Tag Archives: Volunteering

What’s the deal with voluntourism?

Travelling for a cause is one of the best ways to enrich your travel experience, and it can have a profoundly positive effect on your life.

Voluntourism or volunteer tourism, allows socially-conscious travellers to travel to developing countries, and be involved in community projects. Everything from building a well in a village, to helping an animal welfare charity carry out its work, volunteer projects can be environmentally or community focused, aimed at improving systems for local towns and organisations.

The growing popularity of voluntourism has lead to the growth of an industry centred around pairing people to volunteering projects all over the world.

However, it is important to be informed about how your well-intentioned visit to a developing country impacts the local community. When we wrote about orphanages in Cambodia, we discussed the reality of orphanage tourism, which is far more grim than many people realise. Voluntourism on the other hand, is a broad term that provokes a very mixed reaction.

Is voluntourism bad?

While it may receive bad press in some instances, not all volunteering projects abroad are necessarily harmful. Unfortunately, there is no industry regulator to hold them to account for their work or monitor the rising number of new companies involved in organising volunteer trips. Some corporations see it as a way of driving profits for their business, rather than as part of long-term strategy to help communities in need.

However, others say that numerous homes and schools would not have been built had it not been for volunteers and their funding. There are organisations that are running highly impactful volunteer programs that rely on volunteers to carry out their work.


Going about it the right way

In order for volunteering projects to succeed, they should be done in partnership with an organisation that is working toward a solution. Volunteering should be driven by the needs of the local communities, not the consumers’ need to ‘help out’.

Volunteer projects that do succeed are ones that have been carefully planned, utilising the skills and experiences of the volunteers to achieve the organisations’ goals. Volunteers should never take away jobs from the local community.

At Inspired Adventures, we work with our charity partners to create meaningful experiences for our participants and charity supporters. Often we will incorporate project visits into our itineraries, so participants can see firsthand the incredible life-changing work they have made possible through their fundraising.

Giving back directly is one of the best ways to see for yourself the impact you have had on a community in need. Remember, do your research, work with a reputable charity and your travel experience will be an unforgettable one.

Feeling inspired?

Check out our calendar for 2017 and discover how you can give back.


Other Ways to Spread the Love This Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day – a mark on the social calendar that really divides the masses! Some revel in an opportunity to give or receive gifts from their significant other, while others actively oppose the idea, criticising it as a shallow and commercialised holiday. Others think it’s disingenuous to engage in robust acts of love on this day over any other day. While I acknowledge opposing views on the matter, I see a common ground.

I understand that Valentine’s Day has become synonymous with chocolates, flowers and grand romantic gestures – but why let Hallmark define the nature of Valentine’s Day? When we strip it back, Valentine’s Day is a day of celebrating love, and that is a wonderful sentiment. While it’s undeniable that we should express love to those around us (not just romantic love, but love in all its wonderful shapes, forms and relationships) on a daily basis, if we are honest with ourselves, it often becomes too easy to take our loved ones for granted. So a nominated day to stop and remember to show appreciation to the people who make a positive impact on our lives is a wonderful thing.

So let’s shed the heart-shaped candy-covered Valentine’s Day presented to us by the masses, and try to embrace the true spirit of what could truly be a special day.

Pay it forward

Everyone’s seen the movie, right? Well the idea behind paying it forward is doing a good deed for three people, and having them do something nice for three people, and those three people doing good et cetera. Why not pay for the coffee for the person behind you? Or offer your time to someone who needs it? There are many ways to pay it forward, you just have to be creative!

Don't complain or criticise for one whole day

“I’m so tired.” “My feet hurt from standing all day.” “My hubby/wife/boyfriend/sister/neighbour did THIS again!” “I look terrible in these jeans.” Chances are you say one of these, or something like it, every single day and probably without realising. Everyone complains. It’s normal. But imagine spending the whole day without making a single complaining or criticising of yourself or someone else? “I’m so tired” turns into “I can’t wait to have a good rest tonight” and “I look terrible in these jeans” becomes “Maybe I need new jeans, but I’m rocking this top!” They’re small changes but a positive outlook on even the tiniest of things can dramatically change your day.

Verbalise the things you love about the special people in your life

Whether it be your mum, brother, pet fish or the postman, if someone means something to you, then let them know. Feeling loved and being appreciated is possibly one of the best feelings in the world, so get texting/calling and telling the special people in your life how important they are to you.

Give a stranger a compliment

If you’ve ever received a compliment from a stranger, you’ll know how oddly satisfying it is. Whether it’s a superficial passing comment like “I love your hair colour!” or a tweet to your favourite humanitarian telling them how much you appreciate the work they’re doing, receiving a compliment is an easy and lovely way to brighten someone’s day. You never know what that person is going through and a few kind words could do a world of good for them.

Volunteer your time

Volunteering your time is a great way to show some love. Spending some time at the RSPCA or local homeless shelter is selfless, but it also shows compassion, something this world could do with more of.

Feeling the love?