Global Travelers and Giving Tuesday

Global Travelers and Giving Tuesday

Sheila Moon Sheila Moon
3 minute read

Global travelers and Giving Tuesday are a dynamic combination. If you’re an experienced traveler, challenge yourself this Giving Tuesday by signing up with a non-governmental organization (NGO) for an international aid opportunity. Share your expertise or your labor with a community that could benefit — chat with young adults to improve their conversational English or help rehome the critically endangered orangutans in Borneo and Sumatra. Or support sustainable tourism by registering for trips and tours that provide unique experiences while ethically supporting local communities.

Two of my favorite organizations are Habitat for Humanity and World Central Kitchen. Habitat for Humanity has offices in all 50 states and 70 countries worldwide. They have a wide range of job opportunities and special programs, such as Women Build and RV Care-A-Vanners. You can find a location close to home and have a volunteering staycation, or you can choose from 70 countries worldwide for a more exotic experience.

World Central Kitchen (WCK) is an incredible organization headed by Chef Jose Andres. Their philosophy: "when people are hungry, send in cooks. Not tomorrow, today." WCK is on the frontlines of humanitarian, climate, and community crises, providing food for people who have lost everything. They currently have teams in Ukraine, Gaza, Afghanistan, Mexico, and other communities worldwide that have been devastated by war or natural disasters. Burn some of those frequent flier miles and give your time, your energy and your heart.

World Central Kitchen in Afghanistan

There are a plethora of opportunities in every part of the world. Many programs allow you to tailor your experience to your strengths, desired destination, schedule, and budget. There can be negative consequences of voluntourism, so do your research and avoid becoming part of the problem rather than the solution.

Beyond volunteer opportunities, there are simple ways integrate sustainable practices into your adventures — and small changes can have a huge impact. Rather than a day-long ATV trip that will destroy the desert ecosystem of Baja California Sur, consider taking boat tour with a local pangero (fishing boat guide) to swim with the seals and whale sharks in the Sea of Cortez. Or explore one of the only three grey whale birthplaces in the world, drift among these incredible creatures in a small boat with a local guide, and touch and commune with these beautiful, intelligent, gentle giants.

Pangero trip with whale shark

Consider taking an educational tour in an Indigenous Community and learn how Indigenous Peoples connect with and protect their land. This could be an adventure deep into the Amazon, exploring an ancient pyramid with one of the numerous Indigenous Tribes of Mexico and Central America, or flying to Africa to meet the Maasai. You can also keep it close to home and attend a North American Indigenous cultural festival. Many Indigenous Peoples are turning to eco-tourism to support their community and to educate others in their traditional way of life.

There are so many amazing adventures available that give rather than take, enriching both your life and the lives of the local community. On Giving Tuesday, pick one (or more!) and sign up to give back, this holiday season and into 2024.

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