If you’ve ever felt that your travels were lacking a certain authenticity, or that you need a new sense of purpose for your adventures, the latest travel experience – voluntourism – should help you get back on track.
Voluntourism unites awesome travel opportunities with challenging volunteering roles. It gives you the chance to stay in unique places, far from the tourist trail, and to immerse yourself in local cultures.
It gives your travels a real sense of purpose. You’re able to give something back to the places and communities you visit and, in turn, your own travel experiences are enriched. The tourist just passes through but the voluntourist gets involved.
Your next project abroad
Organisations like Projects Abroad provide voluntourism opportunities all over the world. Visit their website to discover a wealth of ways in which you can renew your faith in travelling. Projects can be as short as two weeks or as long as a year.
You can use your existing skills, or learn new ones, in everything from conservation to human rights, journalism, nursing, teaching, social work, care work and more. Here are a few of the inspiring projects you could undertake.
Teach the Brazilians soccer
Working with disadvantaged children from Rio de Janeiro, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to understand the challenges faced by families in this nation – a nation starkly polarised into rich and poor. Your football field is the local beach and your mission is not to find the next Pelé but to help foster pride, develop team skills and, above all, to bring some fun into the lives of disadvantaged children.
Conserve marine life in Thailand
Learn to dive in the beautiful Andaman Sea whilst living with a marine conservation team based near Ao Nang. Breathtaking dives along the coral reefs are combined with hands on conservation work protecting the coral reefs, tropical forests, and coastal areas.
Live with the Rothschilds in Kenya
The Rothschilds are a critically endangered species of giraffe whose visibly distinctive markings have not stopped their numbers dwindling on a global scale. Kenya has had significant success in maintaining what is now the world’s largest Rothschild population, and volunteers are needed to assist with monitoring and protecting them.
Live with the nomads of Mongolia
The nomadic tribes of Mongolia have continued their traditional lifestyle for centuries and intrepid volunteers can live with them and help to preserve their unique way of life. This is travel at the extreme: living in desolate places, maintaining herds of animal and doing whatever is needed to survive.
Digging Machu Picchu
Whilst millions of tourists may tell you they ‘dig’ Machu Picchu, not many have literally done this. Teams of archaeologists have uncovered ancient city sites in the shadows of Machu Picchu and you can join them on their digs, helping to unearth structures that will help tell the full story of these awe-inspiring ruins.
Do something different
Voluntourism offers you the chance to really get under the skin of the places you visit. So, what are you waiting for?