The year was 2002 and I had turned twenty of age. As soon as the calendar changed from 2001 to 2002, my life was upside down. Every day was a torture. Since then I vowed to myself that I would never be a weak person anymore.
“If you dream hard enough, it will eventually come true!”
As I was trying to get rid of the pain from being a sexual harassment victim, one of my dreams came true. It was the turning point of my life. I was to embark on a journey that will forever change my life. Just before 2002 ends, I had the most memorable journey of life. Travel means so much and little that I knew of how that voyage had redefined my current life.
SSEAYP – the Ship for Southeast Asia-Japan Youth Program was a God sent gift. Not only it gave me the opportunity to set foot overseas, it also brought me special friendships; during that said program. In addition to that, it completely changed the way I see travel and people all together.
Perhaps the biggest lesson of traveling on Nippon Maru, with over 300 youths around Southeast Asia, for me is ‘the realization’ of that giving back is better than receiving. Thus, upon returning from that meaningful journey, I promised myself that I would do my best to always give back. Hence, every time I embark on a travel expedition, my main intention has always been “to reach out and enjoy”.
Since 2002, there have been numerous opportunities for me to contribute while I enjoy traveling. I cannot remember of when and what had I contributed, but it was certainly never money (unfortunately, I am just as average person like most of you). Nonetheless, each occasion that I spend time and energy often is rewarded with much satisfaction and a big smile on my face.
If your idea of traveling equals to luxurious hotel stays, service pampering as well as lazing around doing nothing, then travel with a cause is not your cup of tea. However, for those who wish to expand their travel experience to be something very special for you and (at least one) more person, then you should start considering to travel with a cause.
Like travel agents, do you know that there is an organization that helps travelers at finding opportunities for you to travel and volunteer at the same time?
When I heard about Ecoteer, I was ecstatic. Ecoteer allows you to travel with a cause. Choose any destination in Asia, Africa, Australia or even an exotic location you have in mind, you probably ends up paying so much less for an extended stay in your chosen location. The whole concept of ecoteer responsible travel is matching traveler to a meaningful volunteering project.
“Ecoteer is a unique volunteer opportunities agency - offering a directory of cheap volunteer work opportunities, volunteer jobs abroad and working holidays. Our volunteer opportunities are cheap because we have eliminated the middleman slashing the price to volunteer abroad for gapyears, careerbreaks and working holidays. Ecoteer is changing the volunteer and working holiday industry.”
As someone who loves to mess around with the locals while I explore a new place, a chance to be part of wildlife conservation would allow me to get up close with the animals rather than seeing them in the fancy cages; or a chance to participate in a community development activity will surely brought me closer to the people of a different culture and country.
Want to know more about what have I written above? Check out Ecoteer homepage for more info. Also, if you are looking for immediate travel volunteer opportunity in Asia, scroll down this page to see what’s available from Ecoteer responsible travel program.