'We want to do something more than just going on a trip as a family:' UBC student to fly family around the world for charity

A UBC student and her family are planning to fly around the world to raise money for charity.

Starting in June, third-year environment and sustainability student Samantha Porter will fly herself and her family around the world on a single engine airplane to raise one million dollars for SOS Children’s Villages. The trip will last 14 months.

SOS Children’s Village is an organization that works with orphaned and abandoned children. They have locations in over 134 countries and provide 70,000 orphaned and abandoned children with a home and an SOS mother.

Porter said her and her family wanted a global organization that was non-denominational and “wasn’t guided by any religious restraints.”

According to Porter, the idea to travel around the world and work with a charity organization originated from her dad, and that she was initially skeptical of the trip due to the amount of logistics that went into it.

“My family has always wanted to do an expedition around the world,” said Porter. “Myself, my sister and my dad are all pilots and we've just been wanting to go … We want to do something more than just going on a trip as a family. So we decided to partner with [SOS Children's Village.]”

In order to raise funds for the charity, Porter and her family aim to obtain sponsorships and donations through social media like YouTube videos, TikTok and Instagram. The funds from the sponsorships will go towards the trip and to SOS Children’s Village.

The Porter family consists of Samantha, her sister Sydney, brother Christopher and their parents, Ian and Michelle.

“We're gonna be flying [visual flight regulation] … so we have to have visual contact with the ground the entire time we're flying,” she said. “That's basically one of the reasons why we want to go for 14 months and want to have all the time in the world so we're not pushing any boundaries with weather or putting ourselves into dangerous situations in order to make sure we meet a certain deadline.”

The family is planning to hit two antipodes, which are areas that are exactly opposite of each other around the world. Their trip will be divided in two stages: in stage one of their trip, they will be traveling east through Canada, the United States, then through South America. On stage two, they will be flying across Europe, North Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

They plan on touring Alaska, the Yukon and northern BC before heading to Vancouver at the end of August 2023.

“I've done a bunch of traveling. I have two very adventurous parents and my dad has done a couple charity flights … So this isn't new for him necessarily, but flying around the world in partnership with a charity — that’s really new for me, but I'm very excited,” said Porter.

For more information and to stay updated on their travels, visit the family’s website.