We have a lot of traditions at GoBeyond…
bringing a program flag with us everywhere we go and splitting it amongst the group when we leave, taking fun spinning-selfie videos in random locations, “the squeeze,” you get the idea. These traditions are integral to our experience and are a part of what makes an organization “thick,” as New York Times Columnist David Brooks calls it; but there’s one tradition that really sticks out as central to who we are:
Writing each of our travel mates an index card of positive memories from our time together.
This tradition, known simply as “cards,” started in 1986 with our founder, Jim Stoll, incorporating the index card notes into our sailing and scuba diving summer programs at ActionQuest. As is customary, these index card notes are written as part of our closing activities of a program while we divide and distribute our flag evenly and say our good-byes. Since the inception of this tradition, thousands of students and staff have written cards and shared memories, many of whom still have their card collection stored away in travel memory boxes from all those years ago.
Enter, Stage Left: Brent Johnson.
This past summer I was privileged to lead two sessions of our Orphans of Beijing volunteer work in China’s orphanages, whereupon I met Brent. As it turns out, Brent was a scuba instructor with ActionQuest in the late 1980s – well before he became the founder of “China Little Flower,” our service partner in China. As our group sat together in the waning hours of our journey, Brent mentioned that he still had his index card notes from his voyage as an instructor at AQ nearly 30 years ago – a testament to the power a journey can have on your life when you open your world to new possibilities.
These little cards are a token of our shared experiences together – their value only increasing with time as the memories of our journeys fade and become obscured by new adventures; and while this process of seeking new experiences and continuing to learn is just part of who we are as humans, these cards connect us to our past. I carry these 93 (and counting) index card notes with me every summer because they represent a part of my story too formative to ever forget.
FeaturedJourneysView All Journeys
Orphans of Beijing
Live and let live in the Far East. Whether you’re staring at 8,000 Terracotta soldiers or into the eyes of one orphaned child, inspiration is the backbone of this journey. Earn 100 hours of life-changing service and immerse yourself in China’s culture while enriching the lives of its orphaned children.View Details
Everyone is kind in the land of fire and ice. Earn 30 hours of community service restoring and protecting the other-worldly environment of Iceland. You’ll explore some of the world’s most unique natural wonders and get to know this one-of-a-kind culture in the land of the midnight sun.View Details
Reef To Rainforest Adventure
You’ll never get over the land down under. Revel in all that Australia has to offer by catching waves at Manly Beach, diving or snorkeling the stunning Great Barrier Reef and much more. Get a chance to earn 20 hours of service and make a positive impact in Australia’s rainforest.View Details