Lines of Latitude is a non-profit organization specifically designed to help financially disadvantaged students travel around the world. It is our mission to provide our participants with real life experiences which help broaden their horizons. We believe the world is our classroom and all people have the right to travel.
Our world is changing and becoming increasingly interconnected, and it is extremely important that all students, no matter their socioeconomic background, are allowed the chance to travel and share in our world’s varying cultures. We hope to inspire, unify and broaden the intellectual, artistic, and cultural diversity of our participants.
Our travelers are mostly high school seniors, so their 10-18 day trip usually departs immediately after graduation. An instant cultural shift takes place in their lives, as we welcome them to find a new found freedom as an adult in our world, which allows them to psychologically release the American constraint they have perceived themselves to have been living in as a teenager, all the while visiting historical monuments, art museums and tasting authentic European cuisine.
LOL guarantees many assets to our traveler’s character while also imparting new vigor to one’s mind.
-understanding other cultures on a deeper level
-finding patience within themselves
-discovering how to communicate through language barriers
-acceptance of cultural rituals and personalities
-discovering all of their five senses
-learning the difference from relying on maps, vs. asking for help
-exploring unmapped avenues without fear of the unknown
-creating a more joyful existence for their own futures
-providing a better sense of their own community
all the while, experiencing the newfound freedom of their adult choices.
When Tylene graduated high school, the American tradition was to take a backpacking excursion through Europe. She promised herself, “one day, when I have the money, I will go.”
It wasn’t until fifteen years later, as a high school English teacher, that she realized a trip to Europe wasn’t as far off as she expected. After deciding to chaperone 8 students on a 10-day trip to Europe, she was on a plane headed to the famous streets, cities, and museums that she had only dreamed of in novels and history books. Tylene could see the excited faces of her students as they saw firsthand the wonders of Europe. She was hooked. However, because the trip was with a major tour company, there were some shortcomings: they were herded with other students they didn’t know onto humid buses which lead them to cafeteria style dining and hotels that were thirty minutes outside the center of town.
The next summer, she took 13 kids on a longer trip, using a different tour company. This time, she realized that the restaurants and museum stops were the same as the first trip. Her kids were being brought to “tourist traps” without any chance or time to explore the city on their own. Tylene watched the tour director closely, and thought. “I can do that, and I can do it on a better individual level for my kids”, and she did. In 2009, Tylene booked the hotels, found the optional tours and was able to purchase plane, train and all bus tickets for her kids, creating a cheaper budget and more authentic experience than any of the tour companies around. Her travelers get to experience the freedom of being a tourist, but also have a tour director handling all of the paperwork for their trip.
After the first trip, she realized most of the students who had the desire to go, didn’t have the money. She didn’t want her students to repeat the same cliché that she told herself – “when I have the money, I will go” – and wait 15 years to do it. So, Tylene founded the non profit Lines of Latitude. A 501 (c) (3) which focuses on giving scholarships to students who have their own dreams of travel.