I am sure many of you have seen this travel quote: “travel is not the destination, it’s the journey”. It’s certainly one I can resonate with as I begin to think more and more about volunteer travel. There are a lot of people who see volunteering as a bit of a inconvenience because it takes up your free time. Often I’ll hear people say they’re too busy or don’t have enough time to volunteer. With most people working five days a week and valuing their weekends as ‘me time’, I completely understand. However at some point in your life, you should volunteer and give back. For the last four months I have been volunteering, every Monday for a couple of hours, at Meals On Wheels in my local area. I meet with a group of people who generously give up their mornings to deliver food to the elderly and less mobile. It’s something I am very passionate about and I’ve made some incredible friends, most notably my hilariously funny 70 year old Greek friend Jim who loves repeating his stories and has been volunteering for Meals On Wheels for more than 12 years. He is the highlight of my week.

But volunteering doesn’t have to be for a local charity. Did you know you can combine volunteering with travel?! Volunteering abroad can be very valuable, both personally and professionally. So if you’re considering volunteering abroad, read my five reasons below as to why I think you should give it a go.

THE EXPERIENCE When you volunteer abroad, you will meet people that inspire and motivate you, you will have adventures that you never dreamed of, you will be bringing spark into people’s lives and you will be creating a better life for someone else. Experience doesn’t get any better than that!

MEETING NEW PEOPLE Travel and meeting new people go hand in hand. But volunteering abroad allows you to connect with life minded people straight away. Volunteering with other people is like travelling and working with a second family. You become very close because you are bonding over the shared experience of helping others.

LEARNING NEW SKILLS Volunteering abroad takes you to some incredible places and gives you the chance to learn and hone a whole new skill set. By volunteering abroad you’ll have the chance to get hands on experience and pick up loads of new skills as you go. Now how good is that!

FREE ACCOMMODATION Not many people know this at first, but when you volunteer travel your accommodation is looked after. Yes, it’s free! Accommodation can get very expensive, as can food so it’s great to know that most volunteer programs cover this as part of the exchange.

GET OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE If you didn’t know this already, life is about challenging yourself. So why don’t you try something different than what you’re used to?

Photo taken on my trip to New Caledonia 

TipsJaharn GilesComment