Photo Credit: Olan Adeyemi (@some.frozen.moments)
Inside The Peculiar Travel 'School's Out' Group Trip Curated For Black Educators
Larif Hamm is the 33-year-old CEO and founder of travel curation company, Peculiar Travel. An entrepreneur originally from Chester, PA Larif is currently based between the US and Mexico. He launched his company in December 2019, amidst a difficult battle with an unknown eating disorder that had plagued his life for the previous two years.
“I prayed daily and asked God to heal what the doctors could not diagnose,” said Larif. “My healing came just a short week after Peculiar Travel became an official limited liability company. From that moment forward, I made a vow to God that this company would be centered around Him and that my testimony would be shared with the world through travel.”
Having visited 23 countries around the world thus far, Larif now helps bring others’ travel dreams to life. Peculiar Travel specializes in curating group trips and experiences to places the normal traveler wouldn’t think to explore.
The company also has a philanthropic initiative called Passport To Purpose (P2P), which purchases passports for youth in under-served communities with the goal of setting a foundation for the youth to travel and explore life outside their normal experiences. A portion of each Peculiar Travel group trip goes towards this initiative.
This June, Peculiar Travel kicked off the summer with the inaugural School’s Out, a group trip to Cancun curated just for educators. The COVID-19 pandemic brought about an unprecedented time for us all. School buildings were closing, and parents had to figure out how to balance work and serving as an educator for their children. As a full-time entrepreneur with a very flexible schedule, Larif’s sister entrusted him to assist his eight-year-old niece with her virtual learning. This experience allowed him to see firsthand just how difficult the pandemic was for educators.
“As each school day passed by, I could see how stressed and exhausted her actual teacher (and I) were trying to teach, assist, and handle a large class of second grade students via Zoom. I knew that the solution to this problem would be to organize a vacation, curated specifically for educators. School’s Out created a safe space for educators to celebrate their freedom from virtual and hybrid learning with an all-inclusive and peculiar experience!”
School’s Out attendees engaged in a fun itinerary in which each event had a school-inspired theme:
- School’s Out Welcome Mixer – This welcome mixer allowed guests to meet fellow educators and new friends. The event included an icebreaker, music, an international open bar, and hors d’oeuvres.
- Recess Beach Olympics – The group enjoyed playing pool volleyball hosted by the resort’s Vibe Team.
- Studentless (Bottomless) Brunch – This brunch party held on the rooftop of the Royalton CHIC Suites’ Level 18 Restaurant included a brunch buffet, bottomless mimosas, Giant Jenga, Uno games, and great music.
- Adult Swim– One of the highlights of School’s Out was this lit catamaran boat party.
- The Assembly (Farewell Sunset Dinner Party) – The educators enjoyed a three-course dinner and music by DJ K Dot. The special guest and keynote speaker of the evening was John Hopkins professor, political commentator, and cast member of the hit Bravo series Real Housewives of Potomac, Dr. Wendy Osefo. Peculiar Travel also presented awards, including The Overcomer Award and The Game Changer Award.”
“I’m sure we all remember being in assemblies at school with other students. However, this assembly was solely for the educators to uplift, celebrate, and recognize them for their hard work and efforts during the pandemic. It was truly an honor to have Dr. Wendy Osefo as the first keynote speaker of the inaugural School’s Out. As an Educator and a mother having to ‘virtual teach’ during the pandemic, Dr. Osefo understood the assignment and was perfect for the occasion. Her speech inspired and empowered the educators and acknowledged that their work is instrumental in the lives of our children.”
As someone who loves to give back and serve the community, Larif admires the efforts of Dr. Osefo and her nonprofit organization, the 1954 Equity Project. An ode to the monumental Brown vs. The Board of Education Supreme Court decision, the 1954 Equity Project provides tools, mentorship, and resources for underrepresented minorities to thrive in higher education.
On behalf of Peculiar Travel, he presented Dr. Osefo with a $500 check to aid in the continued services and efforts of the 1954 Equity Project for minority students in higher education.
“We all can attest that this may have been the most stressful school year for our essential workers in education, due to the pandemic and the many unforeseen changes we experienced. The appreciation and fulfillment that each educator showed during School’s Out made all the planning and sacrifices worth it. Over twenty educators arrived as strangers and left as one big family. I will continue to stay in this lane, curating vibes that set travelers apart.”
Having created a great buzz on social media and receiving overwhelming inquiries regarding the next educators’ trip, Peculiar Travel looks forward to hosting the School’s Out group trip every year and expects to double or triple their registration numbers next year.
Peculiar Travel will be concluding Summer ’21 with a curated group trip entitled M.A.P., which will take place August 19-23. On this trip, a group of adventurous travelers will visit three of Mexico’s most underrated cities: (M)erida, (A)kumal and (P)laya del Carmen. Visit www.peculiartravel.com and follow @peculiartravel for more information on upcoming trips