Volunteering is an experience many of us ponder but still only the minority actually partake in. To be able to offer our skills, services and time to benefit the ones in need is a heart-warming thing, especially while travelling. However, the idea of volunteering and actually saying ‘I want to volunteer’ is very different to actually volunteering for real.
Naturally, the vast majority of people want to do good in the world. You’ll find that out when you travel, despite many countries being different in appearances, cultures, religions and languages, most of the world want to do good for one another regardless.
Volunteering is a great way to do that. Once you’ve found the cause you believe in, where you can make a difference - the satisfaction is like no other. Everyone says travelling opens your eyes and it’s true, it certainly does that. But volunteering takes the eye opening one step further...
Let’s take a look at why volunteering really opens your eyes when on the road.
(Meet some of the planet’s most gentle giants when you journey to the wild lands of Namibia on our Elephant Conservation & Helping Local Farmers Volunteer trip!)
A Whole New Perspective
Everyday life to you will be nothing in comparison to some of the daily routines others have to go through. Imagine you’re in Namibia in Africa, assisting local farmers herd elephants daily? You’ll see their tricks of the trade, what life is like for them, however simple or different. Elephants for many of us are a tourist attraction. With more and more awareness on the dangers of elephant riding, visiting them in their natural state is something that will warm every heart, yet, keeping them managed, healthy and on watch is a whole new perspective you’ll understanding when volunteering. It opens your eyes like no other visit could.
(Volunteering here gives you the chance to explore the breathraking beauty and charm of Myanmar as a local!)
Seeing The World Locally
Typically when people travel, the normal procedure is to travel from place to place every few days or so, to try cram as much in as possible. With volunteering, you’re typically in one area or place, so you’ll get the chance to fully immerse yourself in the cultures of the locals, and really get to know the place you’re in. For example teaching English in Myanmar will likely have you stay put, giving you the chance to embrace and learn more about your surroundings everyday.
(No matter what volunteer trip you pick, it will teach you something incredible and open your eyes to the world around you)
You Learn What Reaches Out To You Most
There are many types of volunteering programs you can go on, ranging from category to destination. Do you want to work with wildlife in Africa? Do you want to volunteer with communities such as orphanages in parts of South America? It’s easy to say we want all to do well, but really deciding what reaches out to you most is exactly what volunteering is all about. Everyone has a different commitment when it comes to volunteering, and embarking on a program is the path that allows you to decide yours.
(Volunteering isn't just about helping others, it can also cause a major uplifting change in your own life too!)
Being Part Of A Real Community
It’s super common to make friends and form groups when you travel. Travellers whether solo or not tend to come together, forming almost a travel family. In volunteering, you will have the best chance to do that yet with more continuity in keeping that community together for longer. It won’t just be with your fellow volunteers but the local interaction is paramount, and that will definitely open your eyes when volunteering.
(Give back to local school children in Cambodia whilst you live amongst beautiful temples, lively street markets and some of the friendliest people in the world)
The Daily Struggles
1st world problems are different to 3rd world problems entirely. We all know not everyone in the world may have it as good as others. There are a lot of struggles, problems and poverty out there, so making a difference is important. Rural Cambodia will epitomise this. Whilst many people head off to the famed islands such as Koh Rong or temples in Angkor Wat in Siem Reap (which are all great by the way) – you can go off the beaten track by interacting and teaching local Cambodian school children and really make a difference to their lives.
(Volunteering offers two great aspects combined, helping people and having fun!)
You’ll Appreciate What You’ve Got
Having running water, food on the table, electricity, shelter, money to spend are all luxuries in comparison to some communities in the world. Volunteering will help you see that first hand and make you understand more that these sort of basic things aren’t as easy to obtain. When you explore parts of Africa and realise how life differs from typical western worlds, the first thought you’ll have is to appreciate what everyday life is for you.
(Added bonus: enjoy the gorgeous surroundings and explore in your down time)
Making A Difference Is Self Rewarding
The world is opening up, but if you haven’t got the opportunity to see it then what hope can some have? English is widely spoken in the world, so why not teach it? Giving those who are less fortunate a ticket to the world is so empowering yet thankfully rewarding. Places like Thailand are great for that, as you get to enjoy the countries gorgeous setting of jungles and beaches, as well as the humble Buddhist way.
(Say hello to paradise while you enjoy the delights of the Galapagos Islands and check out 100 year old tortoises)
Have you ever heard of Charles Darwin? The man whose theory on evolution from his visits to Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands changed the world and how we think about it. Galapagos is the place where animal and marine life are in abundance unique to the rest of the world. That could be you embarking on a Darwin-like endeavour, volunteering on conservation programs for such species as the giant Galapagos tortoises! Who knows, this might be something that kick-starts how you travel and what you want to see, or it could even kick-start your career?
Travelling is one of the best experiences you can embrace in your life. Yet, volunteering whilst travelling adds to more purpose of your travels. It adds to your self-development, your interests, your skill sets, your CV and experience. Volunteering isn’t for everyone, you have to be dedicated to commit to a cause, but we can tell you, whatever cause that maybe, it’ll be all worth it!