The Responsible Traveler

Masai Village

2009, ready to embark on my first solo trip half way around the world. I’m volunteering with CCS, and compulsively perusing the message boards on the online forum. Mostly, they’re for future volunteers to ask questions or connect with fellow travelers. One post in particular though, catches me off guard. A previous volunteer shared her concerns that volunteerism, far from being a benefit to the countries we were visiting she suggested, it was actually a great cause of harm. Of course, at the time it bothered me, but I didn’t think too much about it. I had chosen CCS because they had great connections with the community that supported sustainable projects. Continue reading

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Top 5.

Right now I have a short list of countries to visit, by short, I mean 80-something. But many of these countries I want to visit at some point, not necessarily as soon as possible. And when trying to narrow it down to most interested I find it exceptionally difficult, there are so many incredible places to see! But, if I had choose, these are my top 5 (in no particular order). I choose them based on if I had the opportunity to travel at this very moment; these locations are what jump first into my mind.  Continue reading

Wanderlust

Zanzibar

“…leaving home means a loss of innocence, encountering uncertainty: the wider world has typically been regarded as haunted, a place of darkness.”

I love this, an excerpt written for a NYTimes piece by Paul Theroux. A great article. I’ve read some of his works, and immensely enjoyed “Dark Star Safari” after my first trip to Africa. Aside from an underlying arrogance in his writing, that sort of makes me want to punch him, I do actually quite like his writing and count him as one of my favorite travel authors.

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Why I Volunteer

Somewhere Over Africa-Red Earth

It’s a question I’ve been asked a fair number of times. It’s also I question I find difficult to answer. In searching to articulate what drives me to volunteer, specifically, abroad I find a multitude of reasons. But I struggle to explain, fundamentally, why. I went to Africa for the first time for mostly selfish reasons. I would be lying if I said otherwise. Yes, I wanted to help, and to contribute in some capacity to those who were in need, but really I wanted to help myself. Specifically, find myself. I had grown up with a clear directive. Medical School. When I began to question my motivations and desire to be a physician my world was for the first time, completely uncertain. My goal, was to live abroad, to remove myself from the familiar, which often acts as a shelter-from ourselves, as well as the world. I wanted to get to know myself. This is what I thought anyway…

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