BREAKOUT: Let the Needle Move You

By Isaac Simpson

How do you tell the difference between genuine charity and virtue signaling? Are those instas of your friend in Guatemala giving piggyback rides to smiling dirt-clad children authentic or posed? Are we actually helping, or are we running in place?

Amy Merrill is co-founder of Journey, a travel company that allows its clients to crowdfund houses for poor South American families, then empowers them to build the houses with their own two hands. As you can imagine, Journey generates many instas of people piggybacking smiling dirt-clad Guatemalan children.

But according to Amy, who would know, the “why” of purpose-based travel doesn’t really matter. Yep. That’s right. It doesn’t matter why we do it. It’s just what we do. “Showing up” is as human as hunger. We can’t help it. We may think we’re moving the needle by doing charity work, but it’s actually the needle that's moving us.

So give yourself a break. People like helping other people. All the doubt, self-flagellation and cynicism over it gets us exactly nowhere. When we started this interview, we didn’t know that. Watch Amy put us in our place.

Read the full interview with cofounder Amy Merrill here.