My first travel experiences were centered around working, not merely touring. I was that dorky kid with the fanny pack, but not in a long queue waiting to see a run-down landmark. The first time I was in Jamaica it was to work in a hospital and run summer camps for children. I was old enough to be tempted by all the ganja we were offered – not old enough to actually, partake! In rural Mexico, I helped dig irrigation canals and build a school.
In my late 20s and 30s as I’ve traveled, it’s been different. Not always in a good way. I’ve been tempted by luxury resorts and even more luxurious food. Rum! Wine! Sunsets with rum and wine! There’s an emptiness I’m feeling if I let myself think too deeply. In 2012 I want to get back to my roots, to the sort of travel I did when I was young. I can’t go back to that innocence but I think I can still travel through a place and try to do some good while I am there instead of merely consuming. Until I can find the right project(s), I’ll continue to give what money I can to a few organizations that are dear to my heart. I’m also highlighting organizations at the bottom of every post now. A little way I can use this platform, my blog, for good. I hope.
Muskoka Foundation – Alice and Jay and the rest of their team use photography to impact rural communities around the world by teaching children in them a practical skill and a method of capturing their culture to pass down to future generations. It’s probably not shocking that I’d love a charity who uses photography as a means of reaching out, right!
Blood:Water Mission – Clean drinking water is not as available as you might think. Aids is a true epidemic. Blood:Water Mission seeks to combat these two huge issues that have really impacted Africa, in not a good way. I love to check in on them now and again to see photographs and videos from all of the places where they are building wells and bringing clean drinking water and healing the sick. They’re getting it done.
Passports with Purpose – This is another blogger-driven effort which seeks to gather financial means in support of a different project every year. This year, they’re building libraries in Zambia through a partnership with Room to Read. Actually. Building. Libraries. — I want to go swing a hammer with them.
My belief is that travel is a large part of a well-rounded existence and of a diverse character, and there are all kinds of travel. However, if we only ever travel to fulfill our own [selfish] desires than how are we making the world a better place? If you can’t use travel to directly and positively impact the life of another person, perhaps you can use the resources you do have to support these charities, or others, who are on the ground helping make things happen in countries across the globe every day.
And could you use the comment section to let me know your favorite charities? I’m always looking for new ones to support! Perhaps your favorite will be the one I volunteer with in 2012. I’m open to suggestions.
TRAVEL BLOGGERS GIVE BACK (#TBGB on twitter) is a unified movement of bloggers attempting to give back by posting stories about their favorite charity organizations. The goal? To use the power of our collective voice to convince our readers to give their time, energy and/or money to the charities nearest and dearest to our hearts, hopefully making the world in which we travel a better place for all.