Inspire…Inform…Connect…Celebrating volunteer travel experiences around the world.

Author Archives: Anni M.

Volunteer with Elephants at Thailand’s Elephant Nature Park

Resident Elephant at Elephant Nature Park

Image source: Phototracs.com

Elephants are some of the world’s most majestic creatures. They’re the largest living land animals on Earth. Known for their memory and intelligence, Elephants are a symbol of wisdom in Asian cultures. When I was a girl living in Kenya, I spent long days by the game preserve’s salt lick, watching the elephants interacting with each other and caring for their young. Once, three hyenas tried to attack one of the babies and the adults surrounded her in a giant circle, trumpeting their furious sounds and rearing up, thrashing their massive tusks in the air. The hyenas skulked back into the underbrush. The baby was safe. Elephants migrate over huge distances, through deserts, to find watering holes. The matriarchs teach the younger females how to find the water, where to find food, how far to march… elephants are some of the only animals besides humans that have culture. They have history. They have communities. They have no natural predators and yet, elephants all over the world are facing possible extinction.

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The Ripple Effect: Helping Children in Brazil with Brian Harley, Part Two

Brian Harley in Brazil

Image source: Brian Harley

Welcome to part two of our Ripple Effect interview with Brian Harley, a veteran and humanitarian who traveled to Salvador, Brazil to make a difference in children’s lives. His story illustrates the ripple effect of volunteering: how a volunteering experience can make a person better.

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The Ripple Effect: Helping Children in Brazil with Brian Harley, Part One

Brian Harley in Brazil

Image source: Brian Harley

Welcome back to our interview series, The Ripple Effect. The Ripple Effect explores the emotional impact of volunteer travel and its lasting effect on people’s lives. Today we’re speaking with Brian Harley, a veteran and humanitarian who traveled to Salvador, Brazil to make a difference in children’s lives. His story illustrates the transformative effect of volunteering: how it can shift a person’s perspective, changing him for the better. Please check back tomorrow for part two of our interview with Brian.

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Cultural Integration with Volunteers in Asia

A Group of Japanese Exchange Students

Image source: Viaprograms.wordpress.com

The history of the relationship between Asia and North America is impossibly complicated and rife with ideological conflict. With the fastest growing economy in the world, China is a major global superpower and yet, the perception of America in China isn’t what it could be. I recently heard a fantastic piece on This American Life called “Americans in China.” It explored the complex relationship between American ex-pats and their Chinese neighbors. How Chinese can an American become? What products and emblems affect our cultural perceptions (Anime, G.I. Joe, Hello Kitty, MacDonalds, etc.)? What barriers are there between the two cultures? How is the American democracy perceived by Chinese citizens? Clearly, these two cultures are going to become more and more intertwined as each relies more heavily on the other. All of Asia is part of this globalizing equation—the tightening of our ties and the cultural interplay that must inevitably follow.

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Volunteer Expeditions: Travel Inspired, Return Empowered

Volunteer Expeditions Building a House

Image source: Causes.com

Volunteer Expeditions strives to gain an understanding about the rights and needs of those in poverty, the dignity of life and the necessity to reach beyond ourselves in giving.

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