There are all types of vacations that enrich our lives in some way. Adventure excursions give us thrills, challenges and adrenaline rushes. Cultural trips expand our awareness of lifestyles in other cities and countries while beach vacations rejuvenate us with relaxation. But what if there’s a way to combine these types of vacations with helping others? Well there is! It’s called voluntourism.
Volunteering with endangered species, like cheetahs in Namibia, is most appealing to me since I love animals. Working alongside researchers and scientists to help wildlife in need and to give of my time seems more meaningful than to just write a check. I feel I would get much more out of helping endangered species if I immerse myself in their environment and also get a better understanding of their plight. Plus, most of these animals are in exotic locations so I would have the opportunity to explore afterwards.
Besides working with animals there are many other types of volunteer expeditions here in North America and abroad. Companies like Earthwatch and i-to-i also offer opportunities such as building communities, teaching English, care giving, working with children and helping the environment.
This type of traveling is open to everyone from teenagers to retirees with the benefits of going somewhere different, getting immersed in another culture, learning something new, meeting interesting people and making a difference.
If you are looking for something a little more hands on than sending a contribution in the mail, voluntourism is an adventurous outlet. If you have a week, two weeks or longer to give, then maybe this is for you. Enrich your life and expand your horizons all while helping others.