March 14, 2020
The Volunteer Vacation
Perhaps you've never considered taking a volunteer vacation, and in fact, don't really know what one is. In this article we'll explore the concept of a volunteer vacation and why you might consider taking one.Traditionally, a vacation is taken in order to relax, rewind, unplug, and rejuvenate. A vacation takes you away from your daily rut and the stress of your job. Ideally, a vacation takes you out of your daily reality and transports you somewhere fun, interesting, relaxing and perhaps exotic.A volunteer vacation can take this to the next level and introduce the concept of vacation with a purpose. A volunteer vacation involves taking a vacation with the express purpose of working to help others, and paying for the privilege to do so. If you've never done this before, it may sound odd to pay to work on a trip where most people would relax, but think back to some of the vacations you've taken in the past. Truthfully, didn't you get a little bored just relaxing? Didn't you wonder if that's all there was? And come home a trifle well unsatisfied?Volunteering can give you a sense of accomplishment, make the food taste better after a full day of physical labor, and be very rewarding. You also get the chance to meet people whose lives are very different from yours. They may show you that happiness is not related to wealth, or make you realize how lucky you are. Those are just the benefits to you. The benefits to those you are helping are huge. One week out of your life helping to build a house means a lifetime of shelter to a family of eight. Your hot and dusty manual labor digging a well or working a village farm means water and food for those who desperately need it. Carving some time out of your crazy schedule to help in an overseas orphanage can mean hugs, kisses, and stories read to children who've never been shown love before. The concept of taking a volunteer vacation has become increasingly popular and now has a name - voluntourism. Many people, especially retirees, are finding it a rewarding experience, even though they are paying for the vacation and putting in the hard work. Once they've taken a volunteer vacation, they are more likely to stay involved with the charity, either with lending themselves again physically or monetarily.If you decide this sounds like something you'd like to do, you should check out the vacation as you would any other vacation. What is included? Room and board, or do you have to arrange that separately? Are there specific times you need to be there to help with a project? You'll also want to check out the volunteer organization and determine they've been around for a while and are reputable. Also, do all fees go into the project or is the organization taking a big percentage? A volunteer vacation may not be for everyone, but if you try it, I think you'll find it worth the monetary price you pay and highly rewarding for you and those you help.
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