Dreams to Plans

How One Woman’s Travels Inspired Her to Launch a Social Enterprise

Today,  I’m shining the spotlight on good people doing good things out in the world.

Meet Heather Bain, Founder of Charistay Travel; an eco-conscious social enterprise that allows travelers to book hotel stays with sustainable, responsible hotels. With every accommodation that’s reserved through her site, a portion of the commission then goes straight to a charity in the local area. What a beautiful thing, right?!

I got a chance to catch up with Heather this past week, and we chatted about what initially inspired her to want to launch this startup, what her life is like between the lines, and more. Keep reading to learn all about how she plans to harness the good will of the travel industry to give something back.

Tell us a little about yourself!

Heather: I’m 29 years old from Edinburgh, Scotland. I’m a fully qualified lawyer & also have a degree in French & Spanish, but my biggest passion is travelling! If I’m not away exploring somewhere, then you’ll find me planning my next adventure!

Walk us through how you got to where you are today.

Heather: I’ve always loved travel and exploring the world, and I wanted to find a way of combining that with helping to protect the world we have. The idea itself first came to me after a visit to Costa Rica. I visited an animal refuge which treated, cared for and, where possible, released animals that had been injured due to their habitat being destroyed to make way for the growing tourism industry in the region. After a bit more research I found several parts of the world where this was happening, not only to animals, but to local communities and their local environment. I knew then that I wanted to find a way of combining sustainable travel with helping these communities.

What/Who are your greatest sources of motivation?

Heather: My family and friends have been my rock and are always on hand to motivate me whenever I have a bad day. Laterally, the enthusiasm and support not only from the charities and hotels I’ve been in contact with, but also people who have heard about the project and tell me how excited they are about it really motivates me to keep doing my best.

What are your long-term goals and vision for Charistay? Share with us your biggest, wildest dream(s).

Heather: In the long term I hope to have established relationships with hotels and charities all over the world, and be able to proudly look upon the great work achieved as a result of our donations. I’d also love to incorporate other aspects of the sustainable tourism industry, such as partnerships with sustainable tour operators, or selling sustainable travel goods or articles made by local artisan groups.

Are there any fellow social enterprises out there that you really admire or follow closely? What is it that draws you to them or influences you?

Heather: The more I move forward with Charistay, the more I uncover a whole other world of incredible social enterprises and other organizations who are dedicated to spreading awareness and helping particular causes. The passion and commitment that they all have is infectious and I use them as inspiration and motivation to keep me going.

We know you love to travel! What has been your favorite trip thus far?

Heather: I’ve been fortunate enough to visit so many countries, each one with its own unique charm. In terms of my favourite trip, it would have to be Costa Rica in 2014. We travelled all over the country, from the Caribbean coast, up through the rainforests and the volcanic region, to the cloud forests and Pacific coast. Throughout that time, we visited multiple national parks and saw amazing natural landscapes, whilst also meeting some of the wonderful locals and learning more about the work of some great charities and sustainable organisations that are based there. As I mentioned, it was the birthplace of the Charistay idea so it will always hold a special place in my heart!

What does a typical day look like for you?

Heather: My alarm goes off at 7am and I head to the office for my day job as a lawyer. When I get home it’s time for dinner and an evening spent working on Charistay! Trying to have a balanced life is also important to me so, where possible, I also fit in some time for exercise and love socialising with friends 😊

Tell us where we can we find you on social media!

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/charistaytravel/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/charistaytravel/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/charistaytravel

Instead of identifying simply as “travelers”, let’s begin thinking of ourselves as global citizens instead. The tourism industry is a massive one, and with people like Heather leading the way, you’d better believe we’re out to accomplish some pretty incredible things together! Armed with passports, knowledge, and social conscience, together, we possess the manpower and capability to be a real force for good.

If you believe in Heather’s mission and are interested in supporting her, please consider booking your future travels through her site. Subscribe via email today so you’re one of the first to know when it’s been launched!

With that, we leave you with a quote:

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