International Exploration Society
Experiencing the World
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Testimonials

“A penny for their thoughts, and they threw their two cents in.”

    – We are touched.

Academics / Beneficiary

William Bester, Federation Council

Principal, South African Federation of Waldorf Schools

Dr. Michael Higgins, your generosity in brining a SUITCASE full of art supplies all the way from the United States to South Africa is heartwarming.  This is a gift with a huge impact on our students.  Art is a luxury here  in Africa, which you made possible to enrich the cultural and creative education of our Waldorf students. 

You have helped us fulfill several aspects of our Vision Statements in nurturing true humanity and social consciousness through the expression of art.   We believe that learning should be artistic and imaginative; developing a child’s emotional life and artistic expression in the visual arts is paramount.  Opening your SUITCASE opens the doors to what we believe in and foster in our schools. 

Thank you.  All of us here express our sincere gratitude and desire to work with you further.


Aviators / Explorers

John & Carli Vandervort

Pilot & Aircraft Owners (Beech Baron, Beechjet, Citation, and Challenger)

We particularly enjoy exotic, adventurous locations and this trip offered us so much of what we like in adventurous activity combined with idea of bush flying, wild game drives, etc.  We did not think that Africa would still have as much raw untouched land or the amount of traditional native habitat.  We were very happy that the animal encounters were not contrived and that we were exposed to the size and breadth of the adventure.  We were amazed at just how close and direct the connection was with the animals.

This was a substantially different trip for us.  We dealt with weather issues, fueling availability, navigation, communications, logistics, etc.  It was all part of the experience to rely on our own abilities to manage every aspect of the trip. And this was an adventure… with great fun and great partners. 

We continue to talk a lot about being able to watch the animals hunt, usually without success, and to survive or not without the visible assistance of man.


Aviators / Explorers

Allan & Christine Gardner

Both Pilots and Own Two Private Airplanes

We hate flying commercial but that is the only way to get all the way from Florida to Africa so we ended up on South African Airlines in first class with seats that turned into beds.  That was the start of the adventure.

The first pleasant surprise was meeting our fellow travelers.  It was amazing the amount of things we all had in common since most were pilots who loved to travel and have adventures.

The second surprise was in an unplanned destination stop in what seemed to us the middle of nowhere in Africa.  To our great surprise we were on the outskirts of a beautiful little town where we met the most amazing family.  They opened their magnificent home to us, they prepared a feast for us for dinner, and they wined and dined us.  When we finally retired to our rooms for the night after a day that seemed like a week, there was fresh lavender sprinkled on the bath towels set out for us.

All this before we met a single animal!

Then finally we were seeing animals.  At night the lions walked by our vehicle so close we could reach out to touch them if we dared.  A herd of Rhinos marched around in disgust the fresh kill of a pregnant giraffe, while the lioness who killed it and her cubs proudly watched.

All in all, we have been to London, Paris, Rome, chartered sailboats in the West Indies, took a boat all around Cape Cod, traveled to Haiti in our own boat, and flown our airplane all over the place for 25 years, but this trip to Africa was the best ever.  The entire thing was totally unexpected.


Philanthropic Partner / Beneficiary

Tarryn Davidson

Public Relations Director, Conservation Corporation Africa

Thanks SO much for the fantastic coverage on Sossusvlei and Namibia – it is really incredible and I hope it generates more interest for Namibia.


Academics / Explorer

Tal Fineberg

Ranger/Tracker, Ngala Private Game Reserve

Thank you, I am chuffed that you want to use my inspirational thoughts about Africa and include me in your expedition.


In this world there are few bonds stronger than that of a mother and child, yet so many of Earth’s children have lost theirs with Mother Nature.  Deep inside everyone the connection is still there and sometimes you need to surround yourself with the wild to reawaken your soul.


Living amongst wild animals is a privilege that can only be understood by those who are fortunate enough to have experienced it, even if it was only for a moment.


If anyone has doubted the maternal instinct they haven’t seen a lioness protect her young.


Philanthropic Partner / Beneficiary

Victoria Li

Executive Director, Calistoga Family Center

Through Project Suitcase, the Calistoga Family Center received financial support, clothing, suitcases and an educational experience for our children on Valentine’s Day.  Our community is still experiencing positive benefits from your trip.  In the past spring, one of our clients had triplets.  We were able to provide her with two suitcases with pink and blue clothing!

Project Suitcase’s educational component also had a major impact on our students.  More than ten children visited the airport to view the private airplanes.  Many of these children had never seen a private airport or private airplanes.  One young girl asked if females could fly airplanes..  Luckily two of your female clients were pilots.   It was wonderful to see the reaction on her face when she learned that females could actually fly and nothing prevented her from learning how to fly.   Due to the generosity of your clients, the children were able to actually touch and sit in the cockpits of the airplanes.  

At the Calistoga Family Center, we struggle to create healthy families and break the cycle of poverty.  Project Suitcase helped further that goal by providing the students with an experience which cannot be measured in mere dollars.  On Valentine’s Day, Project Suitcase opened a door for these children.  The children walked away from the airport, with the knowledge, that if they worked hard they could one day take flight and see the world.  The Calistoga Family Center cannot thank you enough for instilling these high expectations and dreams in our children.

The National Aviation Society is considered a valuable partner and friend.


Philanthropic Partner / Beneficiary

David Waaso

Superintendent,  Mackinac Island School

Thank you for organizing the Fly-In at Mackinac Island and bringing “gifts” for our students and staff.  It is greatly appreciated.  It was also nice to see the kids enjoy the planes.

Good luck with your Flying Adventures and Project Suitcase programs and thanks from all of us at our island school.


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