Virtuoso Life September 2018 Jessica Hall Upchurch: How Sustainable Travel Changes Your Life

Jessica Hall Upchurch: How Sustainable Travel Changes Your Life

The Upchurch family at Vermejo Ranch with Rutherford Seydel and<br />
Laura Turner Seydel.
The Upchurch family at Vermejo Ranch with Rutherford Seydel and
Laura Turner Seydel.
Virtuoso sustainability ambassador Jessica Hall Upchurch, affectionately known as “Mother Earth with a lasso,” shares how purpose-driven travel can make the world a better place.

Over the past two years, your family has embarked on a series of holidays with companies committed to sustainability. Has this changed your view on travel?

We quickly realized how positive we felt about taking a vacation connected to a greater purpose. Sustainable travel has enhanced each of us individually and as
a family – the experiences are deeper and more meaningful. Our two boys
were particularly inspired to learn about different ways they can help protect the planet. They’ve told us that they like going to places that are committed to sustainability more than those that are not.

Is sustainable travel the new normal for the Upchurch clan?

Unequivocally, yes! It’s phenomenally fulfilling and delightfully fun – in fact, traveling with this mind-set feels like we’re weaving a web of connectedness with people across the planet who love to travel, care about nature, and want to give back in positive ways.

What do you hope your kids take away from these experiences?

How we humans all live on one planet, breathing the same air, desiring the same basic needs, and wanting love for our families. And how they can undoubtedly do their part, with joy and ease, to make the world a better place.

Tell us about your recent family trip to Vermejo Park Ranch in New Mexico with Ted Turner Expeditions.

If you like nature, you’ll love this place. Vermejo is more than half a million acres of wilderness that Ted Turner has restored and protected. It’s like having a national park to yourself. They organized a surprise Champagne picnic for us on a rock outcrop overlooking a valley where the buffalo really do roam and the deer and the antelope graze! We’d go back in a heartbeat. Our boys also really enjoyed the fishing, target shooting, and archery.

How is Vermejo helping lead the way?

For the Turner family, there’s no stone unturned, no question that can’t be asked, no answer beyond reach when it comes to creating a more sustainable future for our planet. They have restored entire ecosystems, helped bring the American bison back from the brink of extinction, and are demonstrating how a great vacation can go hand in hand with caring for our planet.

Is sustainable travel here to stay?

Absolutely! This is increasingly evident, as we read and hear about it almost daily in the travel media. There’s immense good to be done – how fortunate we all are to be a part of it.

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