Making a difference while traveling the world

Only 13 days left till I leave for Asia! I’m sitting on my couch now at 1:30am, trying to stay awake before Super Shuttle comes to pick up Trevor and me to go to the airport for a one week trip to Mexico for a destination wedding. After I get back, I have 2 days to finish packing up my apartment before the movers come to take my stuff to storage. Then I drive down to LA where I fly out 2 days after that. I know – I’m crazy to cram all this in.

I’ve had a productive week, though, at least. I bought a video camera – a Canon Vixia HF20 – which is an older model, but still of good quality, so I got a good deal. And because the camera store was celebrating their 57th anniversary, they had a raffle drawing Saturday and I won a Sony bloggie! I never win anything! I also ordered a wireless mic and transmitter earlier tonight, so I’m pretty good with equipment, I think. I’d still like a good point and shoot camera, though, since mine broke a few months ago.

A coffee meeting yesterday made me feel all the more committed and motivated to take this volunteer trip and build a website as a resource for other aspiring volunteers. I finally met up with a friend of a friend (2 friends from different parts of my life, actually, by coincidence) who’s been interested in taking a volunteer trip herself. She’s ready for a change and wants to take a year off work to travel and volunteer in different parts of the world. She’s a tennis player and would like to possibly teach tennis or other sports to children, as well as lives in a Spanish-speaking country. It was so invigorating to share ideas with her and to encourage her to take those first steps to get the ball rolling. She told me she’s been talking about taking a trip like this for the past few years and the hardest part for her is to just bite the bullet and embrace the idea of leaving her job and the life she’s built in San Francisco, which I can totally understand. I was just like that. I think what got me to act was a conversation with a friend who I hung out with a lot in San Diego in 2007. Last November, she and I met up again and I told her how I “hoped” to take a volunteer trip. She reminded me that I had told her that same thing 4 years ago!

Buying the Lonely Planet Volunteer guide also helped motivate me. If you want a bunch of ideas in one book, that’s a good resource – although some of the information is a little outdated, so it’s best you refer to the organization websites, too. They have listings of different volunteer organizations all around the world where you can participate in all kinds of activities, as well as anecdotes from volunteers, fundraising suggestions, tips on what to do before and after your trip, etc. That’s where I found out about Volunthai, the group I’ll be volunteering with in Thailand.

All right…it’s 2:00am now. I have to get ready before the Super Shuttle driver comes knocking on my door…


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