As we crave our break from work and an escape from everyday worries, the call of the sun and the beach can often be overwhelming. However, is there perhaps another way to experience a holiday that will live just that bit longer in the memory? Is it really possible to spend a holiday doing good for others? Is there, in fact, a deeper purpose to our urge to travel? As one sun lounger experience seems to blend into another, perhaps we can all take steps to reimagine what a holiday can mean.
We are perhaps conditioned to believe that our time away from work is only about giving us the reward of forced relaxation whether we choose to pass the leisure time close to home or halfway around the world. Yes, it can be soothing to chill out in this way but how meaningful are the memories of two weeks on the beach or by the pool?
Many more travellers are already beginning to look at their time off in a different way. Doing something completely different can end up being so much more rewarding. There are all sorts of opportunities to find something new which will be stimulating and rewarding for you as well as being beneficial for those who you help.
Volunteering close to home can form part of a holiday and there’s so much choice available on what to do. From conservation work to archaeology, from working with nature to supporting older people, there are so many ways to make a difference and shape some lasting memories.
Travelling further afield can lead to short-term work as an assistant teacher in Asia and Africa where the demand is great. With free meals and accommodation, the only cost is the travel itself while the rewards from interacting with and helping the students are immense. It’s an experience which many volunteers wish to repeat every year as they explore parts of the world which tourists rarely even visit.
Or, how about helping out in a National Park? There you can learn at first hand about what conservation means in practice and make your own meaningful contribution to these special areas. Offering your time like this helps to protect our wild spaces and places for future generations. It also delivers a life experience impossible to replicate in any other way.
With just a little research, you can seek out places as an intern in a refugee camp or fix up some voluntary time in a medical centre. Not only will you meet new people and share lasting experiences but you will also be able to reflect on having a holiday that mattered.