Volunteering

As you may have already read on my Tips page, volunteering is something I always try to do in some form or other during my travels.

Sadly it isn't always possible to find the time or plan far enough ahead to do something to help out the locals wherever it is that I am going.  However I always check in advance of my departure. 

One site I find particular helpful for this is Stuffyourrucksack.com - this site is not up to date but it's a good starting point to find contacts locally - try googling "[the location] stuffyourrucksack" to search more easily.  Also, watch out for the few 'pay' volunteer companies that are probably great if you are willing to contribute cash towards a visit, but don't really live up to the stuffyourrucksack theme.

When in Sri Lanka (in 2011) I planned a visit to a childrens centre there and had great fun card making with some of the girls.  You can read all about it on my Travelpod blog here.


Of course there are plenty of companies who organise volunteering too, and I have myself also given one or two of those a try.  It can be expensive but it will be well organised and you don't have to worry about anything going wrong as everything is pretty much sorted out for your, including in some cases the insurance. 

I went with i to i to work for a couple of weeks in 2006 on a nature reserve in Ecuador - choosing this option as I was with a friend and we needed a little more than just turning up in the hope of finding something we could help with.  A great experience of course and you can read more about it here.  As well as the reserve itself we were able to visit the local school so there was plenty of interaction with the local community as well as hard work on the land.  For me the one of the fond memories was giving birth to pigs and I know my sister (being a pig lover) would have certainly enjoyed it.



Most recently (in 2013) I paid the accommodation and food costs to work as a volunteer on 2 different turtle conservation projects in Malaysia. This was not not particularly expensive and doable on a budget, but also something you could tag onto a more luxurious holiday.

The experiences were both very different but both something that I would recommend if you are heading that way. Read more about the projects here:

Turtle conservation in Malaysia and how to help
Volunteer life at JTP, Tioman Island (Malaysia)

There are of course many many more experiences from volunteering and my travels that I would love to share with you, so just drop me a line if you are interested or have a scout around my travelpod (blog).

No comments :