Adventure, culture, social justice, and sustainability in paradise.
“Indulge your spirit of adventure on the biggest Hawaiian island. It’s still a vast frontier, full of unexpected wonders. Gaze at vivid emerald cliffs, swaths of black, white and even green-sand beaches, majestic volcanic mountains (possibly snowcapped!), stark lava desert, rolling pastureland and misty valleys, weathered by rain, waves and time. Hawaiʻi is twice as big as the other Hawaiian Islands combined, and its dramatic terrain is ever fascinating.” -Lonely Planet
Blending awe-inspiring beauty and transformational learning and service in the areas of permaculture, natural building, and climate justice with a foundation of Hawaiian culture and exploring social justice issues, this program will be an unforgettable, perspective-shattering experience.
Experience the power of nature and creation as you watch lava give birth to new earth as it merges with the ocean at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.
Immerse yourself into Hawaiian culture: language, food, mythology. Learn about the Hawaiian sovereignty movement and hear ‘story’ from elders in the community.
Practice Mālama ‘Āina (to take care of the land) as you dive into the key principles of permaculture, traditional and modern approaches to sustainability, eco-forward practices, and climate justice.
Experience 11 of the 13 microclimates, all on one island and get way beyond the traveler’s track.
After your journey across the Pacific to the isolated Hawaiian Archipelago, you and your group will head directly to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Stepping foot into this park feels like stepping onto another planet. Or in reality, stepping into the beginning of our own planet. “Recent lava flows stretch out for miles in a rocky wasteland that more closely resembles the Moon than Earth. Huge waves send sea spray dozens of feet into the air along the wild, craggy coastline. Endangered birds waddle across the path on an ascent up the world’s largest single mountain. If the timing is right, catch a natural fireworks show of lava pouring into the ocean or of plumes of molten rock arching above one of the planet’s rare lava lakes.” National Geographic.
Along with your group, you’ll explore the origins of our planet and Hawaiian mythology while hiking across calderas and teeming rainforests, swimming in remote bays, and showing reverence for the earth at work. Here we’ll build the framework for our group and program building group dynamics, group mission statement, and having a blast learning and adventuring together.
Now that you’ve bonded with your group, we’ll dive into the heart of the program. We’ll be collaborating with some of the best examples of permaculture, organic regenerative agriculture, natural building, and climate resilience projects all over the Big Island. You’ll learn and participate in traditional farming techniques, plant trees, and learn how homesteading and off-the-grid projects are designed to prepare and mitigate against the most extreme consequences of climate change.
You’ll explore native Hawaiian forests and ‘talk-story’ with Hawaiian elders, learning about ancient values that carry on through modern times. You’ll investigate the social justice issues affecting the Big Island from the Hawaii Sovereignty Movement to the controversial telescope projects on the summit of the revered volcano, Mauna Kea (which is incidentally the tallest mountain on earth…truth!)
Throughout the immersion component of the program, you’ll be exploring 11 of the 13 microclimates on the Big Island, the most diverse set of ecological zones on earth from the semi-dry desert of the Kona Coast to the micro monsoon region of Paulio, to the tundra on the summit of Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa.
After a final circle of gratitude with our hosts throughout the program, we’ll head some of the most beautiful beaches on this fine planet to snorkel and swim with dolphins, visit monk seal rehabilitation centers, and traverse some of the other mindblowing experiences on the Big Island. Students will play will a key role in designing their final travel experience.
You’ve earned this celebration! You’ll spend this time reflecting on your experience, what you’ve learned, how you’ve changed, and you’ll work on your own “SAP” (Sustainable Action Plan) to take everything you’ve learned on this program to apply it to your life at home and beyond.
Over two decades of experience has demonstrated to us that providing financial aid awards increases the diversity of our student body and thus the depth and quality of our programs. Global Routes strives to make our programs accessible to students who otherwise, due to financial reasons, would not have the opportunity to contribute their energy and special gifts to our projects.
We offer aid packages of between 10% and 50% off tuition, which is exclusive of airfare.
Whether Global Routes is the best fit for you or not, we’re here to help.