Jun 12, 2013

Renewing travel experiences

I've been toying with the idea of volunteering for a social cause or building a skill while on vacation of late.
Travel for me is a constant stream of opportunities to meet new people: while on the move, at restaurants and even generally while engaged in common activities such as trekking. This is more incidental than by design. Traveling with a purpose of meeting fellow travelers and more importantly the native residents of a country and getting to know their lives, has emerged as an exciting prospect. One easy way that people across the world have done it is through volunteering while on tour. This is what we know today as “Voluntourism” or “Volunteer Tourism”.

Wikipedia throws some light about Voluntourism and its origins. Way back in 1958, people from Europe would travel for supporting short-term community development projects in Asia or Africa, which wasn’t much of a vacation in the traditional sense. However, that scenario has changed over the years, and now people are more open to taking a vacation to work for a cause. This could range from low-skilled jobs such as building community projects, organic farming teaching, etc to providing highly skilled expertise in specific areas such as web design, architecture, etc.

There is a gamut of Voluntourism options available today, but I was keen on exploring opportunities where the traveler is not required to pay. One such prospect was WWOOF – World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms, which is a global non-profit organization that connects volunteers to hosts of organic farms. The model is to encourage interested travelers to work voluntarily on organic farms in exchange of lodging and basic meals. 

The complete article appears on Caleidoscope.