Tuesday, May 23rd, 2017

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.

Image: AfghanistanMatters

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!

Image: cityyear

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.

Image: heathbrandon

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?

CruiseMuse @charitywater | http://www.charitywater.org

Action_JoJo http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/

museyon I really like Education Through Music, they give full music programs to schools that had to cut theirs http://bit.ly/b3z4HD

GloboTreks I’m most passionate about wildlife rescue, but any cause works for me http://www.globalvolunteernetwork.org/

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!

Travelers’ Night In, founded and organized by the lovely ladies at ZipSetGo, takes place on Thursdays from 3:30-5:00 ET. All are welcome! Follow the #TNI tag to see the questions and conversation!


9 Responses to “Travelers’ Night In — Pay It Forward!”
  1. KayteinLa says:

    I forgot to mention…I have some good tips for being a good voluntourist in New Orleans (and elsewhere), from after Katrina but still valid, here: http://rainydaytraveler.com/RainyDayTraveler/NewOrleans/NewOrleansVoluntourism.htm

    And I totally agree with you about Modern Pastry – best cannoli in Boston!

  2. CruiseMuse says:

    Kate, Thank you for your hard work with the #TNI recap! I am very happy that my favorite charity http://www.charitywater.org made the list. It is an important project with a very efficient organization… “100% goes directly to building wells.” In addition, you get a big bang for your donated buck… “$20 can give one person clean water for 20 years”

  3. Connie says:

    Hi Kate, thanks for sharing this! I’m so sorry that I missed out on such a great topic! I’m a bit new to Twitter (resisted as long as I could but now I wonder why I fought it in the first place) but I hope to get involved in next week’s discussion! A lot of great leads for me in terms of more volunteering abroad!

  4. Amanda says:

    Great recap as always, Kate. This topic in particular is really inspiring, and it’s nice to see such a good compilation of tips and ideas!

  5. Victoria says:

    I’ve “watched” the TNI conversations for several months now and find them really interesting and fun, but this week’s dsicussion about “Paying It Forward” was really, really heartwarming. We take our kids with us when we travel and roadtrip – and always try to work in a small way to pay back to the community or area we visit (more than just our traveler dollars). My favorite was taking sea turtle food to a marine biologist in Nevis!

    Thanks for the great recap!


  6. Verity says:

    Great recap Kate! Thanks for including me. I really like your recaps… a great way to see some of the stuff I miss in the franticness that is tni 🙂

  7. Michael says:

    Wow, I’m also a bit new to twitter and by seeing what you did here I’m starting to realize the potential. You have done a great job here. It’s also good to see such enthusiasm about voluteering. Thanks!


Check out what others are saying about this post...
  1. […] Thursday there is an interactive discussion among the travel community—Travelers’ Night In (read more & a round-up here). This week’s discussion on “paying it forward” got me thinking. And seeing as […]

  2. […] This week’s Traveler’s Night In tweet-up theme? Volunteering while traveling. (via Adventurous Kate) […]

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