7 Incredible Places Around The World To Volunteer While Vacationing

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Written by: Sharita Gilmore | August 11

Flickr / Moyan Brenn

Hiking up Cerro de la Cruz brought out the adventurer in me. At an elevation of 5,029 feet, I couldn’t help but get excited about the journey. While views from the top of the mountainous hill were breathtaking, I couldn’t help but think about why I was there.

Just 15 minutes away was Casa Para Niños, a home that cares for and raises orphaned, abused and mistreated children.

Today’s young people are known for the many different ways we approach life. Travel is no exception. As much as we love seeing the world, we also love affecting and promoting change.

Here are 7 amazing adventures around the world that are equal in opportunities for philanthropy and entertainment:

1. For those mesmerized by South Asia, live out adventure in India with Blue Yonder.

Slow down, relax and embrace the nation’s zen in Kerala. Referred to as “God’s Own Country,” by locals, this is a great place to reconnect with your spirit, taste new foods, dance, and enjoy a plethora of folk art and crafts. Before you go, be sure to listen to native musicians play and dance along the Nila River.

Blue Yonder pays $150 to artists for each performance and on top of that, the organization works with local farmers to resolve the river’s on-going environmental problems.

 

2. Or if Africa is more your style, challenge your athleticism and run a marathon with world class athletes in Tanzania with Nomadic Experiences.

Not only will the inspiring views awaken your sense of adventure, but locally produced coffee will help keep you up and going. This customized trip by local guide Simon Mtuy reduces the environmental impact on the mountain and emphasizes cross cultural bonding. A large portion of the trips fees helps bring income to seldom visited villages in the area.

 

3. If the African heat frightens you, cool down, relax and work on your photography skills in Iceland with SEED.

O.K., so Iceland isn’t exactly a continent like Antarctica, but they’re both pretty cool place (pun intended of course). Why not attend a photography workshop, develop your environmentalist skills and tour this incredible landscape where whale watching, geysers and ice caves are sure to leave you amazed.

 

4. You can also further your ecotourism skills in Australia by becoming a conservation volunteer.

That’s right, you can care about the environment while surfing some of the wildest waves around, getting the best natural tan available, trying your luck with some crazy adventure sports like hang gliding. With the land’s natural beauty and great prices, this is one of the best ecotourism trips around.

 

5. If you’ve always dreamed about Europe’s greatest tourist attractions, you can give back through Help Exchange.

In between your escapades to the Eiffel Tower, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Big Ben and some of the best café shops the world has to offer, you can help do farm work, work with local schools or help out with construction projects.

 

6. But let’s be honest, you can find adventure right here in North America too, especially in the Virgin Islands with REI.

Snorkel, hike and swim in the U.S. Virgin Islands while helping to clear debris, fix trails, and preserve the land. Like the island’s motto, you too will feel “united in pride and hope.”

 

7. Those ambitious enough to use the Spanish they learned in high school can raft the infamous Futaleufu River in Chile.

Not only will you experience the ride of your life, but 100% of the profits from the trip are used to help protect the river.

 

Adventure isn’t hard to find. It stares us in the face every day, from every continent and country on this earth. But the best adventures are the ones that awaken our senses in the best possible way. They help us see need, hear knowledge, taste ambition and touch the world with service.

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Sharita Gilmore

Sharita is an introverted free spirit that prefers reading over talking. Seriously addicted to Earl Grey Tea, you can find her at Teavana when her budget allows for it, or small independent bookstores when it doesn't. A lover of culture, she's more than willing to set her books aside for conversations about the Middle East, Guatemala and Nepal. If she's not traveling overseas, she's writing about it or dreaming about it. She really wishes Rumi was still alive so he and Jhumpa Lahiri could write together. You can find her on Facebook and Twitter.

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