Globe Aware: Vacations That Lend A Helping Hand

Globe Aware: Vacations That Lend A Helping Hand

Sarah Rae Smith
Aug 11, 2008

When we think of vacations, work is usually the last thing on the agenda. Instead, we want to sit on sandy beaches while drinking fruity things with little umbrellas in them. We would like to introduce you to Globe Aware-Adventures in Service, who has a slightly different idea of the word "vacation." Their company runs week long, 100% tax-deductible (including airfare!), service oriented vacations to 14 different countries. Click through to learn more about their mini Peace Corp type program that is helping millions around the world.

Hundreds of people are beginning to take part in volunteer vacations from Globe Aware. These are trips not aimed at buying expensive souvenirs, but rather at service. People from all over have already experienced a Globe Aware vacation. From individuals and corporations to families, each person is left with strong memories of having been needed.

Unlike a regular vacation, during which you may spend a good deal of time on a tour buses and in lines at museums, Globe Aware trips allow you to learn things in a very hands-on manner. For example, you learn how to cook local cuisine, sing with local school children and work side by side on local community projects. Few vacations provide a way to bond so closely with local cultures in such short a time. The experience will likely change how you see the world. The first few days of your trip, Globe Aware will send you around the country to be a tourist. This allows you to experience the culture you will be spending the next few days helping.

Volunteers help to empower the host communities in creating renewable, sustainable programs. While Globe Aware's financial assistance benefits the community economically, it is actually the involvement and collaboration between the volunteers and community that is the greatest mutual benefit. Globe Aware is not a foundation that focuses on giving out charity, but rather an organization which focuses on creating self reliance. One of the best reasons to volunteer vacation is the satisfaction you get by helping people who are trying to build a better life for themselves.

So what would one do on such a vacation? Here's some insight into a few different locations within the Globe Aware Program:

Jamaica: Volunteers will assist the community by cleaning up local rivers, caves, and sinkholes. They might also mark trails, build wash stations in rivers to filter soap residue, teach environmental education classes at local schools or implement anti-erosion measures on hillsides.

Mexico: Your assistance will be put to use in the community by implementing a recycling program to reduce the impact of solid waste in the environment. You could find yourself building up corrals on communal land to breed a special breed of sheep that is adapted to the warm climate. It's possible you would lend a hand with the revitalization of the local schools and teaching English. Installing compost latrines to improve sanitation or working on preservation efforts to protect the ancient ruins of Chalcatzingo, Mexico from deterioration are also on the list.

Thailand: Much of the work in Thailand involves working with the Buddhist monks with many of their activities. This could include but isn't limited to: helping at a nursery, training for the disadvantaged, enhancing capacity at Rehabilitation Shelter, Emergency Relief, Elderly Care Unit, teaching basic English in impoverished schools, and giving basic computer instruction.

There is time for play, sight-seeing, and doing the typical tourist type activity, but on a more hands on level. Visit local markets with families to gather food for a nightly meal, check out caves on a guided tour, or spend an an afternoon at sunset on a houseboat in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

In comparison the fruity drink with the little umbrella seems very small and minuscule. It doesn't come with the warm feeling acquired from making a difference to a person, to a family, or to a whole city, just by the giving of your time.
Globe Aware programs are only a week...just think of all the things you could do in 7 days.

Helpful Links: Globe Aware Website, FAQ about the Programs and Cities Needing Volunteers, Journal entries/emails from those who have already served time with Globe Aware, Press about Globe Aware.

Photos by: Firebelly Design in Chicago, took their company to Thailand on a Globe Aware retreat. The pictures used above, are from their fabulous adventures and can be found on Flickr.

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