Last year, Atlas purchased a couple of nights in a Cambodian villa at a charity auction hosted by Web In Travel (WiT). We used it last month to surprise a Cambodian family with their first holiday together.
La Villa Des Palmes is located in Kep, near the Gulf of Thailand. Boasting black sand beaches, a national park and the world famous Kampot pepper, Kep is a popular destination for off-the-beaten-track international tourists.
For our Cambodian family, it was the first opportunity to see the smallest province of their homeland and for some, the first time visiting the coast. It had taken the grandmother a lifetime to be able to leave her hometown on the outskirts of Phnom Penh.
“Today, I am traveling,” she said as the van pulled up to escort the family to their holiday residence. “I am like the bird in the cage that can’t see anything outside.”
This is precisely why Atlas exists and why our team are so proud to enable more people to travel, in more meaningful ways.
Our teams are intent on building the best travel technology to help the low-cost travel segment grow – to make travel more affordable and accessible to everyone.
That’s because we believe travel creates inclusion and acceptance in the world. Only through travel do we experience what it’s like for others – to see the world as they do – to appreciate our differences and celebrate our similarities.
Our Cambodian family comprised four underprivileged teenagers and their grandmother, who cares for them full–time. Supported by Dara Children’s Trust and Stellar Child Care Organization, the family have received education and financial aid for over a decade. But, there’s not much left over for travel or entertainment.
The trip to Kep included a visit to Bokor Mountain, a pepper plantation and the sea. Confused by seeing waves for the first time, the youngest grand-daughter exclaimed: “It is very beautiful and unique here. There is a river, a very big river…. No, it is the sea. I’m confused!”
For everyone, the trip enabled them to spend some well-deserved time together, while expanding their horizons and experiencing new places, different people and lifestyles. It provided inspiration and motivation for the teenagers, who are often constrained by such a small sphere of influence where they live.
“It makes me feel relaxed and it gives me the energy to study” said the eldest of the four.
Atlas will keep in touch with this family and look forward to seeing the impact of this first holiday on these young minds and hearts.
We wish them well and hope this first trip has inspired them to dream bigger and experience more of what the world has to offer.