The world needs more heroes. Heroes are people who step up, who face challenges selflessly and with resolve. Heroes help others when they don’t have to. There are so many people with privilege in this world—people who have everything they need but don’t look beyond their neatly kept front yards. I don’t blame these people, in fact, often I am one of them. It’s easy to live, to move through each day focused on the little things. We are all concerned with our own well-being: our relationships, jobs, and dreams. Sometimes we need reminding that we live in a global context, that our privilege stands on the shoulders of other people’s need. We don’t all have to be Angelina Jolie, but we do have to do more. Inequality is an innate part of life but that doesn’t mean we should accept it. Fighting inequality is everyone’s responsibility and it starts with a simple choice: deciding to volunteer.
The Hero Projects is a voluntour organization that offers “life-changing experiences while helping communities in need by combining adventure tourism with hands-on volunteer projects.” Their adventures are 1-2 weeks long and they combine outdoor recreation with volunteering. Their focus is on creating renewable energy installations in developing communities. Their projects are designed to appeal to the adventurer while they benefit local economies and communities.
One of the things that set Hero Projects apart is their team of dedicated outdoors people. The co-founders of the company, Allan Warren and Patrick Baldwin, are accomplished adventure sportsmen. They love the challenges of the outdoors, from whitewater kayaking to rock climbing. Their passion for adventure alongside their passion for sustainability and social service offers travelers a powerful combination. It’s crusading in every sense of the word: fighting for equality, celebrating bold experiences, appreciating the grandeur and majesty of nature, and searching for ways to serve and help.
Volunteers get the best of both worlds: the sightseeing and outdoor adventure of a vacation with the enrichment of volunteering. I should also mention, Hero Projects’ destinations are nothing short of spectacular! They explore the vast wilderness of Alaska: Prince William Sound; the Charley River, home to North America’s largest Peregrine Falcon preserve; and Denali National Park’s six million acres of wild land. They are also running a short-term solar power project in Kenya, home of the Masaai Mara National Park. This trip includes (for the intrepid voluntourists among them) a 5-day trek to the top of Mount Kenya at 16, 355 feet.