Sunday, January 25, 2009
Take a Break and change other people's lives
Breaks that change lives
An increasing number of people are setting off on volunteer holidays that take them to exotic locations they would otherwise never have thought of venturing into.
Spending money on a break where you give something back to society or gain new skills seems to be a trend that’s getting stronger all the time.
There are several projects around that need skilled and unskilled volunteers for tasks such as helping with community development, teaching languages, PR, marine conservation and wildlife protection.
Not only is it far more rewarding to spend your cash on experiences rather than possessions, says Rachel Morgan-Trimmer, founder of http://www.thecareerbreaksite.com/ but volunteer breaks are now considered an important investment in one’s personal and professional development.
“There has been a general trend over the past ten years to take care of our planet and of other people, rather than just looking after oneself,” explains Morgan-Trimmer.
Your new adventure could take you deep into the heart of South America, Asia, Africa, Europe or the Middle East — so think about a place where you could imagine yourself spending a long time.
If you are taking a career break to volunteer, there are a number of ways you can use your professional experience to help others.
“Almost anything you can do as a professional you can do as a volunteer,” added Morgan-Trimmer.
She suggests thinking about an activity you have always wanted to try, whether it’s working with children, caring for the environment, looking after animals or leading a team.
Some career breakers have even gone to work for a company they volunteered with, while others have set up their own organisations.
However, if you are planning on coming back home, it is always a good idea to do it during major holidays to catch up with family and friends.
That way, when you eventually return from a long break the transition will be easier.
Prepare before you get set and go
Rachel Morgan-Trimmer gives a few helpful tips for volunteering abroad:
Stay healthy: Make sure you have had all the necessary vaccinations, especially malaria protection and a have first aid kit with you.
Keep safe: Trust your intuition and don’t do anything you wouldn’t do at home.
Home and bills: For those who are selling up or moving out of rented properties, settle your bills before you travel.
Budgeting: Look out for special offers on flights and packages but never skimp on insurance, backpacks, medical items and footwear.
Keep in touch: Having a travel blog is a good way to stay in touch with family and friends as well as having email or mobile phones.
Homesickness: It is perfectly normal to feel overwhelmed in a new country, but get stuck in to your volunteer project and you will soon feel more comfortable.
Visit http://www.thecareerbreaksite.com/ for more info.
Also check out http://www.travellersworldwide.com/