Lakshmi Natarajan has been charting the course for her new venture, Travel Plus Them™, since her childhood — she just didn’t know it then.
Natarajan’s journey started as a young girl when traveling frequently to India to visit her family. When she was a student at the University of Pennsylvania, she attended a study abroad program in London and traveled around Europe. Later, in her various executive leadership roles at several Fortune 500 companies, she led initiatives that took her all over the globe. She made it her business to visit new places, some with her parents too. She has traveled to over 60 countries, each experience further fueled her passion for learning about the world and meeting people from different backgrounds.
Fast forward to 2015, when Natarajan became a mother. “People told me that my travel would have to stop once I had children,” she says. “If you know anything about me, you’ll know that I had to find a way.” So she and her husband, Kailash Amruthur, brought their six-week-old daughter on a trip to the British Virgin Islands for a friend’s birthday. The new parents didn’t stop there. In fact, their two daughters Shyla and Shriya, now ages 6 and 4 years old, have been to over 30 countries across 6 continents including safe responsible international travel during the COVID pandemic to deliver on their mission of tourism with a purpose by donating to local orphanages and sharing those insights on her platforms.
It was the experience of sharing her love of travel with her children that inspired Natarajan to create Travel Plus Them™, a travel insights and education company that inspires action and helps families raise their children to be “inclusive global citizens.” By broadening children’s perspectives and exposing them to diverse cultures, Natarajan, who also runs Excelador, a consulting and advisory firm working with corporate clients, aims to revolutionize the way people view—and thus interact in—the world. “Educating our youngest citizens about the world is essential, especially considering the current racial climate and recent events in the US,” she explains. With travel insights aimed at parents planning trips safely during the pandemic as well as education tools that bring the world to homes, Travel Plus Them™ is a one-stop-shop for parents and children to experience the world. “Traveling is not just about the places we visited, it is about who we become through these experiences” she says.
As an Indian-American immigrant and a person of color, her desire to learn about others stemmed from her own experiences with racism and feeling “different” when she was growing up. Inspired by her learnings, she offers programs for Travel Plus Them™ that are tailored to preschool and elementary-aged children that build self-confidence, reinforce respect, and cultivate an appreciation for other cultures. Natarajan is interested in creating equitable opportunities for parents to expose their children to different countries and cultures. Some of the resources currently available on the website include travel guides, diversity toolkits, approaches to embedding global culture at home, and various worksheets for children.
Travel Plus Them™ will continue to expand and provide more resources to families and children with a focus on responsible global travel, global education, and approaches to normalize diversity. In the newly launched “Around the World in 60 Minutes” program, Travel Plus Them™ is providing children one of the greatest gifts of life—a global education. Natarajan’s daughter takes children on a virtual journey across the globe, exploring all seven continents. This is a unique educational program for children to learn about more than 20 countries with resources to reinforce the experience. The program includes one hour of video content, a learning workbook, and a passport craft project. Some of the children who have experienced the program said this was their first exposure to learning about countries around the world. “The feedback has been inspiring to continue on providing resources to families to build a future of diversity, inclusivity, and belonging”, Natarajan says. In the coming years, Lakshmi Natarajan hopes to remain a catalyst for positive change by exposing more people to the world and the different cultures within it- whether it’s through travel experiences or from home.
Visit their website for more information.
Company Name: Travel Plus Them™, Excelador™ (business consulting and advisory firm)
Contact Person: Lakshmi Natarajan
Email: Send Email
Country: United States