Last year was quite slow on the voluntourism front which kind of had me bummed. Our plans to volunteer in Paris were a major flop, we wanted to volunteer on Anacapa Island but were told that our trip didn’t coincide with the right season, and while looking for a volunteer opportunity in the Redwood National and State Parks, we were disappointed to find that most volunteer opportunities in the area are for university students studying environmental science. It seemed like every time we looked for an opportunity to lend a helping hand, our plans fizzled. More
Although I keep a running tab on the number of countries I’ve been to, it’s not really something I lend much credit to in terms of defining myself as “well-traveled.” I often recount the story of a trip I took abroad with a college mate who gloated over the pages of her nearly full passport while rattling off all the countries she’d been to. As I listened, I thought, So what? What good is it to go to all of these countries if doing so isn’t somehow making you a better person or inspiring you to make a difference in the world?
I’m addicted to travel. There’s absolutely no denying it. And if you’re reading this travel blog, chances are that you’re addicted to travel too. Like any other addict, we travel addicts hate sitting still. We’re always looking for our next fix. We return from one trip, and before long, wanderlust kicks back in. Our feet begin to itch. We feel restless. It’s a big world, and unless we’re exploring it, we feel like we’re missing out. So we wonder: where next? And then we immediately start planning how to get our next high. The desire to keep traveling and to keep exploring the world is an insatiable one. It’s an all-consuming thirst that can’t be quenched. I get it. Believe me. More
The Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Montmartre, fine dining, and romantic strolls along the Seine around Île Saint-Louis – these are the obvious draws to Paris, the must-have experiences in the City of Light that make it into most travelers’ itineraries. So I really shouldn’t have been surprised when I received an email from the city’s Convention and Visitors Bureau in response to my inquiry about volunteering opportunities there. More
Years ago I took a trip to Australia and Tahiti with an old college mate who had a passport full of stamps and visas. As I flipped through her passport in admiration of all of her travels, my admiration evolved into self-reflection, and I began to question the motives behind my own quest for a life full of travel. More
If you’re anything like me, you sometimes get overwhelmed and turned off by the commercialization and superficiality that seems to go hand-in-hand with the holiday season. While I love a nice Christmas gift just like anyone else, for me, Christmas is a day to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ in the company of loved ones. Christmas trees, decorations and ornaments, huge feasts, and gifts are really just the icing on top, but they’re not the cake itself! Christmas is about the gift of giving, just as God freely gave the gift of His Son. More
During one of our volunteer vacations a few years ago, I traveled to Turkey with my husband Jave, my brother Aaron, my nephew, and a few family friends. To help us meet our volunteer goal for the trip, a former school teacher in Istanbul named Emrah arranged for us to teach an English lesson to some local school children there.
I don’t volunteer during my travels to receive accolades or recognition, but it’s great to know that my efforts aren’t going unnoticed. There’s this One Brown Girl named Tracey that I recently connected with in the blogosphere who’s running a new series on her blog called Travelanthropy: People Who Travel Good, highlighting people who incorporate volunteering and/or giving into their travels. I’m honored that Tracey chose to feature me and another travel blogger, Ruby from A Thinking Traveler for her first post in the series. In this post, Ruby and I share our thoughts on voluntourism and advice for those who want to travel and give. More
Last December, we planned a trip to Vancouver BC, and as usual, we wanted to incorporate volunteering into our itinerary. We were only going to be in town for 3.5 days, so we knew that we had to find a volunteer opportunity that would leave us with enough free time to explore the city. I reached out to so many different organizations to see if we could donate a half day of our time, but because the holidays were approaching, most organizations were already booked up with volunteers or else they didn’t have any opportunities available on the dates that we were going to be in town. More