A Picture Of The Animals Working I Will Work Hard What Is Voluntourism? 5 Reasons Why It’s WAY COOLER Than Just Sitting on a Beach All Day

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What Is Voluntourism? 5 Reasons Why It’s WAY COOLER Than Just Sitting on a Beach All Day

Let’s start with the definition of “volunteering”. Volunteering is exactly what it sounds like volunteering as you engage in traditional tourist activities when you travel. While this sounds so simple, it’s actually about a lot more. It’s about cultural immersion, participation and exploration. It’s about meeting people from all over the world and from all walks of life and engaging in something truly unique with them that connects you in a much deeper way than getting drunk in a hotel bar. While you can exchange a lot of “I love you’s” when you’re drunk, it’s superficial and probably won’t change your life in any real way.

When you volunteer, you can fully immerse yourself in the culture by working and even living with the local people. You can hear their stories and learn their history. You can interact with other travelers from all over the world. You should choose a cause that interests you and then participate in it in a unique and amazing way. While you may have to do some hard work, it’s not sitting in a bedroom watching the clock tick. It’s exciting and unique and challenging and it’s for the benefit of those who need it most. By adding tourist activities you can explore the country and just have fun because you work hard and you deserve some fun!! It’s the best way to get the most out of a place and get out of your vacation in no time.

So if you haven’t tried volunteering yet, here are 5 reasons why you don’t want to miss out!!

1. Cultural immersion. The days of traveling to another country just to sit in a hotel resort drinking mai tais and basking in the sun all day every day are somewhat over. From terrorist attacks, to tsunamis, earthquakes, economic collapses, social networks, our world has become smaller and smaller. Now we want to engage more, learn more and interact more. Spending a ton of money to fly to a foreign country and never leave your resort now seems frivolous. Through volunteering vacations you still get your beach time and mai tai, but you get so much more. There is no better and faster way to immerse yourself in a culture than to work side by side with its people for a cause you share together.

2. Dispel stereotypes. It’s no surprise that people everywhere have stereotypes. Stereotypes of Americans are not always flattering. Prove people wrong. When you volunteer abroad, you can spend a lot of quality time with local people. You can show them what it means to be an American. Be helpful, gracious, kind, respectful, and eager to listen and learn. Slowly but surely you will influence people’s image not only of you, but also of the culture you represent.

3. Knowledge is contagious. The more you learn on your travels, the more eager you’ll be to continue that learning process when you return home and educate others about what you’ve learned. My first volunteer experience abroad was in Thailand at an elephant sanctuary. At the time I didn’t know how harmful it was to go on an elephant ride or watch elephants paint a picture. My instincts told me it wasn’t good, but I didn’t know how destructive those elephants live to provide entertainment for tourists. My goal is that I learned from the people who worked at that sanctuary and came home and shared that knowledge. In doing so, I influenced what other people participate in when they travel, and this shared knowledge became invaluable.

4. It’s good for your health. Volunteering has been shown to help lower depression rates, increase your functional capacity, and reduce your chances of heart disease! We’ve all had periods of depression where you feel like your life is a mess, nothing is going your way and the future looks bleak. There is nothing better to get you out of your own head than helping others, be it animals, people or the environment. You may think you have it bad, but I guarantee you that others have it much worse and they could use your help. By helping them, you gain a little perspective that goes a long way.

5. It can change your life. It certainly changed mine.

So whatever your interests, if you want to get a little more out of life and your vacation, consider incorporating some volunteer work into your travels. You will get much more than you give.

Happy and humane travels to you!

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