to others -- a regular part of our lives. 

If you're hard up on "random" ideas, there are plenty of places to look, including this website, as well as here and here

This week, keep your eyes open. Be ready to be randomly kind. You'll know when the opportunity presents itself. It's one of the very best parts about being human. And it's in every one of us. Sometimes we just need a contrived holiday or a well-meaning website to remind us.

Monday, February 3, 2014


Before re-joining the real world back in Washington DC, we stopped off in Colorado for a few weeks. 

After 30,000+ miles, we needed a vacation (seriously!), plus we got to see Liz's parents and hike in the valley where we got engaged, American Basin. And of course, we volunteered. 

The hiking was simply spectacular, particularly the trail up to Mount Garfield in the Bookcliffs in Grand Junction (hi, Liz!).

We even got to experience some very curious local wildlife on the Liz's parent's back porch. Thanks, Mark and Sheila. 

And then there were all the volunteer activities. 

First up, we hit the local library. Did you know you could volunteer at many public libraries? Volunteers fill a critical need, as budget cuts are affecting libraries all over the country.

The friendly folks at the Mesa County Library System taught us the joys of sorting books, shipping books, and shelving books all in the same day. Two local newspapers even wrote a story about our time at the library.

Read the full stories online here & here

Even better, we found out later that Liz's mom and others became regular volunteers after our visit. As we've often experienced in our travels, volunteering is seriously contagious!

Next stop, we were invited to talk to two service learning classes at a Grand Junction high school about the places we've experienced and why we think volunteering is so important. We also talked about the importance of being engaged in your local community whether it's in Colorado or Cambodia. 

Then, after sharing a few of our favorite photos, we helped the students work through some of the incredible ideas they were developing to improve their school. These guys were so far ahead of us when we were their ages. In addition to going to school and working, this group was figuring out how to get approval and funding to paint educational murals on buildings and to add hand-decorated trash cans to increase proper litter disposal. A big thanks to the students and their fantastic teacher, Ms. McGuire -- keep up the great work...and keep inspiring! 

Next up, we headed back to the spot where it all started more than two years up the Continental Divide. This time, we came prepared with granola, water, and of course, our ever-present trash bags, which we never hike without anymore. 

Like the last time, we did what anyone could do -- we cleaned things up a bit. It wasn't hard, and it didn't take long. And just like before, we felt really good when we were through, and the area looked a lot better, too. 

It was a special moment for us -- for the better part of two years, we have been traveling, volunteering at least one day each week no matter where we went.

We have seen and done so many things we before only dreamed about. But there is more to be done. More trash to be picked up. More books to shelve. More students, travelers and fellow humans to talk to about making giving back a part of their least one day each week. 

Monday, January 6, 2014


It's Top 10 time.

Since much of our trip revolved around looking for, swimming with, and hiding from beasts big and small, we kick things off with a list of our 10 favorite animal encounters. 

From the world's biggest fish in the Philippines to a lake full of jellyfish in Palau to an overly-friendly lemur in Madagascar, it was one wildlife-filled ride.

Hugging Lemur, Madagascar

On a visit to a wildlife refuge in central Madagascar, a lonely but loving lemur decided Kip needed a hug. Then he wrapped himself around Kip's leg and wouldn't let go.

Whale Sharks, Philippines

The reason we started our trip in the Philippines--swimming with the world's largest fish. Swam with them...check. Counted and cataloged them for an international conservation group working to protect them...check.  Dream about seeing them again someday soon...check.


Happy Pygmy elephants, Borneo

Prior to this trip, we weren't sure Pygmy Elephants existed. But after taking a boat up the Kinabatangan River in Borneo, we got to see for ourselves. The elephants' smiles made for some happy tourists, too.

Baby Orangutan, Borneo

We had the pleasure of meeting this swinging creature and his mamma up close, at the Semmengoh Orangutan Reserve, just outside of Kuching, Borneo.

Great White Sharks, South Africa  

Who couldn't love that face to the left? He was even kind enough to donate one of his teeth, after Liz did her most incredible, and surprisingly accurate seal impression.

Hungry Ocelot, Costa Rica 

This pretty lady gave us her best "Blue Steel," at least until we presented her with a plate of perfectly sliced beef hearts that we'd spent the morning cutting up.

 Millions of Jellyfish, Palau 
Swimming in a hidden mountain lake with millions of stingless jellyfish should be on everyone's list. And Palau is one of the only places to do it. 

Feeding Mother Leopard, Serengeti 
Watching this mother leopard drag a wild boar carcass across the road, up into a tree, and feed it to her two leopard cubs is as close to live National Geographic as we will ever get. And it was awesome. 

Sharks, Palau

The ocean in Palau is the purest we've ever seen. And with lots of fish, come lots of sharks. And we got to see lots of them up close and personal, including this curious grey-tipped reef shark.

Baby sloth,Costa Rica
When visiting Cahuita, Costa Rica, you're bound to see a sloth or two. After all, it is the sloth capital of the world. We caught this little guy napping just outside of our bedroom window.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

HAPPY 2014!

First, thanks to everyone who has read the blog -- we hit 100,000 visits earlier this year and we couldn't be more excited. 

We also want to thank all of you who sent us messages, liked us on Facebook, and wrote to us about all the different ways they've been able to make giving back part of their lives...Ben and Ali babysat a newborn howler monkey in Bolivia, Cinde Jeheber who still volunteers at the animal sanctuary in Costa Rica, and Liz's mom, Sheila, who decided to become a weekly volunteer at her local library. Your stories and so many others inspire us to keep our goal of giving back at least one day each week alive. 

Wishing everyone a wonderful 2014. We are excited for all that the new year will bring.