Travelers’ Night In — Pay It Forward!
On this week’s round of Travelers’ Night In, the interactive Twitter discussion for avid travelers and travel lovers, the theme was Pay It Forward — namely, travel and volunteerism! As always, ten questions were asked, people responded while tagging their tweets #TNI, and learned quite a few travel tips and ideas!
Here were this week’s questions:
Q1. What is your dream volunteer project – where/what kind of service?
yoginitraveler Ever since visiting Cambodia, my dream volunteer work is to build schools there. Same with Arusha, Tanzania.
nu_veau work with kids in troubled areas to make sure they stay out of trouble and stay on the path to success. A lot can be done in the US
lightstar1013 Volunteering at the Olympics – will hopefully get my chance at London 2012
travelsofadam Peace in the mideast! Doing it now!
I would LOVE to teach young girls in a region where it’s difficult for them to get an education.
Q2. Best advice for first time travel volunteers?
tranquilotravel do NOT be gringo santa claus/candyman, showering gifts can do more harm than good
letssitoutside Also remember you are working w/ people who have been facing these problems for years. Respect their experience!
thephotofoodies Research WELL the country you’re going to and its culture. Don’t pretend to go change it. Honor and respect it. And pack light!
VivaTravelGuide Don’t expect that you are going to change the world. But still try.
Don’t think that you have to pay hundreds of dollars to volunteer abroad! Once you arrive, you’ll find places that will gladly allow you to volunteer for free.
Q3. If you have volunteered while traveling, which programs?
bestraveldeals Habitat for Humanity probably one most people already know of but always great to be a part of it
KHankerpimpel in rural Africa, a great organization is the Ghana Health and Education Initiative. Check ’em out.
global_gourmet Working with sea turtles in Nayarit, Mexico starting next Wednesday: http://bit.ly/cuR0Lv
thehostelworker WWOOF is great to volunteer & travel. work on a farm, get room & board, help locals & be one for a short time.
LeoTravel I was accepted to Peace Corps but didn’t go. Did Visions in Action working w/ AWF and Cultural Tourism program in Tanzania.
campersonne volunteering at elepehant orphanage in Thailand through Idealist.org. a MUST DO!
aseper Pure for Kids in Phnom Penh, Cambodia-an orphanage. Can’t say enough great things about them.
global_gourmet I worked with Building a Future in Tegucigalpa, Honduras in June – worked with 1st & 2nd graders, and at risk teens. AWESOME.
nataliebinder AmeriCorps was the best. Every kid should do it, especially now since job prospects are limited.
As Fairfield University loves to say, being so close to the city of Bridgeport, Connecticut, provides plenty of community service opportunities!
Q4. Why is Paying it Forward important to you?
JohnicaReed I am where I am today bc others paid it forward.
andrealiew I believe that kindness breeds more kindness. I want a world of kindness!
LAKarenLoftus It’s a travel souvenir that doesn’t weigh down the bag or the psyche
BridalTravelGuy CHICKS DIG IT
Andrea said it well — kindness begets kindness. You catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar. Laws of attraction. The Secret. Karma. There’s a reason why this principle exists across so many cultures.
Q5. Best random act of kindness you have come across on the road?
verty My wallet stolen in Milan and stupidly no other money. A British man gave me 20 euro and told me to repay it by giving to charity
AdventureAhora A Honduran trying to get me on the right bus waited with me in the middle of nowhere Guate for 3 hours getting me on the right bus
RickGriffin Once saw business class passengers give up their seats for soldiers headed to Iraq
WeekendInParis Man found husband’s college ring in spring thaw at ski resort, researched him pre-Google & returned it!
I’ll always be SO grateful to my angels from Sao Paulo — a kind-hearted couple who gave me money and a ride back to my hostel after I was robbed in Buenos Aires.
Q6. Act you’ve witnessed while traveling that deserves the worst karma?
zoraoneill Entitled rich ppl bitching in poor countries.
MalaysiaAsia Crooks dressed as monks going around asking for donations around Southeast Asia
TravelingPerly Man hid under my bed in Tanzania,stole my money/camera while i was asleep
thecitizeNY Spirit Airlines charging for carry on bag
As a former waitress, I get angry whenever I see people being rude to waitstaff. They deserve a touch of salmonella. Just a touch.
Q7. How do you find travel volunteer opportunities?
MichaelTyson volunteer with refugee communities in my country and ask them what I can do and who with in theirs
MelissaWitbeck Through the twitter community
LaTorretta Crowd sourcing from others who have been before and done is the best way
tomtravel2 I ask people what they need. Ended up supporting Little League eqpt needs of Sonoran villages. Who knew?
Couchsurfing is SO much more than free lodging. It’s also a great place to learn from people who are invested in their communities around the globe and can point you in the right direction.
Image: Quinn Ryan Mattingly
Q8. Which causes are you most passionate about?
Partners in Health is an organization based in my city, Boston, that has been working in the poorest areas of Haiti for years. They send medical professionals to train the local doctors. Partners in Health knows Haiti well, and they’ve been one of the instrumental organizations since the earthquake.
Q9. Which volunteer vacations are the most fun? The toughest?
kirsten_al Toughest was volunteering at hospital in Jamaica. Ward where every patient was hospice. Nothing 2 do but comfort dying.
santafetraveler Maybe volunteering on an archeological dig. Wish I had the stamina.
Gadling Peace Corps isn’t really a “vacation,” though it can be fun! So glad I did it. And SO glad I’m home now.
TravelSavvyKayt You know I don’t see the 2 as mutually exclusive. Good work often is tough – but ultimately rewarding.
I wish I had been able to go on a volunteer trip while at Fairfield University. Several of my friends went to Ecuador to volunteer and had a blast!
Image: Peter Gene
Q10. Creative/simple ways you pay it forward while traveling?
LATravelWriter when possible, gift photos prints to people who have never had photos of themselves
Chinamike1410 You can donate your loose coins in flight while on any International Carrier, #Virgin, #BA, #Emirates, #Singapore, #Qatar, etc
travelpology Also, share coupons! If you are in line for something and you have an extra ticket/coupon/deal, pass it back!
radioceleste be a couchsurfing, WWOOF host or host an exchange student when back home.
I tell tourists in Boston to skip Mike’s Pastry and go across the street to Modern Pastry instead. Trust me on that one. Everyone has been pretty grateful!
And that’s the week!