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VolunTourism is an opportunity. It is an opportunity to exercise our co-operative mojo, to mature beyond a competitive, non-integral view of our humanity and to embrace the harmony that exists amongst and between.

This is not to imply that we will form a clone-like homogeneity of travel experiences, but we will be well-suited to apply strategic thought and scientific process in evolving the intersection of voluntary service and travel & tourism.

As the heart cannot cannibalize the kidneys nor the liver and maintain a healthy body, it seems prudent that we seek to harmonize the relationship between economy and goodwill - neither of which is capable, any longer, of standing dominant in complete defiance of the 'natural order.' Tourism is the engine; volunteerism is the deliverable. For now, VolunTourism serves as a reminder that transition is possible, rather than painstakingly inevitable. We no longer need be bludgeoned by negative experience in order to reinvent our approach or alter our habits. VolunTourism gives us a chance to rewrite our collective DNA in a manner that does not completely annihilate the existing system. Trial & error and experimentation are open and available to us. I suggest we begin the process... today.

 

If we are to progress toward a cooperative phase in our human evolution, it is essential that we focus on the 99.9 percent sameness that exists. This is no less true as it pertains to VolunTourism. As long as we continue to seek differentiation between volunteerism and tourism, we are likely to remain in our juvenile competitive phase. Instead, let's take a look at eight factors that are equally important to both. These are, in no particular order:
Service
Experience
Investment
Repetition
Passion
Purpose
Authenticity, and
Learning


Service
By far the easiest item to discover from the list of common roots between volunteerism and tourism is SERVICE. Service is the heart of both. Without it, neither can be successful in achieving desired outcomes.
Experience
In particular, we are referring to two aspects of experience - the 'experience' itself (what occurs) and the 'experience' (wisdom, personal insight, etc.) gained by the participant. Each is integrated into volunteering and touristic activities.
Investment
Whether investment is measured monetarily or as a product of time, both are relevant in the context of volunteerism and tourism. Although money may be seen as the greater of the two investments where tourism is concerned, time is no less a commodity in that context. Time, or lack thereof, is the item most often selected by those who are 'unable' to volunteer, yet to have the flexibility (often expressed as financial wherewithal) to be able to volunteer is equally important.
Repetition
At first glance, this may raise some eyebrows into question mode. Repetition, however, is the life-blood of volunteerism. Volunteers need to keep coming back. For tourism, repetition is akin to the 'holy grail.' It is the great hope of members of that sector that travellers will repeat their visitations year after year.
Passion
Travel or volunteering without passion is flat, aimless, and utterly disappointing for all involved.
When travel and volunteering are infused with passion, however, the fruits of either are laden with a savoury flavour that is truly memorable.
Purpose
Without purpose one can become very lost while volunteering or travelling. Purpose gives meaning and answers the 'Why?' question, as this question will invariably resurface many, many times throughout the course of either experience.
Authenticity
Keep it real. This should be the motto of every volunteering stint and certainly for all travel. Authenticity represents the foundation upon which the choice to continue volunteering and/or travelling is ultimately made.
Learning
It is easy to identify the potential for external learning to occur in both settings - volunteering and traveling. What is less conspicuous to the untrained eye, however, is the learning that occurs internally - a better understanding of self, preferences & aversions, judgments, etc. This, of course, is enhanced when taken in the context of the contributions of such experiences to 'life-long' learning.

 

 

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