Here at The Wave, we believe in giving back. Travel with a purpose – whether volunteer your time or donate to a community in need. As a traveler, you can opt to bum around, get sunburnt, be hungover, and come back with a few extra pounds, or, you venture outside your comfort zone, leave a place better than you found it, and return with a refreshing new perspective.
Being a socially responsible traveler doesn’t mean you always have to spend time getting your hands dirty laying bricks and mixing cement while daydreaming of the beach. You can relax at your dream destination and still do something to benefit the local communities you visit and make a positive impact on your worldview. Yes, it is possible to achieve both at the same time.
Travel to Learn
If you haven’t really experienced culture personally, it’s easy to say something unpleasant if we base our comments through what we read or hear. When in fact, each place has its own complex history and social structure. Seeing the hardships, customs, and attitudes of a certain place can inspire you to give back in a variety of ways.
You don’t have to make your vacation focused solely on gaining insight and contributing to improving the local community. Sometimes, you just have to immerse yourself in culture and keep an open mind to new experiences, which is more than enough to achieve a larger benefit.
Once you go on a trip, go to learn. Travel with a purpose and see things differently to have a better understanding of how the world works. With this, you will acquire knowledge on what social projects or causes you might want to support.
There are a lot of socially responsible vacations that don’t require you to build homes or dig a well all day. You can go to Siargao and teach the kids to surf as a reward for their good grades; connect with Gawad Kalinga and prepare food for the kids; join a scuba diving trip to Tubbataha Reef and explore corals; visit a local farm in Luzon and learn how to nurture native seedlings; or join a 2-week excursion in the Cordilleras planting rice and living with the locals.
Keep it Local
One of the ways to contribute and improve people’s lives is to spend local. Stay at locally owned hostels or hotels as they employ locals and are less likely to pollute the environment than big foreign-owned resorts. Eat at local restaurants and try food from side street vendors than chains.
Speak with locals or community members instead of resort-goers, with this you will get an authentic experience. Hang out with them, have a chat, a drink, and ask of their worldly opinions, daily challenges or where to get authentic food and best places to visit. Of course, you can all do your own research online, but not all the best are listed online.
The Bigger Picture
Always look at the bigger picture when you travel with a purpose. When you support local business, you keep these people in business and help boost their lives. When you encounter different cultures, soak up everything to become a better version of yourself. And when you observe, gain different perspectives to help you become more socially conscious, and apply the lessons you learn in your daily life and share it with others.
Travel with a purpose and make your next itinerary count for nature, for the wellbeing of others, and for new experiences.