Blog Entries

OneBrownGirl Has Moved...


I have come to love adore this blog and all that it has represented since I started reluctantly blogging as a compliment to my empowerment t-shirts so long ago. 

It has come so far. 

I have come so far.

But it's time for a change.

I will ALWAYS be One Brown Girl. Always. There are some things, you just can't change. *wink*

But now, you can just call me Tracey. =)

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Travelanthropy: People Who Travel Good (Part 3)


"Travelanthropy: People Who Travel Good"

is an ongoing series about travelers who give...


Meet Jennifer.

 Jennifer James (far left) in Ethiopia visiting health workers at a rural health post.
Name: Jennifer James
Age: 38
State: North Carolina
Occupation: Entrepreneur
Age When You Got Your First Passport: 35
Languages: English and just enough French and Chinese to get by.

Bio:  Jennifer James is the founder and CEO of Mom Bloggers Club, one of the largest social networks for moms who blog at over 19,000 registered users and Social Good Moms, the leading site for moms who use social media and blogging for good. Jennifer has been featured in Philanthropy, Forbes, Brandweek,, the New York Times, AOL and on NPR’s All Things Considered. She was recently named a Fast Company Most Generous Social Media Maven, a Top Blogger Changing the World by as well as a Blogger Out to Change the World by Water for People. She currently serves on the ONE Moms Advisory Council. 

Tell us about your last volunteer experience:  I just returned from Delhi, India where I visited Social Good Moms' partners Save the Children, WaterAid, and Pratham’s work in the field. It was a fantastic trip. I was able to observe each of the NGO’s work helping Delhi's poorest firsthand. I saw the triumphs and learned about their acute challenges. It's a never-ending journey of working in partnership with others and scaling up to help those in abject poverty.

Tell us about your first volunteer experience (travel or otherwise):  My very first volunteer experience was with the Red Cross during junior high and high school. I loved every minute of helping people give blood to help others in need, even those who were giving blood for their own operations. 

Jennifer James visiting Protsahan, a NGO school for at-risk girls in a Delhi slum.
Tell us about your next travel volunteer experience: While it's not a volunteer trip per se I will be traveling to Zambia in a few days with John Hopkins' International ReportingProject. I will join nine other new media journalists to learn more about HIV/AIDS, malaria and TB in the country. I am really looking forward to visiting another African country, but also seeing how differently the country deals with global development and communicable disease. 

Best and worst thing about volunteer travel: I haven't had any bad experiences with volunteer travel. Knock on wood. The best thing about volunteer travel is learning along the way and meeting wonderful people. The relationships you forge are worth every bit of volunteer travel. 

Advice for those that want to travel + giveIf you want to travel and give back, just do it! Determine to go off the beaten path of traditional tourist circles and have an open mind. Most importantly: make sure to coordinate everything well in advance of arriving in the country and get recommendations from people about their volunteer experiences there. That may mean a lot of Net scouring. Do your homework before you leave home!

Why you travel + giveI travel and give back because it's a really great way to get to know a country. Plus, it's a part of the work I do as the Founder and CEO of Social Good Moms. I love getting to know those who help and those are being helped. 

Your favorite travel quote“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” – Lao Tzu

Meet Nadia.

Nadia Jones in Croix-des-Bouquets, Haiti during her second #Bloggers4Haiti press trip.
Name: Nadia Jones           
Age: 30s
City/State: Jacksonville, Florida         
Occupation: Niche Parent Conference Founder/Social Media Strategist
Age When You Got Your First Passport: 3
Languages: Proficient in Spanish, French, and Haitian Creole

Blog:  Justice Jonesie and The Niche Mommy

Bio: Nadia, known affectionately as Justice Jonesie by her blogging friends, is a savvy mom to three that loves to share her passion for motherhood, fitness, traveling, and food. A veteran blogger and social media enthusiast, Jonesie started blogging over six years ago at her first, an award winning about “three mothers that happen to be lawyers too.” Of both Haitian and Latina descent, she was named a top Latina blogger by LATISM and invited to Washington D.C. for a special, White House Retreat.

Tell us about your last volunteer experience: I went on the #Bloggers4Haiti trip to help raise awareness about sustainable economic programs for Haitian artisans.

Tell us about your first volunteer experience (travel or otherwise): I volunteered at a high risk elementary school after school program. I helped middle school children complete homework assignments and school projects. It was eye opening to see the impact that a lack of decent education had on these children, right here in America.
Nadia with Danica Kombol visiting the women of OFEDA in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
Tell us about your next travel volunteer experience: I will return to Haiti with #Bloggers4Haiti.

Best and worst thing about volunteer travel: Worst thing is that due to travel expenses you can only go a few times a year which never seems enough. Best thing is that you are making a difference.

Advice for those that want to travel + give: You can apply for a grant to help offset expenses. Friends are a great resource for helping to raise money or provide donations.

Why you travel + give: I feel it’s my duty to give back and give in some way. When you see how the rest of the world lives, you realize you are fortunate and have really won the lottery of life.   When you do volunteer travel, you realize things such as there are millions of people with no access to clean water. When you travel to make change, you become aware of alarming stats such as millions of people live with no access to clean water.

Your favorite travel quote“He who does not travel does not know the value of men.” – Moorish proverb


“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.” 

Click here to read Travelanthropy: People Who Travel Good (Part 1)
Click here to read Travelanthropy: People Who Travel Good (Part 2)
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Slideshow: Louisiana Bayou

A dreamy view of the enchanting Louisiana bayou.
All photos: @TraceyFriley
Here's my first attempt at a slideshow using Kizoa. These photos are from a swamp tour on the Louisiana bayou (via airboat) I took when I was in New Orleans last year speaking at a conference. So so beautiful.

Click on the slideshow below to start the music.

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Travelanthropy: People Who Travel Good (Part 2)


Soleil - a Passport Party Project participant - taking her very first domestic flight.

When I think about traveling good, I often think about the girls that get their first passports via The Passport Party Project, an initiative I founded that helps to create global citizens out of American underserved girls.  

I wonder if the seeds this grassroots global awareness initiative tries to plant about traveling responsibly and responsively will actually take root and grow, and if the lessons that travel brings about that my volunteers and I have tried so hard to get across actually gets across.  

Perhaps Travelanthropy: People Who Travel Good - an ongoing series about travelers + givers - might add a bit of fertilizer to this proverbial garden of young girls ready to take on the world by encouraging them to turn their empathy into action. Big or small. Here or there. In person or online. That is a part of the plan for these impressionable seedlings. 

Meet Sojourner.

Cape Coast, Ghana. Circa 2005. Photo Credit: @SojosSojourns

Name: Sojourner Walker
Age: 33
City/State: Brooklyn, New York
Occupation: Small business owner, Freelance Writer & Travel Blogger
Age When You Got Your First Passport: 22
Languages: English, Conversational Portuguese and French

Bio:  A former NYC public school teacher fascinated and enamored with travel, culture and landscapes, Sojourner Walker is a fiction and travel writer, enthusiastic yogi and curious traveler. Currently working on a collection of short stories, she splits her time between Brooklyn, New York and Brandywine, Maryland.

Tell Us About Your Last Volunteer Vacation:  I traveled to Inhambane, Mozambique and worked as a Development Instructor for six months with the Institute for International Cooperation and Development.  My job was to train students at a teacher’s training college in effective classroom techniques for introducing primary aged students to the English language. I was also engaged in an agricultural project where we created a campus garden to provide the community with sweet potatoes, pumpkins, lemons and onions.

Tell Us About Your First Volunteer Experience (Travel or Otherwise): My introduction to volunteerism began at the age of 14. While I was in high school, I spent my Saturdays volunteering at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, New York. I worked on the pediatric play-deck where I rocked infants, sang with toddlers, colored with elementary aged children, and played video games and table tennis with teens my age and older.

Teaching in Mozambique. Photo Credit: @SojosSojourns

Tell us about your next travel volunteer experience: My next volunteer travel experience will take place this July in Ochos Rios, Jamaica. I’m still working out the particulars but I’m excited because I’ll be introducing my two year old son to international volunteerism this round.

Best and worst thing about volunteer travel: The best thing about volunteer travel is that it personalizes the experience. You become so much more than a mere tourist. You meet, interact with and befriend local people, and get a greater sense of the culture. It is also great to give back to a host country, particularly if that country is a developing one. I like to be involved; I’m not an observer. If I have to chose a worst, I would say dealing with frustration. Different countries and cultures operate so differently than what I’m used to in the United States. At times, it can be so frustrating because it appears that there is no organization, or structure, but it’s just not the organization and structure that I’m used to (being from the West). That is always a difficult battle. I’m hyper punctual and organized and that’s not exactly a quality that’s exemplified in other parts of the world.

Advice for those that want to travel + give: Go, go, go! There are so many volunteer programs and opportunities available. Do your research and choose an adventure that is right for you. A lot of people think they don’t have time to volunteer travel, but you really only need a week in some cases. If you’re interested in say a year off or two, there are definitely programs that cater to that as well. There are many free volunteer programs, a lot of people are turned off by the notion of paying to volunteer.

Why you travel + give: I’m naturally a socially active person. I get super fired up by a lot of the inequalities in my own back yard and around the world. Volunteer travel in the developing world is my way to contribute to various causes. I know this sounds cliché, but you really do take more away than you ever can give. The friendships that you form can last a lifetime and there’s something so special about gaining intimate access to another culture and way of life. I am motivated and fueled by such exchanges.

Your favorite travel quote: “The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.” ~St. Augustine

Meet Nicole.

Photo Credit: @iluv2globetrot

Name: Nicole Brewer
Age: 31
City/State: Nizwa, Oman
Occupation: English Lecturer
Age When You Got Your First Passport: 21
Languages: English, basic French, basic Korean 

Bio: A graduate of the University of Michigan with a BA in Communications, Nicole is an English language teacher by day and a travel blogger/writer by night with a future goal of starting her own NGO.  Nicole has recently been accepted into a Masters program in Germany to study International Humanitarian Action and Community Development and is looking forward to giving back to youth and helping mold them into future global citizens.  

Tell Us About Your First Volunteer Experience (Travel or Otherwise): I volunteered for StreetLife Care Organization a few months ago in Nairobi, Kenya on my semester break where I helped feed runaway kids.  I also visited a local orphanage with some other volunteers from the volunteer house where I lived.

At the orphanage. Photo Credit: @iluv2globetrot

Tell us about your next travel volunteer experience: I'm looking for ways to volunteer with women's and/or children's organizations in Oman before I leave although finding volunteer opportunities as an expat has been a bit of a challenge.  

Best and worst thing about volunteer travel: The best thing is the feeling of gratification and knowing you're doing your small part to make a difference in this big world. The smiles and joy on the children's faces that I saw, even for the short time that I was there, made it all worthwhile. The worst thing is the fear that your efforts won't be kept up in the future. 

Advice for those that want to travel + giveDo your research! Take the time to look into the organization and make sure it is a reputable company and that they are actually looking for volunteers to contribute what work they can and are not just looking for a paycheck (i.e., you to pay fees to volunteer and do not do any volunteer work).  

Why you travel + give: Because I want to make a long-standing difference in this world.  The best way to be happy is make others happy.  

Your favorite travel quote: “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” -St. Augustine


He who returns from a journey is not the same as he who left.
~Chinese proverb

Click here to read Travelanthropy: People Who Travel Good (Part 1)

Please vote for Phase 2 of The Passport Party Project DAILY through June 3, 2013 to help create global citizens out of underserved American girls. Your votes matter. Please click here to vote.

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Looking For A Speaker to Chat With Your Youth Group About The World of Travel? Book Tracey today!

Looking For A Speaker to Chat With Your Youth Group About The World of Travel? Book Tracey today!
Please send inquiries to Complimentary passport photos for all of the kids in your group! Photo: Paris, France (2012)

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