Your Letters, Answered!

Lots of speaking engagements means lots of letters from readers – Awesome!

A few that I get fairly frequently regard internships, book club readings, and travel advice. Here I share some of the inquiries and my replies with y’all.

From Forest, re: Internship

FP-photo-by-strangebehaviorInquiry: Hey there, I came to your seminar at REI Santa Rosa and am looking forward to reading your book while on my next plane ride (Bali and Thailand). You are doing a lot of the kind of work I am interested in. If you ever want an intern, etc. please do keep me in mind…

Answer: Hi Forest, Thanks for your note and offer to intern! I’m just a one-gal show at the moment but know many other people in the sustainable-tourism field including my friends at and – so go ahead and reach out to them.

Also, when you’re in Bali, look up my good friends Peter and Helen at Aquatic Alliance — they do amazing research with manta rays off the coast of Bali and work with volunteers all the time.

Good luck and let me know if you want to write a guest post about your Bali trip for the GoErinGo site!

From Erica, re: Literary Philanthropy

Inquiry: Hi Erin … I have an idea that I may need some of your wisdom, energy, and resources to help me with. Everyone I know is in a book group. What if I started a book group that paired with a sponsorship program for schools and libraries in Laos and other countries in need. How can we make it easy? …Please let me know where to start. Inspired, Erica

Erin in LooAnswer: Hi Erica, I think the easiest way to start is to combine your book group with a donor circle, which is a group of individuals that pool their resources to make collective donations. I discuss donor circles and other ways to think about strategic philanthropy in my Giving 101 white paper. If you subscribe to my newsletter, you get it for free!

Once your book club / donor circle is established your circle can chose to donate to whichever nonprofits resonates with the group, such as those orgs that support reading. Your combo club could then serve as a model for other clubs and you could spread your idea to other book clubs via libraries and independent books stores.

Also, I’m happy to speak with your book club either in person or via Skype and can provide group discounts on books, as well as a reading guide. Let me know if your club is interested and we’ll move forward!

From Daniel, re: Travel Advice

Inquiry: Hi Erin, I hope all is well. My mother has been telling me stories of you for the past few months. I look forward to reading your book soon for additional inspiration and stories of your contribution. As a lover of travel and helping heal the world, I wanted to get your advice…

I speak Spanish, have nothing to do between 12/25-1/10/15 and want to get out of dodge. I am looking to travel to Central/South America during this time and wanted to know if there were any resources, organizations or countries that you think I should look into.

I know this is a broad request, and that is the current issue I am challenged by – so many places to go, so much work to do. Any thoughts or suggestions you have are greatly needed!

El Chalten, photo by GoErinGoAnswer: Hi Daniel, Thank you for you nice note! I’m happy to help out. First, I always think it’s best to help identify what exactly is spiking your curiosity. Are you motivated by:

  • Seeing a new place and culture?
  • Practicing your Spanish?
  • Learning more about a particular issue such as marine conservation or poverty alleviation?
  • Volunteering in a school or building houses?

Once you decide which direction to go in, it will be easier to choose the best travel option. If you’re looking to volunteer, I always think it’s good to go with an established volunteer program that can offer you an engaging, enriching experience as well as help on the logistical side, like pre-arranged accommodations, airport pick-ups, and match you with fellow volunteers.

Here’re some organization that offer volunteer travel options in Central and South America:

Note: Be prepared to pay to volunteer. Nonprofits invest a great deal of time, knowledge, and valuable resources in providing a worthwhile volunteer experience. It’s important that volunteers understand there are real costs associated and be willing to pay for this cultural experience.

Last, be sure and “chat” with someone who has been a participant in a volunteer program before signing up. That will give you a chance to ask targeted questions and better assess if the opportunity is right for you. And be sure and tell them that GoErinGo sent you!

Hope that helps, Erin

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This entry was posted on Friday, December 12th, 2014 and is filed under Book Q & A.

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