Reports / The Next-Gen Explorer

Lilliana Libecki in Peru; Photograph by Margaret King

This 14 year old is the future of exploration.

Meet Lilliana Libecki. Growing up in Salt Lake City with a National Geographic Explorer for a dad, Lilli was exposed to a very unique life of travel, arts, and adventure. Some of her first passions in life were skiing, soccer, playing music, and world travel. By the time she was 12 years old, she had been on major adventures on all seven continents. Today, she has been to more than 25 countries, participated in five major humanitarian expeditions, and started her own nonprofit, The Joyineering Fund. Her humanitarian expeditions to Africa, Nepal, and Peru helped tens of thousand of people with new solar energy, Dell laptops, water treatment, and supplies. From local efforts to global communities, she is making a difference in the world and inspiring others.

But she has to earn this lifestyle of adventure and humanitarianism. Lilli’s dad, Mike, says she has to get straight As, be on the honor roll, and do well in school first—and she has done just that. Lilli has also spoken at film festivals to corporate events around the world about her passion to give back and make the world a better place. Her adventures have been featured in several films, and she has won several grants from the American Alpine Club and other organizations. You will usually find her playing the mandolin, skiing, hanging out with her friends, taking care of her many animals, or studying for a math test.

In a world where we can be and do anything, be kind and do good.
— Lilliana Libecki
ROAM: The Next-Gen Explorer
Mike and Lilliana Libecki in Antarctica; Photograph by Mike Schirf


• At 11, she did her first ski expedition in Antarctica for first ascents and descents, becoming the youngest girl to do this
• At 12, she summited Kilimanjaro and brought solar energy and new laptops for humanitarian work in orphanages in Tanzania
• At 13, she trekked 150+ miles in Nepal, climbed an 18,000-foot peak, all while doing humanitarian work delivering solar energy and new computers for those in need
• Before turning 14, she founded her own nonprofit, The Joyineering Fund, to focus on giving back on a larger scale
• At 14, she went to Peru and climbed and 18,000-foot peak, Ishinca, and lead a major humanitarian project with new computer centers and solar energy, she also went to Antarctica again to share the need for conservation and that the Antarctic Treaty should be worldwide. Her new film comes out in February.

ROAM: The Next-Gen Explorer
Lilliana Libecki in Peru; Photograph by Margaret King


What is your goal with your foundation?
Lilliana Libecki: My main goal in mind is to get the word out about the non-profit and start getting people outside and giving back to others. I realize not everyone has the opportunities to give back like I do, so I aim to inspire people to even just pick up trash, volunteer at a shelter, or even donate. I would like for The Joyineering Fund to help people give back and become a global foundation known for making a positive difference in the world.

What types of humanitarian projects have you done so far?
Lilliana Libecki: In Africa, Nepal, and Peru, we have installed solar panels, lights, and solar generators to provide electricity for schools. In Nepal we also installed them in monasteries and a dental clinic. We have also donated Dell laptops to help provide education. In Nepal and Peru, we have thousands of shoes and socks to students and the communities.

What’s your favorite part of helping someone?
Lilliana Libecki: My favorite part of helping someone is putting their needs before my own. It is more rewarding to spread the joy and love then have it all to yourself. It is an essential part of life to make sure that you are being kind and doing good, never take things for granted and always think of others before yourself.

Which humanitarian adventure was most challenging?
Lilliana Libecki: For me, the most challenging would have been the humanitarian trip in Peru. This is because of a decision to not climb a mountain and check it off the list, but instead go back down to Pashpa (the school where the humanitarian work took place) and complete our work to make sure we had given 100 percent effort. This was a tough choice choosing to make the right decision of helping others and not doing another thing important to you.

Do you miss much school while on these adventures? Do you study while traveling?
Lilliana Libecki: Most of my travels are during my summer breaks, so I do not have school work to complete on trips. However when I do miss school, my teachers support me and make sure I have everything I need to be caught up. I do my studying on planes and turn in my work when I get back.

What have you learned from traveling the world?
Lilliana Libecki: I have learned valuable lessons from traveling the world. Some include not taking things for granted, for example, going to third world countries such as Nepal has shown me what people go through just to survive, and that it is important to do what we can and help give to people in need.

What is the most unusual food you have tried?
Lilliana Libecki: The most unusual food I have tried is guinea pig in Peru.

What’s your next humanitarian adventure?
Lilliana Libecki: We have just finalized plans for a big humanitarian project in India at a big orphanage community. We will be bringing water purification systems, new Dell laptops for a computer lab, and solar energy for all the buildings. In 2019, we will go to Iran for work at several schools and orphanages in need of more joy in their life. Joyineering ahead!

ROAM: The Next-Gen Explorer

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