Timor-Leste Travel With Purpose

This year we are excited to be expanding Tasi Travels outside of just travel clothing and into epic travel experiences with a purpose. 'Travel With Purpose' was inspired by my own travels, I was finding that more and more young people were looking for something more out of their travels; they wanted to dive deeper, connect authentically and contribute positively to the place they were visiting.

It seemed only fitting to lead our first Travel With Purpose group back to the place where Tasi was born, Atauro Island, Timor-Leste. At the end of July we took a group of seven on an adventure of a lifetime. Here's a little look into what we got up to..

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We flew into Dili at sunrise, a beautiful golden sky welcoming us to Timor-Leste. From here we jumped on a boat for the hour and a half trip over to Atauro Island, our home for the next week.  Atauro is a true paradise. Only 25km long, Atauro has a rugged mountainous spine and endless stretches of beautiful beach. Our days consisted of watching sunrise over the ocean with cups of tea in hand, snorkelling the incredible reef (the waters of Atauro were recently declared the most biodiverse in the world), exploring neighbouring villages and of course our purpose element of the trip, our beach clean-ups. 

Like many remote communities and developing countries, Atauro Island struggles with marine debris. There are some amazing individuals and initiatives pushing for positive change, however there is still work to be done. During our time on Atauro we did a number of clean-ups along Beloi Beach, collecting 2,709 pieces of rubbish off this stretch. Some of the stats:
- 402 plastic drink bottles
- 355 bottle lids
- 756 pieces of hard plastic
- 407 pieces of soft plastic
- 221 pieces of rope
- 163 straws

On our third day on Atauro, we were invited to the annual Betel Nut Festival, held on the slopes of Abaktedia above Anartutu in the mountains. This was an incredible day and a truly authentic experience we all felt very lucky to have had. The Betel Nut Festival is a celebration nestled amongst lush forest, where the locals begin the harvest of the betel nut. 

On our fifth day on Atauro we began the hike to the west side of the island, Adara, where we would stay for the night. The hike took us about four hours, and was a great way to get to see more of the island's varying landscapes and local villages. Adara is another paradise, with white sand beaches and incredible reefs that you can swim straight out to.

Perhaps the most special part of this trip though was the connections we all made. A travel experience is nearly always mostly defined and remembered by the people. Our group came from all around Australia and New Zealand, and after a week together had formed bonds that can take years to develop in our everyday lives.

We are leading several trips each year to Atauro Island, Timor-Leste and we are now taking expressions of interest for future trips. If you'd like to be a part of a Travel With Purpose adventure, please fill out your details at the link below and we will be in touch once we release trip information https://www.tasitravels.com/travel-with-purpose/

All photos by Stefan Haworth. 

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