Guatemala 410

“Guatemalan Weaver” taken during a Reality Tour to Guatemala

Global Exchange was founded 25 years ago, and to mark the occasion, our travel program Reality Tours is hosting a photo contest open to all past Reality Tours participants.

The grand prize winner, chosen by Global Exchange staff, will receive a $500 discount off of a Reality Tour (plus bragging rights!) There will also be a “popular choice” winner who will receive a fair trade gift basket. The photo on the Reality Tours Facebook page in the contest album with the most “Likes” will win the popular choice.

We encourage those of you who have traveled with us, whether two months ago or twenty years ago, to submit to us your best photo(s) that you took while on a Reality Tour. We can’t wait to receive your beautiful photos! Submit now, as the deadline to submit photos for both prizes is April 10, 2013 at midnight!

Submission Guidelines

Photo by Linda Wolf

Photo by Linda Wolf

1. Only past Reality Tour participants are eligible to submit photos and be considered for the prizes. To submit, please email up to 3 photos per participant. Only digital copies will be accepted; scanned photos are okay. Please include your name, contact information, and the country and date of the Reality Tour for each photo. The photo may be accompanied by a brief caption.

2. All photos will be posted by Global Exchange staff to the Reality Tours Facebook photo contest album. The deadline for submission is April 10, 2013. Voting by liking photos on Facebook for the popular choice photo will end on April 15, 2013 at midnight, and the “likes” will be tallied and the popular choice winner will be announced. The grand prize photo winner will be decided by Global Exchange staff and will be officially announced at the Global Exchange Human Rights Award, May 9, 2013.

3. The grand prize discount of $500 off a Reality Tour may not be used together with any other discount, and expires August 31st, 2014.

4. In regards to the judging process, photos that capture the people and/or the country that you visited are judged very highly. We also appreciate work that includes interaction between you or your fellow travelers with the people you visited. Abstract photos that don’t reflect where you have traveled are not ranked as high.

5. By submitting a photo(s), you agree to allow Global Exchange Reality Tours to use the submitted image(s) in our print and online media. Please specify if you would like to be credited.

Patty Idler with Shop Keeper in Kabul

Patty Idler with Shop Keeper in Kabul

One of my favorite parts about working with Reality Tours is listening to past participants reflect on their experiences when they come back to the U.S.

Are you a past Reality Tours participant with a story to tell? Share in the comments below or visit our Share Your Story page. And as Global Exchange celebrates its 25th Anniversary this year, share your memories and experiences of Global Exchange with us as we celebrate our past and look forward to the future.

Here are a few of our favorite Reality Tours stories:

Patty and Randy Idler in Afghanistan: “The driver and guide you sent asked if we minded if they brought their kids. It was wonderful. We saw more of Afghanistan than we saw with other guides or on our own. We met our cobblers. We met Afghans everywhere.”


Students in North Korea

Jeremy Jimenez in North Korea: “There were no lack of spontaneous moments that enabled us to see North Koreans as individuals in their own right.  When telling a cashier at a rest stop, upon being asked, that I was a teacher, she told me that I ‘have wasted my life…..(I) should have been a film star.'”

Paul Prew in Ecuador: “In the film Crude, I saw a number of the same people, organizations, and locations featured in the movie that I visited on the Global Exchange tour.  I was impressed with the ability of Global Exchange to plug us into a variety of social movements and organizations.  As an educator at a state university, I use the experience every term in a number of my courses.”

Take Action

Take Action

What’s your Reality Tours story? Share with us below in the comments.