By : Riyanka Roy
We all love vacations—they’re arguable the best way to ditch the monotony and the cacophony of our routines. But imagine if your vacation could fruitfully add something to someone else’s life and rather than just your own.
“Voluntourism”– perhaps it’s a new word that you were unaware of, but add it to your vocabulary because it’s an experience that’ll change your perceptions about a holiday. More and more, people around the globe are planning to spend their vacations in a meaningful way so that they can give something back to society, and it’s not just that! Just like a double-sided coin, a volunteering vacation will affect your career and prove to be beneficial for you as well.
Embark on an Enriching Journey
While on a holiday you explore the places, but a volunteer trip will give you a chance to know the people closely—about their daily lives, their culture, traditions, and heritage. Not only that, it also enables you to know about your skills, make the best use of them and stretch yourself to a different extent where you become flexible enough to fit into that particular society. A volunteer trip isn’t just an outward journey, but an inward journey as well.
A Chance to Live Like A Local
As a tourist, it’s natural to miss out various things while visiting a destination abroad. But as a volunteer, you get to immerse yourself in the life of the community folks of the place you’re visiting–eat like the local, shop from the local markets and so on, rather than moving between tourist-traps that are often overcrowded and overpriced. Nonetheless, a volunteering journey will provide you enough time and opportunity to explore the forts and museums, beaches and pubs, and much more! There is no doubt about it that a volunteer holiday will leave you with a much more well-rounded view of the country you’re visiting.
Make New Bonds That You Can Cherish Forever
It’s bliss to touch the lives of others in a country where people barely know you. All you need is love and compassion to make a difference in their lives in the best way possible. As tourists, people are mostly engrossed with themselves, but as a volunteer, you’ll get the chance to step out of your comfort zone and get into a conversation with people who probably don’t even properly speak the language you understand. You’ll know that language can never be a barrier and emotional bonds are much more stronger.
Work on Long-Lasting Meaningful Friendships
Holidays are mostly planned with friends and family–those people whom you’ve known forever. A volunteering vacation is a great way to make new friends, especially if you are traveling solo. The uniqueness of the experiences can help you foster lasting and meaningful friendships with fellow volunteers from a multitude of ethnic backgrounds and it’s an opportunity to learn about different cultures from all over the world. And if you are volunteering with your spouse or parents, then even better–they also get a chance to bond with your friends!
Affordable Way of Exploring a New Destination
A holiday to a foreign destination might make a hole in your pocket, as the tourist-packages mostly come with a minimum of a 3-star accommodation, along with transportation by private vehicles, so on and so forth. Sharing accommodation with other volunteers is much cheaper, and it’s more fun when you travel by public transport. And if you are lucky enough, you might just get someone who would agree to fund your volunteer trip!
So, the next time when you feel like escaping from the daily chores, try to look for volunteering opportunities in your favorite destination. Breathe in the freshness, explore differently and put a smile on someone else’s face.
Need Further Inspiration? Check our the following five amazing volunteer options:
United States Peace Corps
About the author: After earning her Masters Degree in International Relations, Riyanka taught in rural tribal schools throughout her native country of India. As a traveler, she believes that the world is full of stories and we need to know which one to be a part of. Currently she’s focusing on volunteer tourism and freelance travel blogging.