Donor Spotlight: Danielle & Mathew
FLYTE is more than a non-profit organization. It is a community built by supporters and donors who want to empower students to change their lives – and the world – through travel.
Danielle & Mathew are pure #couplegoals. Mat has committed to donating a percentage of his income to FLYTE because he learned about us through his girlfriend, Danielle. They are both still in university and are proof to anyone that you can make a big impact on the world, regardless of where you are in life.
So grateful to them both and we’re excited to witness what this duo of changemakers will accomplish in the future!
Tell us about yourself.
Hello, my name is Danielle. I’m a senior in college, which gave me my initial exposure to the world of travel. Some hobbies I regularly partake in are reading both fantasy and nonfiction, working out, and planning all of the potential trips for the rest of my life.
Now that she’s done being the mature one, my name’s Mat. Have you ever made jalapeño chip breading with your feet? Or been in a dryer? How about skip class with the professor who teaches the class? Hello, that is me. I’m a rising senior in college and I like traveling alone but love traveling with Danielle. She makes it special. I’m incredibly career-oriented, looking to become a consultant and eventually maybe my own business owner. Thank goodness she helps me balance out.
How has travel impacted your life?
Danielle here: My first and second trips abroad, were short term (10 days) study abroad programs with my school to both Italy and Greece. Before that, I always had a little interest in travel but walking the cobblestone in Rome, eating pounds of gelato in Florence, and getting lost in the dizzying streets of Venice only made me ask one question: How do I get more? Since then, I’ve planned trips with friends to Ireland, Scotland, and the Dominican Republic. This itch to travel also shows in my reading tastes, as I gradually find myself gravitating towards socio-cultural and anthropological books and articles in order to get a little travel in every day. My current read is The Nordic Theory of Everything by Anu Partanen.
Mat: I don’t know how travel has impacted my life. I’ve been traveling since I was 2 weeks old (I didn’t book the tickets), and so I always took it for granted. Yes, I’m a brat. Though I’m sure I’d be much less understanding of others and less curious about people if I wasn’t exposed to different cultures my whole life.
What’s your favorite travel memory?
Danielle: After much thought, if forced to choose, I would say visiting the Theatre of Epidaurus in Greece, as part of my school’s program. While I’m not one to pick up an Ancient Greek play on the regular, I’m admittedly always the dork who loves reading it and writing essays analyzing it. During the visit, we took turns having someone stand at the “stage” of the theatre and talking at normal volume, and someone sits at the highest seat to test the amphitheater. It still works, which leaves me astounded and wonder if our dependency on modern-day technology would make it impossible to, or if people would even be willing to out of love of the arts, replicate it by manual labor, as the Greeks did.
Mat: I enjoyed going to camp in Israel. It was the first time I felt free enough to be me. It was also the first time I realized that I could like being me and that others could like me, too.
Why did you choose to support FLYTE?
Danielle: I dislike how much of our lives depends on our background and the chance of being born into a well off family. I was lucky to both get a scholarship to college and to be born in a financially comfortable family. The idea of so many people being unable to experience more than their small corner of the world due to just bad luck of the draw is not something I am content with.
Mat: Her. I like donating but don’t know who to donate to. So Danielle chose for me!
What advice would you give someone who’s about to take their first trip abroad?
Danielle: Remove expectations of foreign cultures that are based on American media and in stereotypes. If you’re able to, take a day (or more!) to simply wander your new surroundings aimlessly, with no plan in mind, and surrender yourself to serendipity.
Mat: Would it be cute if I told you she wrote almost the same thing that I was going to? And no, I didn’t plan that. So, in case it wasn’t clear enough, have an itinerary, but also have room for random. Serendipity. Fun mistakes.
Carmela is FLYTE’s Executive Director. She’s also a non-profit & data science consultant, math enthusiast, remote worker, and self-proclaimed chocolate chip cookie connoisseur. Since 2012, she’s been intentionally creating a life that combines her love for youth empowerment, travel, statistics, and social impact.