When we told people we would volunteer abroad in Central Asia’s second poorest country, Kyrgyzstan, the most common response was to ask if we would either build houses or help orphans.
Our answer? None of the above.
As young professionals, taking care of kids and doing construction labour aren’t exactly our strongest points. We went through ups and downs as we researched the most impactful volunteer opportunities out there, and finally came to a simple realization. If we want to make an impact, just ask the locals what they really need. And so we did. … More Volunteering Abroad: Don’t expect to change the world. Instead, choose an organization that is.
Did you ever think about when you go to a resort in Central America, and the locals are prohibited from entering the beach, does it actually benefit them and their society as a whole? Imagine if you are not allowed to watch the sunset on the most beautiful section of your own country? This is how it was for local Cubans before 2008. When you eat at Mac Donald’s in a foreign country or beeline for that Starbucks, are they really the only businesses that can offer you that cup of coffee or greasy burger you crave? Or could you take your dollars to the family cafe next door instead and enjoy a similarly delicious burger or cup of coffee after practicing ordering in the local language? Travel has the power to change the world. But it also has the power to destroy environments, offend local customs and fail to bring money to the hands of locals who need it most. If we put a little thought into our travel and into where our money goes, our trip will actually do good in the places we visit, without requiring a lot of extra money or time. Read more to find out 5 easy decisions any traveler can make to travel with more thought, positively impact the world, and in turn, gain richer cultural experiences and personal growth with each trip we make … … More Travel with Thought: How You Can Change the World with 5 Easy Decisions