Contact us: 303-586-4723
info@oneseedexpeditions.com

Know Before You Go: Hiking Patagonia in the Winter

There's no denying the magic and beauty of Patagonia. The towering rock faces, pristine mountain lakes, and enormous glaciers provide a wild landscape for those adventurous enough to trek there. And while most folks venture down during the warmer months, there's really nothing more off-the-beaten-path than hiking the crowdless snowy trails next to fresh puma tracks.

So what should you know before you go? Esther and Jacob of the popular travel blog Local Adventurer were the first to try our Winter Patagonia Expedition last fall. Watch their expedition video with stunning footage and helpful tips about what to expect.

Pack it up! Picking the right pack for your expedition

Your tickets are booked. You're checking and re-checking your packing list. Expedition planning is in full force.

Perhaps you're heading out for Patagonia, Peru, Kilimanjaro, or Everest Base Camp--chances are you need to think about pack selection.

The options can be a bit overwhelming. OneSeed is here to help.

1) CHECK YOUR PACKING LIST

On trips with pack animals or vehicle transport, a sturdy duffle can do just fine. On trips where you'll be carrying your own pack, a well-fit expedition pack will be important. Read your packing list carefully and let us know if you have any questions about which type of pack(s) you'll need. 

2) PICK YOUR PACK

We're partial to the goods over at MHM Gear. MHM makes beautifully designed packs with all the right features. They offer the full spectrum of pack sizes so you can pick the perfect pack for your expedition. 

First, let's talk about day packs. 

Day Packs

For nearly all OneSeed trips, you'll need a daypack. This 20-30L pack will be used to carry water, extra layers, camera, etc. while on the trail or navigating cities. This pack should be compact with the ability to stuff down into your larger pack when needed.

We like MHM's Switch 26L pack. With the signature S-zip for quick access and just enough capacity for your daily needs, the Switch is the ideal day pack for most of our expeditions. Its nine (!) pockets make for easy organization and its slick design makes you look cooler than your friends.

Expedition Packs

On some of your trips (like our trips in Patagonia), you'll need to bring a larger expedition pack that you'll carry yourself. A good expedition pack will be 50-65L and will be used to carry all of your personal gear during your time on the trail. We like the Divide 65 pack or the slightly smaller Sultan 50. Both packs are light weight and thoughtfully designed with hidden surprises like internal dry sacs and pivoting hip belts. These big haulers will get the job done on multi-day pushes.  

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3) DO YOUR RESEARCH

Wherever you get your gear, take the time to weigh the tradeoffs of each design and get comfortable carrying your pack as you train for your expedition. 

We especially appreciate the scientific method and a good field test:

OneSeed Summit

OneSeed Summit 2017

It's almost that time again!

This August 14-23, we're gathering the crew once more at our headquarters in Denver, CO. We'll be joined by country directors from around the world who will converge on Denver for 10 days of training, sharing, and exploring the Rocky Mountains. 

OneSeed Nepal's Tek Bahadur Dong shares some tips with OneSeed Chile's Sergio Nuñez.

OneSeed Nepal's Tek Bahadur Dong shares some tips with OneSeed Chile's Sergio Nuñez.

OneSeed Summit 2015

We're not much for power point presentations here at OneSeed. When we want to do some company-wide learning, we head for the hills. 

This year, we took the whole crew to Nepal. 

Following the earthquakes of Spring 2015, we decided this was the right time to show our commitment to Nepal and our team of guides that work throughout the Himalaya. 

Over the course of two weeks, our team hiked through the Langtang region, shared best practices, and led guide trainings for our growing Nepal team. 

We're off! The OneSeed crew heads for the hills. 

We're off! The OneSeed crew heads for the hills. 

Not a bad place to do some staff development. 

Not a bad place to do some staff development. 

Nepal Arrival Guide: How to Navigate the Kathmandu Airport

Tribhuvan International Airport (KTM) - a rite of passage for any traveler arriving to Nepal via air. Reviewing these steps before you arrive will help the process go more smoothly:

Immigration >

  • After disembarking the plane and crossing the tarmac under the guidance of airport staff, your first stop will be Nepali Immigration. Start by filling out the required form and taking a photo at one of the automated kiosks which will give you a paper printout.

Visa Purchase >

  • Proceed to the counter adjacent to the kiosks to pay your visa fee in cash. Crisp, new, unmarked bills in USD are accepted, and you will be given a receipt as proof of payment. Now you are ready to present your documents to an immigration agent for inspection.

Clear Customs >

  • Proceed to any line marked for foreign nationals, and present your passport, kiosk printout, and visa receipt for inspection by an agent. Once approved, proceed down the escalator towards baggage claim.

Baggage Claim >

  • Prior to baggage claim, you will go through a security line and your carry-on luggage will go through a scanner. Collect your bags from the (usually chaotic) baggage claim.

Find Your OneSeed Driver >

  • Once you have your bags, exit the building and head just outside the airport to where various outfitters are waiting to pick up travelers. A member of the OneSeed team wearing a OneSeed shirt or holding a OneSeed sign (or both) will be among the other outfitters just outside the airport to guide you to a vehicle for transport to our partner hotel.

  • IMPORTANT: In the event that you do not see a OneSeed staff member just outside of baggage claim, do not take alternative transport! We will arrive shortly or you can contact us at operations@oneseedexpeditions.com or call or send a WhatsApp message to Tek at +977-981-849-5304 via the airport’s free Wifi network. You can also contact Bishnu at +977-984-190-1086 or the OneSeed Nepal office: 014332380.


NOTE: Construction is scheduled at Tribhuvan International Airport during 2019 which may cause changes to airport configuration. Immigration and customs processes and procedures are at the discretion of the government of Nepal and are subject to change without notice. If your experience was different than what we describe here, let us know and we'll update this post! We welcome your feedback.


Make sure you have the following items before you depart the U.S.:

  1. A pen. Pens are few and far between in the Kathmandu airport. Come prepared and avoid having to track one down.

  2. Passport photos. These will be used for your trekking permits:

    • Everest Base Camp / Langtang Journey (2 passport photos needed)

    • Manaslu Circuit (5 passport photos needed)

    • All other expeditions (3 passport photos needed)

  3. Cash. At the airport you’ll need cash to pay for your tourist visa. A 15-day visa costs $30 and a 1-month visa costs $50 USD

  4. Contact/address information. On your immigration paperwork, you may be asked to add your hotel information.

    • Newa Chen Hotel - Kwalakhu Rd, Patan 44700, Nepal

Arriving Early and Handling Transportation on Your Own?

  • There are two prepaid taxi counters inside and outside of airport or you can choose to negotiate a price with a taxi driver outside

  • If you allow someone to help you with your bag, a $1 tip is appropriate

  • Negotiate a price before getting into the taxi

  • It can be helpful to take a picture of the taxi number (on the front or back of the car) just in case you leave something in the taxi. OneSeed can always help follow up with taxi driver via traffic police if we have the cab’s info.

  • A fair price to Thamel is 800 Rupees or about $7 USD


Packing for Machu Picchu? Here Are Some Tips

Your trip to Machu Picchu has been booked, now it’s time to get packing. Smart packing will make your hiking experience much more enjoyable as you’ll be prepared for any conditions you encounter. A trek to Machu Picchu is a one-of-a-kind experience that requires 5-10 hours of trekking each day.

No matter the season, you should expect rain and always pack accordingly. Since there is always a possibility of rain or cold weather, we recommend that you bring waterproof pants, a down jacket, gloves, a wool hat, and long synthetic underwear (see packing list here). At high altitude, it’s not just the cold you have to worry about. You must also prepare for the high altitude sun with sunscreen and sunglasses for those warmer and sunnier days. Check out current weather here.

On some of the hiking days, you will stay overnight at campsites which is why you’ll need to bring basic camping items such as a sleeping bag, toilet paper, Bitty bags, insect repellent, and a quick- dry towel. In addition to your camping gear, you’ll also want to bring a day pack in which you’ll carry personal toiletries, medicine, an extra layer of clothing, your camera, and other items you’ll need throughout the day.

While you’ll spend most of your time on the trail, don’t forget to pack for your time in the city as well! On those days when you’re not hiking, you’ll want clean, casual clothes for exploring the cities of Cusco and Aguas Calientes.

Have any questions as you prepare for your trip? Give our team a call at 303-586-4723 or email us anytime.

What's the Weather Like at Machu Picchu?

If you're considering a trip to Machu Picchu, it's a good idea to learn what the temperature and precipitation will be like by month. While weather is always a bit unpredictable, being prepared for seasonal changes on the trail is a good place to start.

Average temperatures throughout the year:

Average temperatures (in Fahrenheit) may reach the high 60’s but can drop as low as low 30’s. It is important to note that during the day it may be warm but as the sun goes down temperatures can drop up to 30 degrees. For current weather updates, click on the Current Weather link.

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Source: www.weather-and-climate.com

Average precipitation throughout the year:

The rainy months are usually October to March and the driest season is typically April to September.

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Source: https://www.machupicchutrek.net/best-time-to-hike-machu-picchu/    

Weather on the trail to Machu Picchu is always changing and impossible to predict. Carefully following the expedition packing list will keep you prepared for any conditions. For more information on what to pack, don’t hesitate to contact our team anytime.

A Guide to Tipping on Your Kilimanjaro Climb

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Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro is an experience of a lifetime, from the sea of stars at night to the breathtaking sunrise on the mountain summit.

Each group requires a skilled team of guides, porters, waiters and cooks, and because nothing can be stored on the mountain, everything from food and utensils to clothing and sleeping bags are carried up and down by porters.

Travelers often want to know how many staff members to anticipate and how to accurately tip each individual. The chart below should serve as a helpful guide when considering a tip at the end of your trek. These amounts are simply a suggestion, and trekkers are encouraged to tip as they see fit.

PLEASE NOTE: Total staff number may vary due to unforeseen circumstances. The exact number of guides, assistant guides, cooks and porters may change. We recommend bringing a small amount of extra cash in case this happens.

Kilimanjaro 6 Day Trek (Marangu Route)


7 Day Kilimanjaro Trek (Lemosho & Machame Routes)


3 Day Camping Safari

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We generally recommend budgeting $60-$100 for your safari based on group size.

For the group of 5 or more travelers, each person should prepare $60 for all three days as shown below:

  • Guide a day $10 for 3 days = $30

  • Assistant guide a day $5 for 3 days = $15

  • Cook a day $5 for 3 days  = $15

  • Total per client  for 3 days  = $60

For the group of clients between 2-4, each client should prepare $100 for all three days as shown below:

  • Guide a day $16.6 for 3 days = $50

  • Assistant guide a day $8.3 for 3 days = $25

  • Cook a day $8.3 for 3 days  = $25

  • Total per client  for 3 days  = $100

*It is customary to tip each individual directly.


Some important things to note:

  • Starting in June of 2019, OneSeed will provide individual envelopes (by request from previous travelers) to make the tipping process run more smoothly. These will typically be handed out to trekkers by the head guide on the first night of the expedition.

  • The tipping ceremony generally occurs on after breakfast before the final descent to the entrance gates at the end of the trek.

  • The Kilimanjaro Porter’s Assistance Project’s (KPAP) recommends climbers give tips directly to each crew member in individual envelopes to ensure that the full amount of tip is received by the crew member.

  • Travelers can tip in Tanzania Shillings (TZS) or US Dollars, though USD is typically easier. Be sure to bring small bills (nothing higher than $20) in order to tip evenly among all staff.

  • It is common to tip the few porters who assist clients on the final summit night an additional $20 total from the group.

  • Regardless of the size of your expedition, we recommend budgeting around $250 - $350 for the trekking portion of your expedition. If you are also doing the group camping safari, we recommend budgeting around $50 - $100.

Still have questions? Email us at info@oneseedexpeditions.com or ask your head guide on the trail. Guides are happy to provide you with information on the total number of support staff, names, roles, etc.


USD TO TANZANIAN SHILLINGS CALCULATOR

Tanzanian Shillings are generally 2,300 Tsh to 1 USD depending on the day of conversion. Click or tap the button below to be taken to an online USD to shilling converter with the most recent exchange rates.


RESPONSIBLE TRAVEL ON KILIMANJARO

The mistreatment of porters can be a troubling challenge in the climbing industry. We are an approved Partner company with the Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project – KPAP – and the International Mountain Explorers Connection – IMEC – Partner for Responsible Travel Program.

We voluntarily participate with KPAP’s monitoring activities and allow KPAP to evaluate the treatment of our porters on all of our climbs. By climbing with us you can be assured that your porters are well taken care of.

KPAP also helps to improve the working conditions of porters by:

  • Lending donated clothing at no charge to the mountain crew for use while climbing

  • Educating the public on porter working conditions and climbing responsibly

  • Providing industry guidelines for proper porter treatment

  • Offering educational classes to porters

OneStory: Life at 3mph

The OneSeed OneStory series highlights the work of innovators and changemakers around the world. Interested in sharing your story? Contact us at info@oneseedexpeditions.com.

We often think of adventure and exploration in terms of the remote and exotic. We summit peaks and explore the unchartered pieces of the map. But there's something to be said for the type of exploration that come from simply slowing down and noticing the world around you. Walk2Connect, a Denver-based walking cooperative is doing just that.

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Launched by Jonathon Stalls following a 3,030 mile walk across the U.S. in 2010, Walk2Connect "works hard to help people and communities become healthier and more connected while also advancing awareness on the importance of walkable community design and the pedestrian experience."

With their team of six Professional Member-Owners, over 200 trained Walking Movement Leaders, 150 Life@3MPH Champions, and a host of Community Partners, Walk2Connect leads 30-45 walking, hiking, and rambling experiences throughout Colorado every week. In 2015, they hosted over 877 walking trips across open spaces, down city alleyways, and through some of the forgotten corners of the Denver metro area. 

"We're a walking platform for people, places, and community," says Stalls. "Walk2Connect is a grassroots movement connecting people to others, to the places they live, and to themselves at a one to three mile per hour pace. As our co-op culture expands and we inspire more individuals and communities to move and connect in this way, we hope to slowly launch new strategies for planting new walking communities outside of Colorado."

Whether you're gearing up for your next expedition or you just got back from a trek that you can't let go, Walk2Connect provides the community to keep on truckin'. 

 

Interested in learning more? Join the movement: http://walk2connect.com

Interested in exploring partnership opportunities? Follow #lifeat3mph to share your walking stories and to stay engaged with the movement. 

 

A Note on Solo Traveler Fees

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We know solo traveler fees are a bummer and trust us, we don't like charging them either. We require the extra fee because it's the best possible way to provide a fair price to all clients. The solo traveler fee covers the increased cost of hotel stay (single vs. double rooms), ground transportation, and the additional guides, porters or cooks needed while on the trail.

The good news? The solo room fee guarantees your very own single/private room while in your host city.

The other good news? We offer a "match pool" so clients have the opportunity to connect and match with other solo travelers of the same gender. Let us know if you're interested and we'll be sure to make the introduction if there's another solo traveler looking to be matched! Simply email info@oneseedexpeditions.com and we'll take it from there. If there isn't a match, you'll receive an invoice with your single supplement fee 60 days prior to your expedition. 

You can find your specific single supplement fee by visiting your expedition page on our website.

OneStory: A OneSeed Alum's Epic 5-Year Trek from Patagonia to Alaska

The OneSeed OneStory series highlights the work of innovators and changemakers around the world. Interested in sharing your story? Contact us at info@oneseedexpeditions.com.

Bethany Hughes clearly has the hiking bug. Having logged some 4,000 miles on the PCT, the Colorado Trail, and elsewhere around the world, Bethany is now making her way north from the southern tip of Patagonia to the arctic reaches of Alaska. 

On what she expects will be a 5-year hike, Bethany will travel the length of the Americas by non-motorized means, hiking the mountain ranges and rafting or pedaling the flatlands. Along the way, she and her hiking partner, Lauren Reed, will document and share the stories of individuals striving toward their own aspirations.

Bethany grew up learning to climb in the mountain ranges of South America. She later guided backpacking groups in New Mexico, then worked with sled dog teams in Tongass National Forest along Alaska’s Inside Passage. Since thru-hiking the Pacific Crest Trail she has focused on long distance excursions and encouraging others to get outside as a means to personal and social empowerment.

In the fall of 2014, Bethany traveled with OneSeed in Nepal's Langtang region. 

"Trekking the Langtang region with the OneSeed crew was an experience both in culture and landscape. I never considered myself one for guided, group activities to mainstream travel destinations which is why OneSeed's responsible approach to experiencing remote locations was appealing. The guides were a bridge to the communities of the Himalayas, from translating to showing us to the mountain-top yak cheese, they made the journey all the more impactful."

As part of Her Odyssey, Bethany plans to walk the length of the Americas while serving as a window into the people and natural beauty she encounters along her way. 

"We have hiked along the Senos of the South, through snowy passes and Patagonia old growth forests, past forest fires, across roaring rivers. We’ve grown from adventurous little girls into women who walk 'impassable' stretches of wilderness and regularly eat dessert first.

We see a growing movement of women across the globe standing up and stepping forward.  From workplace to personal life; in agriculture, art, sciences, adventure sports, the list goes on. It is our belief that by each pursuing her dream and passion, we forge a more equal playing field. Our chosen field is long-distance hiking.

Following and connecting routes of Tehuelche tribes to the Incan road system, the Qhapaq Ñan, we anticipate South America taking three hiking seasons – weather, terrain, and governments allowing. We aim to finish South America at Tolú, Colombia and move laterally into Panama.

The parameters are to travel along the mountain ranges which comprise the backbone of the Americas, gaining northward degrees of latitude by non-motorized means. This allows for more expedient lateral movement to avoid danger zones such as the the Darien Gap.

Biking Central America will enable broader and safer exploration. In Mexico, following along the Sierra Madres Occidental range leads to the southern border of the United States near New Mexico.

Then we will pick up on the Continental Divide Trail which traces the Rocky Mountains through the United States, feeding into the Great Divide Trail of Canada. Thereafter, the course aims for the Yukon, though an alternative is to paddle the Mackenzie River.

Alaska presents a wide array of travel options, from our go-to method of hiking, to cross-country skis or dog sled. The end point of this journey will be determined by the mode of transportation at that time, though the ultimate objective is to arrive at the Arctic Ocean.

Beyond writing about our hiking experiences, we round out the perspective by sharing stories of the lands and people. The Herstory Series illuminates the experience of women who live in pursuit of their own highest self and are willing to share that adventure. The Story Time series relates folklore and local legends which inform cultural perspectives and values."

Color us impressed. We'll be following Bethany and Lauren's journey as they make their way northward and we'll continue to be awed by the strength and determination they show as they put one foot in front of another.

For. The. Next. Five. Years. 

Sneak a peek from the trail @_herodyssey_.

Learn more about Bethany and Her Odyssey

Training for Your Trek: Quick Tips to Get Ready for the Trail

A frequently asked question here at OneSeed is usually along the lines of, "I'm hiking how much?? How do I train for this??" On a OneSeed trek, you'll be pushing your body to the limit as you hike through some of the most awe-inspiring places in the world. We've included some tips below on how to train for what will be an adventure of a lifetime!

Apparel and Footwear: Before you start training, invest in a solid pair of hiking boots and gym shoes. If your feet are tired and blistered, it will affect the rest of your body and increase the risk for injury. Make it a priority to break in your boots - wear them while you work out or even just walking around the neighborhood!

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Sweat!: You want to feel confident going into your expedition so start elevating your heart rate and building muscle! Find a work out routine that works for YOU and stick with it. If you don't like running, don't run, BUT find an activity that makes you sweat and tone. Hiking, running, biking and swimming are all great cardio-boosters but try interval training with activities like yoga and weight-lifting classes as well. Be sure you incorporate squats and lunges into your workouts so you build your leg muscles for the long hikes you'll be accomplishing on the trail. Lastly, don't forget to Stretch! Yoga and pilates classes are the best way to stretch out sore muscles and prevent injuries. 

Hydrate and Fuel: With all of this training, you'll be burning tons of calories! Be sure you're fueling your body with foods that help it perform at it's best and keep you feeling good. Incorporate healthy grains like quinoa, brown rice and wild rice, nuts like almonds and walnuts, fish, lean meats, fruits and vegetables into your diet on a daily basis. And don't forget about water! When you're dehydrated, you feel more fatigued than you actually are, making it easier to trip on the trail and cause injuries. Make it a goal to drink at least 64 oz. of water each day (that's two Nalgenes!) and start each meal with a glass of water.

Get High: Gearing up for a trip above 10,000ft? The higher up in elevation you can train, the better. If you live close to the mountains, push yourself on some high-elevation hikes and train your lungs to adjust to the lack of oxygen. If you don't live in an area where high-altitude trails are available, not to fear! All of our treks factor in rest days in order to acclimate to higher elevation. If you're feeling fatigued on the trail, go slow and take frequent breaks as your body adjusts to the altitude.

See you on the trail!

 

 

Impact Climb: Kilimanjaro 2017!

At OneSeed we're all about two things: exploring the world and investing in people.

We love scoping out new routes in the Himalayas or uncovering hidden spots in Patagonia, but we spend just as much time and energy scouting out microfinance partners to channel capital to entrepreneurs in places like Tanzania, Colombia, or Nepal. 

OneSeed travelers often tell us that being able to pair exploration with local investment is the reason they travel with us again and again. We work hard to live up to our mission.

Explore the world. Invest in people. 

Because we love nothing more than entrepreneurial hustle, we couldn't be more excited to announce our newest impact partner: The Rocky Mountain Microfinance Institute. RMMFI works right in our backyard here in beautiful Denver, Colorado, and we've seen firsthand their commitment to fostering entrepreneurship, creativity, and community. 

Because we believe in those same principles and we believe in the team at RMMFI, we're proud to announce the launch of the 2017 Microfinance Summit Series. 

{Drum roll} Boom!

Impact climbs double the impact of your travel by raising funds not only for our microfinance partners around the world, but also amazing organizations like RMMFI that support entrepreneurship right here in the U.S.

Impact Climbers join a team of like-minded changemakers to raise funds and awareness for the excellent work of RMMFI. Climbers then travel to Tanzania where they'll summit Africa's highest peak, Mt. Kilimanjaro.

The Details

  • Dates: June 2-10, 2017
  • Program Cost: $2,750 
  • Climbers commit to raise $3,000 in support of RMMFI. These funds will create opportunities for RMMFI Entrepreneurs as they successfully launch and grow businesses.
  • Spots are limited and applications open today.

This sounds perfect. What's next?

Click below to show your interest in joining the June 2017 climb. A September 15 info session will be open to all interested. Those unable to attend the session can also schedule an individual session to learn more. 

Loan #400!

September 7, 2016: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Denver, CO – Denver-based social enterprise OneSeed Expeditions announced today their 400th microfinance loan, surpassing more than $180,000 invested in entrepreneurs throughout Asia, South America, and Africa.

Founded in 2010, OneSeed Expeditions is a mountain guiding outfitter that uses that power of travel to fund small businesses around the world.  OneSeed’s more than 50 local guides lead expeditions in remote regions and bucket-list destinations like Patagonia, the Himalayas, and the Serengati.  OneSeed then invests 10 cents of every incoming dollar into microfinance initiatives that provide loans for local entrepreneurs.

“OneSeed has a simple mission,” says founder Chris Baker.  “We explore the world and invest in people.  We truly believe in the power of entrepreneurship and the hard work of individuals. We also know that access to capital is a persistent barrier to growing businesses in many of the places where we guide. We see using travel to fund entrepreneurship as a real opportunity to strengthen communities and protect some of our favorite corners of the world.”

That simple mantra has worked well for the travel start-up.  In the short time since its founding, OneSeed has invested in hundreds of small businesses while expanding guiding operations to seven countries. Last year, OneSeed was recognized for their work with an award at the World Responsible Tourism Awards

“Social impact is baked into everything we do,” says Baker.  “From training young guides to supporting hard-working entrepreneurs, OneSeed works hard to make travel work for local communities.”

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OneStory: The Women's Bakery

The OneSeed OneStory series highlights the work of innovators and changemakers around the world. Interested in sharing your story? Contact us at info@oneseedexpeditions.com.

We're all about hustle at OneSeed. We know firsthand what it takes to transform an idea into a business and we could not have more respect for the incredible women at the heart of this social enterprise. 

The Women's Bakery is "an education-centric social enterprise committed to empowering women and developing women-owned businesses." Building sustainable small businesses one bakery at a time in Rwanda and Tanzania, TWB grew out of a simple passion and clear vision for growing communities and livelihood through fresh-baked bread. 

This week, we sat down with Heather Newell, TWB's US Programs Officer, to talk baking and building businesses. 

Tell me about how TWB's earliest days. How did this project first get off the ground?

While a teacher with the U.S. Peace Corps in Rwanda, I first heard about The Women's Bakery before it was what it is today. 

Two colleagues of mine, Markey Culver and Julie Greene, in response to social and economic disparity, had started to bake bread with women in their respective sites of service. This was compelling to me as the project began with a sustainable aspect: income generation. 

Women asked how to make bread and so both Markey and Julie began to share and teach this skill - also fortifying breads with protein and micro nutrients. 

Soon, they were selling the bread and The Women's Bakery was born. 

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Tell me a bit about your impact model. 

Our work as a service-provider is two-fold:

1. We educate women and equip them with the business, technical, and life skills necessary for income generation. 

2. We train women to source local, nutritious ingredients and to produce and sell fortified, affordable breads in their communities. Our program includes on-going oversight and operations management to ensure sustainability and business growth. 

TWB empowers women with business, baking, nutrition, and life skills education. This provides economic mobility, improves community nutrition and sparks local economies. The average woman in TWB training is 39 years old and has 4.6 children. 40% rely on farming for primary income, and 50% live in female led homes. Only 14% have finished high school level education. 

One bakery creates 3-6 jobs in its first year and women can earn over 2x their average local income after one year of bakery operation. The average GNI (Gross National Income) in Rwanda currently is $650. Within one year, TWB women can earn $981 – this income projection is conservative and expected to increase substantially in two to five years. 

Why bread?

Something as simple as a loaf of bread has the power to create jobs, improve nutrition and spark economic growth. Bread is a medium for The Women’s Bakery to accomplish all three - employ women, provide access to improved nutrition on a village level, and support community-driven economic growth. 

In Rwanda alone, 44% of children younger than five-years-old are chronically malnourished. Because protein and vitamin deficiencies are a leading cause of malnutrition in East Africa and are missing from consumer products, affordable nutritious additives are essential. When women work, economies grow faster. Through The Women’s Bakery, women’s work has the potential to transform local economies while enhancing the health of their communities.

What has been the biggest challenge you've faced so far?

The biggest challenge we have faced as an organization is pivoting for necessary model changes. Our program is extensive – with a lot of moving parts – and so as a social enterprise start-up, we are constantly looking for ways to build sustainable, smart, and impactful programming! Working on the ground in East Africa is not always easy, but it’s an important part of how we do our work: with a locally driven context, and locally driven employees! 

What's the long term vision for TWB? How do you plan to grow in the future?

The Women’s Bakery exists to empower women through education and business. We believe our model can be relevant throughout Rwanda, East Africa, and beyond! 

The Women’s Bakery is at a critical point of strategy and scale. By refining our model, we are poised to launch a relevant, measurably impactful, profitable bakery franchise model in East Africa. We plan to train at least two more groups this year, expanding our internal staff, and growing our network of TWB women.

This scale is multiplicative. Moreover, this model and its scale can be duplicated and replicated across East Africa. We are refining the model in Rwanda in real time with plans to scale into neighboring East African countries.

Learn more about The Women's Bakery. 

See their pitch video here. 

Want to share your OneStory? Contact us. 

OneSeed Recognized at World Responsible Tourism Awards

OneSeed Expeditions celebrates Silver at World Responsible Tourism Awards 2015

Media release:  5th November 2015

OneSeed Expeditions has been named the joint-Silver winner in the Best in Poverty Reduction category at the World Responsible Tourism Awards 2015 at World Travel Market in London.

The US tour operator was announced a Silver winner at a special ceremony yesterday at World Travel Market in London, part of World Responsible Tourism Day. 

The Best in Poverty Reduction, sponsored by the Tobago House of Assembly, awards holiday providers that offer memorable experiences that support their activities in seeking to reduce and prevent poverty in a local community. The judges were looking for tourism organisation that can significantly reduce poverty in a local area and provide a working example for other providers.

In his journal ‘Progress in Responsible Tourism’ Professor Harold Goodwin, Chair of the judging panel comments on why OneSeed Expeditions has been recognised; “OneSeed Expeditions have what they describe as a ‘simple’ model , simple maybe, but certainly not common. They hire local guides, protect local environments and respect local customs - but what makes them stand out is their commitment to invest 10% of total revenue in loans to entrepreneurs in need of capital, this is done by partnering with microfinances institutions in each of the countries in which they operate. The judges were impressed by the model, the transparent reporting and the scale or what has already been achieved”.

Goodwin adds Judging the Awards is an exacting task; the decisions which the judges take get tougher every year. The volume, quality and diversity of nominations grow each year and each category engenders considerable debate amongst the judges. The quality that we had before us this year is higher than ever - evidenced by the fact that there are joint gold winners in four of the twelve categories”.

Chris Baker, Founder of OneSeed Expeditions, commented on their win, “We’re honored to have shared the stage with so many great organizations with the same goal of making travel work for local communities and local economies. OneSeed is proud to have been recognized today and we congratulate all of those here today.”

Welcoming over 500 people to the event in London, Justin Francis, Managing director of Awards organisers Responsible Travel explained how the Awards were founded to change the face of the tourist industry. “The aim of the Awards is to inspire the tourists and the tourism industry by what is possible to achieve through responsible tourism” says Francis. “In our 12th year we have added one more inspiring winner and more remarkable stories which will shape how the industry and tourists think about the future of tourism”.

Category sponsor, the Tobago House of Assembly commented “We operate in hope that companies such as this year’s winners along with previous holders of the Responsible Tourism 'Best for poverty reduction' Award are continuously recognised for their endeavours. These contributors forge the benefits of tourism among the communities who need it most and we congratulate them on making the difference in the lives of those who are often made invisible to the outside world. All lives matter.”

A photo library of winner’s images is accessible here: http://www.responsibletravel.com/awards/media/   


Back to the Basics: Packing 101

Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or new to overseas adventure, packing wisely for your expedition will ensure that you have a more comortable experience on the trail. Eliminate the stress of packing with these quick (but important) tips:

1) Try it on! 

Test out your gear in the comfort of your own home. Hiking boots aren't the only item that you should try on before your trip. Having loose-fitting trekking pants, a backpack that sits evenly on your hips, and sleeping bag that fits you snugly are important too!

2) Make sure you catch all the ZZZZs. 

Don't forget your sleeping bag! If you're staying in refugios or teahouses, you'll be using your sleeping bag on top of the mattress. If you're camping during your expedition, OneSeed will provide you with a sleeping pad and a tent.

3) Trekking poles - yay or nay? 

Many people loves trekking poles because they provide extra stability on rocky or icy terrain. Some travelers don't feel the need to use poles, but if you have balance issues, weak ankles, or knee problems, they're a great idea to keep you safe on the trail.

4) Know your H2O! 

Water is provided for you throughout your trek. You'll be filling up your water bottles in the morning for your day's trek and you'll have the chance to refill throughout the day. A camelback style bladder is a great option for easy access to water while hiking. We recommend bringing an extra water bottle as well for use in your lodge or as a back up if your bladder leaks.

5) Hike light - store excess gear. 

Anything that's not absolutely essential for your trek can be stored at one of our partner lodges until you return. A luggage lock can be placed on your suitcase for added security. Heavy books and electronics are great for the airplane but add a lot of weight to your backpack!

6) Mules, porter, or am I carrying everything myself? Depending on the location of your expedition, you may be required to carry a backpack with all your gear or just a small daypack. You can find this information at the top of your packing list.

Mules or Porters: Bring a duffle bag to store your gear (instead of a second backpack) for the porters/mules. You'll carry your water, lunch, sunscreen, raincoat, snacks, camera etc. in your daypack. It should be around 25-liters with a comfortable hip belt to distribute weight away from your shoulders.

If your expedition is fully self-supported, you're required to carry all your gear in a large backpack. This typically means a 50+ liter pack but it depends on your specific packing list. Lay out all your items for the trip and pack them into your backpack before your departure. If everything fits, you’re all set!

Quick Tips for Eating on the Trail

When trekking in a remote area, there are certain expectations that will help you make the most of the meals on the trail. Here’s a quick list of things to know about trail food to help you prepare for your expedition.

1) Carbs, Carbs, Carbs. In most of the areas where we travel, the diet is rich in carbs. When you spend 3-10 hours a day hiking, you need carbs for energy, so embrace it! Nepal is known for its dal bhat, Peru for its 3,800 types of potatoes, and Chile is the second largest bread consumer per capita in the world. But guess what? They all make really delicious carbs, so dig in!

2) Eat like a local. They best way to order off the menu in a foreign country is to mimic what the locals are doing. If you’re staying at a teahouse in the Langtang region, ordering a pizza might not be the best option. Pizza with yak cheese isn’t going to taste like is does from your local pizza shop in NYC. Look around you to learn about the delicious local dishes and try sticking to them. It’s a great way to fully immerse yourself in the country in which you’re traveling. What if you’re craving some comforting American food? It will be there for you to eat the day you get back!

3) Bring reserves. While trekking on OneSeed trips, you’ll be fed three large meals a day but some trekkers like to have power bars or granola bars to munch on while hiking. You can always bring a few just in case you need some extra fuel. (*Note: Customs rarely lets you bring nuts, seeds, or fruit into a foreign country)

4) Be adventurous. Some of the countries where we travel have exotic local dishes that you don’t find everywhere. Push your tastebuds to the limit with new flavors. Try the tongue in Chile or the spicy pickle in Nepal because you never know what you might like.

Food is an essential part of any culture. Be prepared to try new things and expand your tastebuds’ comfort zone. Bon Appétit!

6 Tips on What to Eat, What to Avoid, and How to Eat Safely Abroad

The most common way to get sick when traveling is through food and water. Trying new foods is part of the experience, but no one likes to be sick on the road. Don’t fear! We are here to give you a few pointers to keep your adventurous palate and your sensitive stomach happy. Keep reading to learn 5 tips about what to eat, what to avoid, and how to eat safely in any country.

  1. Cook it, wash it, peel it, or forget it! Boiling a food is the best way to get rid of any bacteria that may have been lingering. Once the water has reached a boil, you are safe to dig in! Peeling a food is another great solution. Fruits like bananas, oranges, and avocados are much safer to eat than berries or apples. As a last resort, wash any fruits or vegetables that you cannot peel or boil. Be sure to use purified water and give them a good scrub. Tip: leave your appetite for leafy salads at home!
  2. Be seal-happy. Things in a sealed package are generally much safer than items with unknown origins. Unpackaged condiments and sauces may not have been refrigerated and may have been prepared with unpurified water. While homemade relish might sound delicious, your stomach will be thanking me later.
  3. Go with the flow. A good rule of thumb is to follow the crowds. Locals know which restaurants serve good, quality food and which don’t. Busy restaurants serve food as soon as it is made while empty restaurants may leave food sitting out for longer periods of time.
  4. H20 Know. Unpurified water is sneaky and ruthless when it comes to getting sick. Being extra cautious to make sure your water has been boiled, filtered, bottled, or otherwise purified is a must. Avoid ice cubes in restaurants and be sure to ask if you have any doubts about tap water being used during preparation. On all of our expeditions, we provide you with plenty of purified water to keep you hydrated during the trek.
  5. A healthy body is a happy body. The best defense against illness is a healthy immune system. Don’t forget to stay hydrated and eat a well-balanced diet to keep your body performing at its best. Even if you are a meat-eater in a primarily vegetarian country, eat eggs, nuts, beans, lentils and other protein-rich foods in its absence.
  6. Know the risks. Some foods are generally more risky than others. Unpasteurized dairy products, seafood, and undercooked meat are foods to be wary of when ordering off a menu. Another good precaution is to avoid eating street foods. If you cannot live without these foods, take some time to get a sense of what your body can tolerate and slowly ease into trying one.

Every traveler wants to stay healthy and happy while overseas. Kick Montezuma to the curb and use these 6 tips to avoid having your stomach spoil your trip. Bon voyage!

7 Tips to Prepare for Your Trek

Always be prepared! The scout’s motto is simple, but true. Being well prepared for your trek will make your time much more enjoyable, and you can focus on the wonders around you rather than your blistered feet! Here are a few tips to help you prepare for your trek.

1.  Buy appropriate footwear and break your boots in.

  • Visit an outdoor retailer and do research to buy the appropriate pair of hiking boots for your feet.
  • Break them in! Showing up with brand new boots for a multi-day trek is an invitation for blisters and pain. Walk the dog in your boots, do yard work in your boots, take them hiking! You want your boots to feel nice and comfy when you arrive.
  • Buy good quality socks (non-cotton, moisture wicking socks such as Smartwool, Thorlos, Darn Tough, Woolrich etc…)
  • Remember: Your feet are your best friend. Happy feet, happy camper!

2.  Get out hiking. Regularly!

  • Start slowly and build your intensity, difficulty, and length of hikes. It is much better to start slowly and increase the difficulty gradually over several months than to wait to the last few weeks.
  • Wear what you will be wearing on the trail, especially if they are new items, so you know how they feel and can adjust anything that is irritating or doesn’t work. This includes your boots and the pack you will be carrying on the trail.
  • Go with a partner or a group. You won’t be able to cheat and going with someone else provides motivation and fun!
  • Cross train too (Bike, swim, run, yoga, stairs, etc). Different types of exercise work different muscle groups and will help condition your body. Strengthening your body can help prevent injuries on the trail.

3.  Learn about the OneSeed Fund

  • 10% of the revenue from your expedition will be loaned to local entrepreneurs via the OneSeed Fund.
  • The loans are extended by our partner microfinance institutions across many different industries such as agriculture, retail, food services and more.
  • Want to learn more about microfinance? Click here.

4.  Don’t bank on your bank.

  • Call your bank ahead of time to let them know about your travel plans.
  • Sometimes, when banks see a charge in a foreign country, they assume it was theft and freeze your account.
  • While you’re on the phone with your bank, ask them about international ATM fees.
  • Be sure to have back-up alternatives such as cash, traveler’s check, and credit cards.
  • Having copies of credit cards and passport information is a great safety net.

5.  Health, safety, and more.

  • Visit the CDC website or contact a local travel medicine office with any questions about immunizations or vaccines.
  • If you have any concerns about your health, contact your physician before you start a training program.
  • Learn more about tips to keep your belongings safe while traveling here.

6.  Insure Your Trip.

  • All OneSeed trips include medical and evacuation insurance for all travelers. This covers you from the moment your expedition begins.
  • We also strongly urge you to purchase the optional cancellation and interruption insurance. This third party insurance covers any injuries, illnesses, or other unforeseeable events between now and your expedition.
  • You never know what life has in store so it is better to prepare ahead of time!

7.  Pack light and early.

  •  Take a look at our packing list now and start to get an idea of what gear you have and what you will need to purchase. Waiting until the last minute is a recipe for disaster!
  • Outdoor gear can be quite expensive. Don’t forget that you can borrow from a friend, rent from various outdoor stores, or look online for items on sale.
  • That being said, don’t skimp! Making sure your clothes are built to last is important as you will be hiking outside in the elements for many days on end.
  • To lighten your load, bring travel-sized toiletries.
  • Ziplock bags make for inexpensive, weightless, water-resistant organizers for loose items.
  • Don’t forget to bring an extra outfit for the city. You can leave any extra gear at our partner lodge before the trek.

Happy trekking!