Friday, October 08, 2010

One Hot Ticket

Do you itch to travel? Are you passionate to give back? If you said "yes" to both questions, we have something for you! It's called "Voluntourism"

Voluntourism is just as the title suggests: which combines volunteering, tourism, service, and travel. If you see voluntourism as a way to explore a new place, gain practical knowledge of the world while contributing time and your unique skills to a worthy cause, voluntourism may be for you. It's an awesome way to engage in good work while making a positive impact and explore a new place all at once. It's easier than you think.

Before you pack your bags, there are a few different things to consider, starting with establishing your purpose. Why do you want to be a voluntourist? Can your skills and mindset be used for voluntouring or are home projects more beneficial?

Once you've established your purpose, ask yourself what organization would suit you best. Do you enjoy health care, environmental impact, disaster relief, or even microfinance? What are you passionate about that will leave a lasting impression?

You can determine your purpose and area of expertise by not only your work history, but by what you know you are good at. There is always someone somewhere that can benefit from your knowledge. What motivation speaks to you the most? Do you love to share stories and network? Do you want to learn and develop? Do you want to teach others? Whatever your reason, you can find an organization out there that best pertains to you while fulfilling needs.

Be honest with yourself about what you are able to contribute. We all love to do anything and everything we can to help the world. The world is a big place. Know your constraints. How much money can you afford to allocate to voluntourism? Do you want some fun and adventure while you are voluntouring or would your trip solely be dedicated to the cause? Do you desire interaction with the locals or would you prefer to stay close to other voluntourists? All these questions should have answers before you prepare your trip. You must be emotionally, physically and mentally prepared.

Here are some steps to help you become a voluntour on your next getaway:
1. Establish a purpose
2. Determine your expertise
3. Know your constraints
4. Be prepared
5. Conduct general research-know where you are staying, the appropriate clothes to wear and whether you need vaccines
6. Take care of things at home before you leave.
7. Brush up on your language skills
8. Ask questions.
9. Paint a realistic picture and time line in your mind
10.HAVE FUN!!!

Although it seems extensive, taking these extra steps will ensure you are ready to be a voluntourist! Pack your bags for some adventure, fun, sense of accomplishment! When you get home, let us know how it went. We look forward to your stories, pictures, and listening to experiences you dedicated to the cause.

Happy Landing, Voluntourists!!

-Shereen Alibhai

SOURCE: The Case Foundation