Wanderlust…it’s been in my blood since birth. I love traveling and seeing new places, learning about new cultures, eating great food and making new friends. When Kenin and I left the retail workforce and sold our house to travel full-time in July 2012, I never had a second thought that I was doing the right thing. I wanted to see the world and make the most of my short existence on this planet.
When we became travel bloggers, I truly believed it was the best job on the planet. We went from city to city trying out new restaurants, staying in fancy hotels, and doing all of the best activities those cities had to offer. It was quite a rush. We would basically do all of the fun stuff a city had to offer then move on to the next place and do it all over again. Then something happened! I realized over a short time that some of my most heartfelt writing turned out to be some of our most popular posts. These posts all had something in common. They were all articles where I wrote about places that gave back to their communities in one way or another. In a very emotional instant, my travels felt hollow.
While Kenin and I went from city to city taking part in their fun and foods, using up resources and then promptly leaving, my travels began to feel selfish and leech-like. While I don’t want to settle down and have a permanent home, I want to give back. I want every place I touch to be better off when I leave than it was when I arrived. I don’t want to be a travel succubus. While I can write articles like Big Cat Rescue and The Calgary Zoo and gain awareness and donations, I want to get my hands dirty. I want to go out into a community and help build houses and feed the hungry.
As travelers, we work with tourism boards and companies to experience the best a city has to offer. Kenin and I prefer slow travel so we can really experience a city as pseudo-locals. The longer I do this, however, the more I feel like I am just slowly being dragged back into a consumer/retail society. We partake in the cream of the crop and showcase that then move on to somewhere else to eat, drink, and play and showcase to our audience. While I want to promote travel, culture and getting the most out of life, I also want to promote altruism and integrity. I want to promote being a better traveler and being a better human being.
Kenin and I have searched for an organization or two that we can join to participate in actual global volunteering. Unfortunately, we have come across a road block. Joining organizations like the Rotary Club, Lion’s Club, Kiwanis Club all have the same problem. They all do community work throughout their community, but you have to be a part of that community to make a difference. I want to be a part of an organization that will welcome my altruism no matter where I am from or how long I am going to be there. Plug me in, get me a project and let me help. I want to be an active global citizen. If I want the world to be a better place, it has to start with me. I am now traveling with a purpose. I want to leave every city a better place than I found it.
I would love to start a program where anyone can donate, anyone can volunteer, and anyone can participate in cleaning up a city, helping the needy, and give back to whatever community they choose to without borders…We can’t be a truly global community if we keep refuse to break down the borders.
I will continue to get my hands dirty in whatever way I can to help out, but a change is coming in the way I volunteer. If I can’t find an open organization that caters to full-time travelers, then I guess I’ll have to make one…Challenge accepted!