Meet Vincie Ho, the creator of Paths Crossing card game, and learn more about her sustainable travel card game!
About Vincie: My life mission is to educate as many people as I can, especially on social justice issues
I’m originally from Hong Kong. I spent several years studying in Europe, and I officially moved to the US in 2014. My background is in language teaching and linguistics, which were the focus of my Ph.D. I’m also a French and Cantonese teacher.
My life’s mission is to educate as many people around me as I can on the pressing issues facing our planet and all people. I’m particularly passionate about social justice issues. My aim as an educator is to provide others with important tools, such as systems thinking and other critical thinking skills, to be able to understand and address these issues.
I realized that I wasn't contributing the benefits towards the tourism destinations. That led me to sustainable travel.
I've always loved traveling, and I’ve traveled both for work and vacation. As I grew as a traveler, I became mindful of the many impacts that traveling can have on our travel destinations, and that these impacts are not always positive. I wanted to be part of the solution, which led me to the world of sustainable travel. Regardless of how mindful we try to be, there is always more to learn. All of my life experiences led me into wanting to become a more mindful traveler, and also wanting to inspire people around me to do the same. That was how it all began.
The famous tree-climbing goats are not natural. They are put up there for a performance.
One special sustainable travel experience was my trip to Morocco with my husband.
We traveled to Morocco during Ramadan, and we intentionally made sure that every step of our trip was done sustainably. For example, in choosing the kind of hotel we stayed in, and where we spent our money, trying to ensure that our money really went to help support the local economy. We prioritized interactions with the locals, rather than with tourists like us. We also tried to avoid sites that are usually overcrowded.
In Morocco, there's a place that is famous for its tree-climbing goats, which is usually a photo stop for a lot of tourists. Of course, these photos are cute. But when I researched it further, I learned that those poor goats actually were put up there because of the photo opportunity. They're actually performative, it's not because they do that naturally. But people would see a picture of that on Instagram and say, “Okay, that's on my to-do list when I go to Morocco.”
I try to approach travel in a different way, centering education of myself and others. I try to tell people that this is not the right thing to do. And you really have to set an example because you can't just go there and do it and then tell people not to do it. So, we made sure that was not on our itinerary.
Instead, we went to an animal sanctuary that we did a lot of research on, to see whether it's something performative or if it's operated sustainably, and if it is really caring for the well-being of the animals. And then, every step of the way, we hired our own local tour guides. We learned so much from them. We asked them to tell us stories about what local life is like, and what they think about the history that we read previously about in textbooks and magazines. There was a lot of cultural exchange.
Before a trip, decide what you want to get out of your trip, and whether your visit would positively or negatively impact the local community.
One day, we went to this women's cooperative for a cooking class, which was actually a culinary training school for victims of domestic violence. They have cooking classes for tourists, not only for them to experience Moroccan culinary culture, but also to tell us stories about gender inequality in Morocco, which was really eye-opening and inspiring. All these things wouldn't happen if you don't do your research. Before you go on a trip, you have to intentionally decide what you want to get out of your trip, and whether your visit would positively or negatively impact the local community. We need to think about these things before we set foot in a particular country.
It wasn’t really in my plan to create a card game.
It wasn't really in my plan to create a card game. In October or November of 2017, when I was researching what Christmas gifts I should get for my stepsons, I didn't want to get them robots or plastic toys. I thought, maybe I could get them some educational board games or card games. And then, my husband suddenly said, “Why don't you create a game?” That was the beginning of the Paths Crossing card game.
Creating this game was a huge learning curve because I had to do something I was not good at.
My favorite story about the process of creating the Paths Crossing game involves the major challenges that I came across. It took me just one day to write all the questions. But then it took me the following six months to learn how to do all the research on manufacturers. I had to find a sustainable printing manufacturer, and think about packaging and shipping. All these logistical things were the most challenging. In the beginning, I tried to design the card game by myself, but I realized that I'm really not good at that. So I had to outsource this to a designer. The whole process was completely new to me. My background is in academia. It was a huge learning curve. It was also an amazing experience because I shifted from being an old-school academic to an entrepreneur. I learned to do all these things that I never thought I would do.
One of the advantages of travel is that it breaks our stereotypes.
My favorite cards are “Name one person you’ve met during your travels who’s become a life-long friend.” and “Describe someone, something or an event that has changed a stereotype you had about a culture.” One of the advantages of travel is that it challenges our preconceived notions and helps to break down stereotypes. I want to know other people’s “aha!” moments.
Sustainable travel is not just about the environment.
Sustainable travel is not just about the environment. Sustainable travel is about how we, as visitors, can minimize our negative impacts on the local economy, communities, and animals. Also, sustainable travel is about how we can create a personal impact on the travel destinations. It’s not just about mitigating carbon footprint. It’s about mindful cultural exchange, leveraging tourism dollars to help communities develop in a sustainable way, and contributing to the travel destinations so that their eco-systems can thrive. Although many people think about sustainable travel as being interchangeable with eco-friendly travel, we want to go beyond that. We care about the entire ecosystem, including the economy and community, so that it can thrive as a whole.
Build relationships and learn sustainable travel through a fun game.
The purpose of the game is twofold. First, through a fun game, you can connect with your friends, or with new people who you meet while traveling. By exchanging travel tales, you can build relationships. And the second thing is, we can educate more travelers on how to travel more sustainably and mindfully through all the tips and reflection prompts in the card game.
Vincie’s card game “Paths Crossing”
Paths Crossing is a fun party game packed with conversation starters, travel trivia and reflection prompts that inspire responsible and sustainable travel decisions and foster meaningful connections.
Paths Crossing is the only travel card game available on the market specially created for the sustainable travel community - besides centering our content on sustainability, we also support fair trade, use sustainable packaging, and donate a portion of our profit to social good initiatives.
Review from the customer
"My experience with this game has been excellent -- I would give it six stars if I could. It's the only game I've ever seen of its kind -- an easy to play, conversation-based game that leads to new information, stories and connection in such fun, cool ways. It's a must-have for those who travel or who have an avid traveller in their lives -- and so beautifully packaged, you'll be proud to give it as a gift."