Monday, August 6, 2012

Journeys for Good

       It has been nearly a year since I had the urge to conduct an internet search for volunteer programs focusing on working with elephants. The idea seemed far-fetched and unlikely to ever amount to anything, yet it sparked a quiet but nagging thought that interrupted important tasks like lesson planning and sleeping. With this post, I plan to implant that nagging thought in your mind and give you the means to feed it. May it interrupt every aspect of your life until you pay attention to it. 
       Though I have not posted anything to this blog in some time, I dare you to assume that it means I have taken leave of making travel plans. My last post discussed my hopes to continue volunteering abroad and urged you to try unique travel, but now I want to give you the resources to try. I have several ideas in the works, helped along by websites that celebrate responsible travel. In my spare time, or in time that should be devoted to productivity, I scour them. One of these is Journeys for Good. 
       Journeys for Good was founded by a couple who travels the world, volunteering and documenting their experiences along the way. Their website features success stories of people who have volunteered, news of new volunteer opportunities, and links to programs that can help you make voluntourism a reality for you. If you still have doubts about what an experience like this can mean for you, this website will ease those doubts. 
       Check out the "Aid Organizations" category to read about which companies have started aid programs and what it means for the recipients. Click the "Volunteer Heroes" link to read about real-life experiences of people who may seem like unlikely volunteers at first glance. Please follow the "Resources" link to create a trip that is perfect for you.
       I cannot convince your boss to let you take time off for this. I cannot convince your spouse that flying to Ethiopia is a better use of your money than installing that new set of garage doors or replacing the brakes in your car. That's your responsibility. However, I would be willing to bet my next trip that if you do make this a reality, you will be hooked. You will start to peruse travel sites for new ideas and possibly lose sleep thinking about the endless travel possibilities. Just carpool, please, until you do eventually get those brakes fixed.