“What makes lesbians so altruistic?”
I ask this to Shannon Wentworth, order CEO of Sweet Lesbian Travel whose company “aims to make the world a better place while having a blast in it.” We have Shannon over at our home for breakfast to talk travel with Jenni and I.
She answers the question by giving me some historical background. She says, “lesbians have been at the forefront of every civil rights movement such as getting women the right to vote, abolishing slavery, and fighting for people with AIDS. We understand oppression at a really deep level. We want to see justice in the world.”
How did she come up with the concept of Sweet Travel?
Sweet Lesbian Travel supports “voluntourism” in its cruises, resort, and adventure vacations with a goal of leaving every destination a little better than they found it. Shannon and her business partner, Jen Rainin, brought together their love for philanthropy, travel, and lesbian empowerment. Sweet guests, or “Sweeties,” have the option to participate in community lead projects during their vacations.
Shannon tries to include a volunteer project in the beginning of each vacation because of the way it brings their guests together. Sweeties have replanted a marsh devastated by the hurricane in New Orleans, cleaned up beaches in Mexico, and painted a children’s hospital in Belize. Sweeties get to know one another while working on a common goal. The local community gets a chance to meet lesbians, breakdown homophobia, and see how they contribute to society.
What was the one liner that she used to get a date with her now partner?
Shannon says, “the ripple effect of what we have done has been amazing.” She talks about how a woman returned from a Sweet Cruise to Honduras where Sweeties repainted a children’s learning center. Changed by her vacation, she fundraised $6000 at home to donate six computers to the center. Shannon says, “Sweet attracts the most compassionate, passionate, smart women on earth.”
As a company, Sweet is as socially and environmentally conscious as they come. They start by off setting the carbon footprint of every trip for a guilt free vacation. They set aside $10,000 for a donation matching program for any gift that a Sweetie makes to a non-profit. They also have an interest free payment plan for up to 18 months for all to afford a vacation. Most uniquely, there exists a breakup policy in case your relationship doesn’t make it to the vacation so that you can change the name of your guest and bring a friend (or new girlfriend) instead.
What happens when a lesbian cruise ship travels to a country where homosexuality is illegal?
Sweet vacations sound right up our ally, because clearly Jenni and I can’t take a vacation without attempting to undertake a project of some kind. Shannon seems to have it all, a beautiful partner, kids, and a job that she believes in. We look forward to someday vacationing with her.