GOOD Travel celebrates five years!

Eliza Raymond
Jul 23, 2023

GOOD Travel has turned five!


We hope you enjoyed our video! At the end, you may have spotted some of our co-founders. We realised that you probably don't know very much about us, so we decided to take this opportunity to tell you a little about our story and share some interesting facts! 

Did you know that GOOD Travel was co-founded by four women from New Zealand, South Africa, Peru and the USA? In fact, we are such an international team that we've never all been in the same country at the same time! Fortunately, our passion for sustainable and ethical travel, our core values, and of course Skype, have enabled us to develop a shared vision for GOOD Travel.

Heidy and Eliza first met in Cusco, Peru working at Maximo Nivel
Shelley and Eliza first met hiking Kilimanjaro in Tanzania
Caitie and Eliza met in Wellington, New Zealand working at Global Volunteer Network (GVN). Shelley and Caitie also first met in New Zealand through GVN in 2010.

The idea for GOOD Travel was born over some Pisco Sours in a restaurant in Peru. The restaurant was set up by a non-profit organisation to generate income for their work. We were inspired by the idea that by drinking delicious cocktails in the tourist hotspot of Cusco we could directly support the work of a non-profit organisation doing fantastic work to empower marganialised youth. As we began to do some research, we quickly realised that there were places like this all over the world - tourism businesses using tourism dollars to do GOOD for their community, economy and environment.

The seed for the GOOD Travel concept was planted and a few years later, we began talking about what a social enterprise focused on transforming tourism into a force for GOOD might look like. We originally talked about developing a guidebook, then an accreditation system for GOOD tourism businesses. Slowly our vision has clarified to focus on where we feel our strengths as a team lies - in inspiring and empowering travellers to have a positive impact on the places they visit.

Fast-forward five years and here we are - a little more wrinkly, a lot more travelled, and as passionate as ever about sustainable tourism!

Caitie Goddard is GOOD Travel's USA Representative. Caitie is based in Washington D.C. but grew up in Detroit, Michigan which she credits for sparking her interest in community and economic development. 

Interesting fact - Caitie used to play Division I basketball for the University of Detroit-Mercy Titans. Her love of sport taught her the value of teamwork, hard work, and that people will always put more effort into anything when they feel they are part of a larger goal.

Caitie’s first experience with global travel wasn’t until she was 22; a family trip to Lebanon sparked a deep curiosity and appreciation for other languages and cultures, along with a realisation that another learning-journey was just starting. Caitie works in global development and along with allocating time to support GOOD Travel, she teaches Entrepreneurship, Innovation, and Social Change for the University for Peace Centre for Executive Education. Of GOOD Travel Caitie states:

Creating GOOD Travel has been one of the most fun, difficult, and rewarding experiences of my life. It’s so exciting to work with other women who recognise the tourism sector has real power; power to play a leadership role in addressing global challenges affecting social, economic, and gender inequality.

Heidy Aspilcueta was born and raised in Cusco, Peru. She holds a MBA from ESAN university in Lima and has over ten years of experience managing operations of tours and volunteer programmes in Latin America and the Caribbean. 

Heidiy is currently focusing on her role as Mum to her beautiful son Facu in Cusco as well as working for an organisation providing essential healthcare to rural areas in Peru. Interesting fact - before starting her family, Heidy liked to spend her time doing 'extreme ironing'! If you've never heard of this rather unusual extreme sport, give it a Google!

She is most proud of the values and vision that GOOD Travel was founded on and which continue to guide and drive us:

Everything we do at GOOD Travel is based on transparency, honesty and generosity. Since starting GOOD Travel, we have always had a clear vision: to create opportunities for travellers to connect with GOOD tourism businesses. I am proud of our tourism partners for the work that they do with their communities: they support those with the least and they ensure their work is carried out in harmony with society and the environment.

Shelley Bragg is GOOD Travel's Director of Development and also dedicates much of her time to coordinating and leading GOOD Travel trips. Based in Bangkok, Thailand, she has lived in five different countries in her life and travelled to more than 30.

Interesting fact – Shelley's family is truly global too! She has a sister in the USA, a sister in South Africa, her Mom is in Vietnam and her Dad is in Bahrain. Travel has been a part of her life since she was two years old and she feels very passionately about the power of travel to open people’s minds, provide perspective and positively shape our world-views. Equally passionate about sustainable development, she loves playing a role in transforming one of the world’s fastest growing industries into a force for GOOD.

At the moment, Shelley volunteers her time to GOOD Travel. Working in marketing for a leading international school in Bangkok, she gives her weekends and holidays to the cause. She is excited about the partnerships we have and continue to form with incredible organisations and people around the world. At GOOD Travel we strongly believe in the African proverb: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” Shelley states: 

I am excited to see the great strides being made to transform the tourism industry. We constantly hear GOOD news stories from around the world about positive steps being taken to protect our environment, to celebrate and maintain local cultures, and in community-based tourism. The industry is changing and we get to play a role in that. That’s incredible!

Eliza Raymond is GOOD Travel's New Zealand contingent. Based in Wellington, she leads all of GOOD Travel's day-to-day operations. She lives with her husband, cat and baby bump - soon to turn into her first baby girl in April!

Eliza has travelled since she was very young and - interesting fact - celebrated her third birthday in Tibet! She believes that all her travelling has been a huge privilege and sees GOOD Travel as a way to give back to some of the places and people she's connected with over the years.

It certainly hasn't always been smooth sailing though. Eliza was the first member of the GOOD Travel team to leave her full-time job and dive into GOOD Travel. This pushed Eliza and the GOOD Travel team to transform GOOD Travel from a hobby into a financially sustainable social enterprise - a challenging but exciting journey!

We asked Eliza what she's most proud of with GOOD Travel:

I'm most proud of the relationships we've built over the past five years. We have worked with so many inspiring tourism businesses, trip partners, non-profit organisations and travellers, and I feel really grateful to have had the opportunity to be a part of their work and lives. This is what keeps me going!

We hope you enjoyed learning a little more about GOOD Travel's story! We would also like to acknowledge our staff, advisers, partners and GOOD travellers for the central role that you have each played in making GOOD Travel what it is today. As we look ahead to the next five years, we would love to hear what you would like to see GOOD Travel focus on and accomplish. Please share in the comments below - thank you!

July 23, 2023
5 min read