Dream Travel Gives Back

costa rica

The first ten or so years of running Dream Travel, I focused on helping my fellow Canadians, both locally in Edmonton and also in Vancouver. After that I branched out to help people in other countries. I still help in Canada and always will, but going forward I’m going to also focus on a different country each year.

To those that know me, Costa Rica is very dear to my heart as it took me in when I was financially forced out of my home in 2008 in order to save my business.

I lost my office, my home, and then sold all my possessions and headed to Costa Rica to drastically lower my living expenses. I was just over $100,000 in debt but had $2000 that my grandmother had left me when she passed. Using that little money, I continued to operate my business, survived six months and created some financial breathing room.  Without the money from my grandmothers estate, I wouldn’t be here today, running my business. I’ll never forget that help that she gave me and where it has taken me. Because of that, I’ll always pay it forward.

Staying in paradise allowed me to pay off my debt and save my business in record time. Since then, I’ve done my best to personally give back in Costa Rica and will also continue to do so in the future.

Now that I’m really focusing on helping others, more so than before, I figured that there’s no better place to find four amazing individuals to focus on for the next year.

Ivan, Francela, Claudia and Mario

These four exceptional individuals featured below, along with their stories, photos and videos, show just how amazing each of them are! They have all broken down barriers and hurdles in almost unimaginable ways but could really use a hand. Their stories are from difficult to absolutely heartbreaking, yet if you met any one of them, you’d never know their struggles as they don’t let their situation or their hurdles limit or define them!

Dream Travel is committing a portion of all sales in 2022 to these individuals below to help them achieve their dreams! Their dreams range from owing a handcycle, to running the New York City Marathon, to opening their own humble business and to getting an education. The people below have inspired us so much that we had to dedicate a page to them. If you wish to personally help out anyone from below, please read on.

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Everyone knows that one person that’s always a breath of fresh air, a positive note on the darkest of days. For me, that person is Francela. Perhaps if you were to first meet her, she’d tried to come off as serious. But within a minute or two, you both would be laughing and smiling – she just brings it out in everyone. She’s an incredible beacon of light and I’m extremely grateful for knowing her!

Francela was born without arms but is the last person to use the word ‘disabled’. In fact, Francela is anything but! She’s faster typing a message on her phone with her feet and toes than I am on my best day with my hands and fingers. She can change a diaper, bathe her baby or do virtually anything else just as anyone born with all four limbs. She told me that growing up, all she wanted to be viewed as was normal. She didn’t want any special attention or treatment, she wanted to be just another person. I can tell you this much, though: she’s anything but just another person! Francela is a superhero, a super mom and a super person in general! Far from normal, simply based on her attitude towards life!

You’d never know it from pictures or her video, but Francela also suffers from MS and has substantial curvature of the spine. Just walking becomes difficult after a short while and most exercise is out of the question. That said, her favorite exercise is swimming and assures me she’s very quick in the river! Her humble dream is to have a private room for her child and her as well as some money for education.

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100% of donations go to the person you choose. Dream Travel pays the bank fees on all transactions.

David McClintock (2)

Ivan went to the hospital in 2006 with a stomach ache that turned out to be a tumor. Fortunately the tumor was removed but he developed an infection that ultimately led to him losing a leg. He spent the next 8 and a half years in a deep depression, never leaving his house and most days not leaving his bed.

In 2017 he had a major shift and he realized that he was lucky to be alive and that he could still live his life, possibly even fuller without the lost limb. He started to run and quickly crushed his depression.

In just 4 short years, Ivan has run 5 races of 5K, 66 races of 10K, 2 races of 11K, 1 race of 12K, 4 races of 15K and 9 Half Marathons! That’s a total of 87 races in 4 years!

His fastest 5K was 36:30, his fastest 10K was 1 hour and six minutes, and his fastest Half Marathon was 2 hours, 45 minutes…all on crutches!

Ivan is a local hero in Costa Rica, being interviewed almost as many times as he’s run races around the country and is now making international news!

Ivan’s biggest dream is to travel to the Big Apple to run the New York City Marathon! If you want to help Ivan get to NY and line up on Race Day, let us know!

Click Here to Help Ivan
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David McClintock (3)

Claudia has had a life of straight out of a movie. Unfortunately, however, not the kind of movie anyone would want to be in. Claudia grew up with a much younger brother and sister and a single mother in a very poor part of Costa Rica. Their humble home, barely held together by pieces of wood and metal, was and is full of laughter and smiling. I’ve honestly never met a happier bunch, despite what they’ve gone through!

Claudia had her first accident in 2003 when she was just 15 years old. She was waved across the street by a man in a car. As she crossed in front, his foot slipped off the brake and onto the gas, hitting her. Not only did Claudia break her ankle, but she ended up with severe nerve damage in her spine to the point that she couldn’t return to school. Instead, she finished high school remotely from home. Even today, 19 years later, she still can’t walk or even sit without substantial pain.

At the same time, her mother and only parent was dealing with cancer and had been for 10 years. Unfortunately, she lost that battle just two years later. Claudia, at the age of 18 and barely over her first accident, became solely in charge of taking care of two younger siblings, putting food on the table, paying the rent, putting them through school, clothing them…everything!

Her second accident, also involving a vehicle hitting her, was in 2010 and it broke her hip and femur and she was bedridden for 3 years, unable to even sit up as she had to wait for a hip replacement. Yet, she still had to support and care for her much younger brother and sister.

Click Here to Help Claudia
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To make ends meet, Claudia started her own knitting business called Creaciones Claudy (Creations by Claudy) but struggles to stay seated long enough to get much done. Her dream is to have a work chair with lumbar support.