Why Start Your World Trip with Some Voluntary Work?

Volunteering Abroad

Giving up my job and taking a year out to travel was probably the biggest and best decision I have made in my life. Starting the trip with a few months of voluntary work has to come close behind it in the list of good decisions, though.

This is something I would definitely recommend that other people do, and here are my reasons why.

Meet New Friends

I decided to travel alone, mainly because none of my friends were quite ready to give up their employment and go jaunting round the planet. With the benefit of hindsight, travelling solo was the best thing I could have done, as it encouraged me to make new friends along the way. However, before leaving home I was more than a little worried about it. I needn’t have worried though, as the group of voluntary workers I met were all brilliant and we quickly became friends. In fact, before long we were planning to travel together after the voluntary work ended and even now we still stay in touch with each other. This is a fine way of meeting people you wouldn’t normally meet in a really strange and unique time of your life. I am pretty sure that you will meet some amazing people on your voluntary project and will get some long-lasting memories in this way. It also meant that I could start the next stage of the trip with some company before striking out on my own when they finally went home.

Gain Confidence

When you first leave home for a long, independent trip it is safe to assume that you will be a bit nervous about it. To be entirely truthful, I was secretly terrified about doing this, although clearly my suave, urbane exterior hid this well. Ahem, well I like to think that I appeared more confident than I was when I first stepped onto foreign soil and wondered what on Earth I had let myself in for. Had I not had a voluntary project to immediately go on I think I would have taken a lot longer to get confident about being so far from home. Instead, I almost immediately went to join a group of other Brits and felt good right away. It makes a big difference to your trip if you gain confidence quickly once you get away.

Do Things You Wouldn’t Otherwise Have Done

índiceI sometimes wonder what I would have done on my trip if I had gone it alone the whole time. I would certainly have missed out on some amazing sights and experiences. When you are on a voluntary project with a group of other people you get drawn into doing things that you probably wouldn’t do alone. In my case this meant paying football in a mud bath while wearing wellies, drinking strange brews, climbing huge trees and visiting terrible museums. It is only natural to go with the flow once you get into this sort of situation. Indeed, I would even suggest that doing this for just a few months had led to me now being more easy going about following other people’s suggestions, which can only be a good thing.

Find Out About Other Places

What do a group of voluntary workers talk about round the camp fire or while swinging idly in hammocks? Clearly in such an isolated environment there were a lot of in-jokes that seemed hilarious at the time. However, a lot of the time we just sat there talking about other places we had been to. As the group came from all round the UK I learned about a lot of interesting British places as well as more exotic places they had each travelled to. This further fuelled my desire to travel and see the world.

Have you ever done any voluntary work on your travels?

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2 Responses to Why Start Your World Trip with Some Voluntary Work?

  1. Volunteering while on a trip is a great way to feel more connected to the place(s) you visit. It’s nice to hear you enjoyed your volunteer stint – and made some friends too :-).
    Sand In My Suitcase recently posted…Travel Philanthropy: How luxury hotels and tour operators “give back”My Profile

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