Making a Difference While Having an Adventure

It just must be the British in me:  I am already planning next years holidays!  Next year, I want my travels to make a difference.  I would like to go somewhere new to me, and somewhat different, and at the same time I want to volunteer with projects that really matter.  I am doing the research now.  Of course, I love to dream of exotic places overseas, but this old nonni is too old to get travel medical insurance with anything but a large tour company or a cruise line.  This is due to age and pre-existing health conditions.  (Do your exotic travel while you’re young, I’ve learned)  Of course, the young don’t usually have a budget that includes exotic travel.  Well, in my day we saved for years for the one exotic trip–nevermind, whether you’re too financially strapped to travel far, or too old, there are also opportunities in the good ol’ U.S. and Canada as well.  (And I’m sure thats also true in your own country, if you live outside the U.S.!)

For the exotic-minded and intrepid travelers among us, I found the following websites for “volunteer vacations”.

www.i-to-i.com

www.gapadventures.com

www.globalvolunteers.org

www.crossculturalsolutions.org

For those looking for a wider variety of opportunities, including those at home try:

www.charityguide.org

www.volunteersolutions.org

If you’re looking for a Christian opportunity, either at home or abroad, try

www.christianvolunteering.org

Many of these projects come with reasonable living quarters.

You can also try Habitat for Humanity.  They have projects in your own state or province, as well as projects in nearly every country of the world.  Some projects have very reasonable living quarters on site, making it more affordable. 

I’m thinking of driving in a “circle”, spending a week at each of a number of Christian non-profit organizations.  My personal favorites are those that provide relief, development and health programs for the world’s forgotten poor.  I have found that those who provide reasonable living quarters for me (usually dormitory style) charge little enough that I should be able to travel for several weeks on my travel budget.  I have found that many of the Christian charities are “clustered”, with maybe 4 to 24 all within an hour’s drive.  Don’t know the reason for that, but it is true.

Finally, if the above links don’t work for you, just try putting “volunteer vacations” in your web browser and see what you come up with.  That is a sort of adventure in itself, without ever leaving your computer desk!

Good luck and Godspeed!

Nonni

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