Many of us have the desire to travel the world; whether during a study gap year, a break from a stressful career or simply to experience something new and different, and with the ease of modern transport we can all do so. Everyone has different ideas of their perfect travelling experience; some imagine relaxing on a white sandy beach without a care in the world, others want to try every extreme activity possible, some go for culture and others to meet new people. And one way to combine aspects all of the above is to travel and volunteer.
Volunteer vacations offer a unique way to see the world as well as being an opportunity to make a difference in many extremely worthwhile causes. The popularity of such vacations has grown dramatically in recent years as we become more aware of the serious issues faced around the world and as more and more people are deciding to travel. These trips abroad vary greatly; everything from conservation to community development projects are covered and trips can be tailored to meet your own personal preferences. Ultimately if you are kind-hearted enough to be volunteering in the first place I assume it is the impact and effectiveness of the projects available which will be your primary motivation. And with the arrival of specialist organisations which arrange these volunteer vacations, and the fact that they have sustainability and longevity at the forefront of their plans, they have become a great peace corps alternative.
Travelling the world broadens your horizons; it opens you up to completely different ways of life and the positive and negative aspects of different cultures. By travelling, and volunteering in particular, you are breaking the boundaries which surround many of our lives and by doing so you gain totally new perspectives and this can only promote personal development. Some people neglect the idea of volunteering as they feel this will be away from the mainstream tourism destinations when actually some of the most beautiful parts of the world are in need of help; marine conservation in The Seychelles, wildlife projects in South Africa, construction in Fiji, the list is endless. And as mentioned, the great benefit of volunteer vacations is that you have the time to explore these destinations outside of working with so many activities and sightseeing organised, and from personal experience you see a lot more of these countries than the normal backpacker would. Being part of a like-minded group of people also makes it a wholly enjoyable experience and I am sure that no matter where in the world you decide to travel to, by volunteering as well, you will have a truly life-changing experience.