As a traveller, you can go on holiday, check out tourist attractions, eat a lot, party all night, and return home with a bunch of selfies and a couple extra kilos OR you could immerse yourself in a new culture, learn new skills, make new friends and maybe even leave the place a little better than you found it.
Sounds like too much work for a holiday? It doesn’t have to be. Purpose travel isn’t all work and no play. In fact there are lots of reasons to consider travelling with a greater purpose, here’s five.
#1 – Learn More About Different Cultures
Getting actively involved with local communities to help with causes and projects will open doors to experiences that you might not otherwise have had.
Volunteering is very different from touring a country because you will spend a lot more time in one place working with locals on a daily basis. This gives you the opportunity to better connect with people in the community and fully immerse yourself in their culture.
#2 – Learn More About Yourself
The “voyage of self-discovery” (think Eat, Pray, Love) may seem a little cliché, but don’t knock it till you try it. Lots of people have had transformative experiences while travelling and chances are you will to.
The thing is, ask anyone who’s found themselves while travelling and most of them will tell you that it happened when they least expected it. The people who travel specifically to find themselves generally fail or succeeded just when they gave up.
So if you really do want to find yourself, you’re much better off not fixating on it. Instead, volunteer with communities or projects overseas and you just might find the enlightenment you’re looking for.
#3 – New Experiences Make You Happy
Travel enough and you’ll start to get the “been there, done that” kinda feeling. When your travelling experiences start to blur together, it’s time to do something different because new experiences will make you happier (science says so).
Helping out with local communities, fighting for a cause or even learning a new language in a foreign country will allow you to experience travel from a different perspective. Chances are you’ll meet interesting people along the way, make new friends and enjoy yourself more in the process.
#4 – Unique Experiences and Meaningful Memories
If you’re looking for significant and meaningful experiences on your travels, then you have to behave like a traveller, not a tourist.
Going on mass-market tours, while convenient, is likely to produce cookie-cutter experiences that don’t offer much in the way of authenticity.
When you travel with a purpose, you’re more likely to create experiences that are not only unique to you but will also leave a deeper impact and more meaningful memories.
#5 – Enhance Your Resume
According to the Global Volunteer Network (GVN), volunteering overseas is a great way of making your resume stand out. It shows that you are willing to step outside your comfort zone to make a difference to the lives of others. Employers appreciate this and they value the life experience, soft skills and cultural understanding that you will gain through volunteering.
Furthermore, by volunteering in your field of interest you will have the opportunity to learn new ways to approach different problems, and you will gain valuable work experience in a new environment.