Habit is something that you do often and regularly, sometimes without even knowing that you are doing it. While it’s a point of deep discussion whether habits can be bad or good (it’s all about perceptions), some habits can be really annoying and take a toll on you!
There are certain travel habits that can be observed in most travelers from all parts of the world. These are habits that, initially, provide a sense of completeness and self-satisfaction, but later on it is what we tend to repent and crib about. But is there any reason to crib about something that can be improved by our little efforts?
Being a traveler myself, I too had certain set of habits which were so deeply ingrained that it took some time for me to overcome them. And in the process of coming out from the cocoon, I realized that I was feeling much lighter and better than I used to feel previously – thanks to the volunteering journey that helped me realize about those habits. It’s never too late to let go of the bad habits, and there’s a reason why should embark your journey when you feel the time is right. Unlike other trips that you’ve taken, a volunteer trip will definitely make you a better person.
1. Not maintaining a proper routine. “Let’s sleep a little more as we are on a vacation!” Absolutely! Why not? But isn’t this the one thing you start complaining about once back from the trip? – complaints about disturbing the schedule, skipping the workout, imbalancing the entire physique! During a volunteer trip, one has to follow a schedule that ensures activeness throughout the day, a good workoutregime, healthy routine, and a lot of interactive sessions.
2. Stuffing your luggage. So you’re traveling for a couple of weeks to your dream destination, but since it’s a place miles away from home, you plan to take almost your entire home with you! At some point, it can be justified since you can’t expect homely facilities in a hotel. But what if you were to live with a local family, in their home, during your entire sojourn? Yes! Volunteering lets you experience that. There are volunteer opportunities abroad during which volunteers are provided placements with a local host family, giving an opportunity to understand the local culture in a much better way and live in a home away from home. Leave some space in your rucksack to bring back souvenirs!
3. Taking too many pictures. Just because the GoPros and DSLRs have made life easier for all the shutterbugs, doesn’t means you should see your trip through the lenses only. Give your eyeballs an opportunity to do the work they are meant for. While attending a volunteer program, you’ll understand the importance of leaving your cameras aside and living every moment through your own eyes, and senses. Enjoy the scenery around you with your own eyes first – let it all sink in, and then, of course, you can go for clicking a few selfies that you can show off to your friends!
4. Visiting the same touristic places. Most of the times, they are the same old touristic places you keep visiting again and again. Surely, you fell in love with that white sauce pasta you had during your last trip to Italy, or were all in awe of the picturesque architectures in Rome. But, unless you explore the rest of the world, how would you even know what else is there to go weak on your knees for! Here comes one of the best parts of a taking a volunteer trip abroad. Most of the volunteer projects are offered in developing or underdeveloped countries; opening up an ocean of new destinations to visit.
5. Relying on the maps. One of the commonest things you can find in a traveler’s backpack is a local map. Of course, with all the high-tech devices (and also Google Maps) it has become easier to search for the geographical position of a particular place you desire to visit. But, isn’t it a much better and more precise option to get the information from a local?! Indeed it is. During your volunteer trip abroad, a dedicated local coordinator is appointed by the placement agency you have registered with. This makes it easier and accurate to find the best of everything available locally, helping you get rid of one extra thing in your bag.
6. Being reluctant to try something new. While traveling abroad, many have this habit to stick to a particular style of food or refrain from coming close to taking adventurous experiences. Why, in the world, are you even traveling then, my dear friend? ‘Voluntours’ (volunteer tourism) are a great mix of travel and volunteer work. When you live with a group of people from different corners of the world, you automatically get surrounded by everything new. You even get motivated to try new things, be it the spicy food of India, adventure dive in Thailand, or living with animals in South Africa.
7. Showing negligence towards local culture. The world and the people are diverse and fascinating, and it is an astonishing feeling to experience the wonder. You must always keep in mind how important it is to show respect to those local customs and traditions when you travel. Many countries are more conservative with their wardrobe sensibility. For example, if you’re traveling to India, you should do a thorough research about what to wear, as wearing short shorts may be considered inappropriate. Also, learn a little bit of the local language, even if it is just “Hello” and “Thank you.” Study what the customs of your location of choice are to ensure that you don’t unknowingly offend anyone.
When there is will, there is definitely a way. Volunteering abroad can be considered as that way to improve upon some of the commonest annoying travel habits. If you too have any of these ‘bad’ habits, and you want to get rid of those, then plan for a volunteer trip and welcome the changes in you. You’ll always return back as a better person.