Would you consider volunteering abroad? Volunteering while traveling is an incredibly humbling and eye opening experience. Volunteering in Honduras allowed me to completely immerse myself in the culture, get to know the local people, and to give back.
With the school year well under way, I know that next summer will lead to another inevitable travel journey abroad. It’s hard to believe that just two months ago, I finished an epic journey traveling around the world and visiting 22 countries. Although I am no longer able to travel full-time at the present moment, my job enables me to reach new destinations or to experience something completely different each summer and during school holidays. Prior to my sabbatical year, I connected my abroad travel with volunteering. Reminiscing about my past “voluntourism” opportunities has me wondering what responsible tourism vacations I’ll do next! I’m already planning my next trips! Here are the highlights of some of my past responsible travel tours. Continue reading
Prior to my 14 months of full-time travels, as a teacher I was only able to travel on school holidays. Each summer I would travel to a new destination, often backpacking my way around the country. Each trip that I took, I tried to find an opportunity to volunteer while in that country. I felt it was the best way to get a feel of that place, by getting in with the locals. In Texas I volunteered at a soup kitchen, in Nicaragua I planted community gardens, in Honduras I built wells, in the Dominican Republic I volunteered at an orphanage, in Guyana I taught teachers, but my volunteer experience in Mexico was by far the most impactful–I volunteered at a dump.
In 2010, I traveled to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and volunteered at the Children Center of Hope Orphanage and the School of Champions through Feed the Children Vallarta (formerly known as Children of the Dump). Most of my time was spent at the School of Champions volunteering at the summer camp. I had an amazing time teaching English and facilitating games and crafts to the many innocent, sweet, and joyful children who live in and around the dump. Approximately 200 families lived at the dump in the past and, through education and support from Feed the Children Vallarta, fewer and fewer families are depending on the dump for their livelihood. Continue reading
Guest Post by Project Light to Life
– Committing a crime and getting away with it.
– Taking a shot.
– Arriving at the top of a roller coaster and going down the first hill.
It may seem as if these items should — or in some cases, should not — be on my “Activities & Adventures” bucket list. Yet, the feelings attached to each of these items reflect the rush of adrenaline I have felt after completing items on my “Kind Acts & Volunteering” bucket list. Of course, committing a crime or drinking alcohol shouldn’t be compared to doing acts of kindness, but the feelings that come with each item seem similar. Research finds that “altruistic (other-regarding) emotions and behaviors are associated with greater well-being, health, and longevity.” In other words, doing kind acts has been correlated with increases in happiness, good health, and life span. Continue reading