The other side of traveling that doesn’t get discussed enough is how travelers often come face to face with pain, suffering, hunger, and needs. Whether its a beggar in the market or looking outside the hotel window. Countries with some of the most amazing natural beauty are often engulfed with poverty impacting every traveler who passes through. There are many ways we respond to this pain. Some become numb, or offended, feel guilty, or feel obligated to give what they can at that moment. I have found myself at each of these responses at one time of another.
I’ve traveled around the world and found a common theme in conversations in every country I’ve been. Justice. It is what we all search for and injustice offends every person on this earth whether rich or poor. We come to realize that the amount of injustice we see and our abilities to make a difference is like a drop in a bucket. But, what if we looked at it differently?
Feelings: I don’t want to overlook the feelings that come over us as we encounter injustice. This can change our mood in seconds. We can be enjoying a perfect sunset on the beach when a woman with a sickly child comes begging at our feet. The feelings can range for each person but often its often hard to enjoy the present when these interruptions occur.
Response: How we feel often determines how we react. Often we make quick and immediate response to resolve our guilt but we know well that this leads to long term problems. But, could we better plan our trip so that we could make a difference? Its these kinds of actions that can change the world. I know, some of you may be thinking, but how could my small token or time make a dent in such a huge problem in the world. Get this:
What happens when even a small fraction of 3.6 billion people agree to make a few changes to their travel plans in order to assist those in need in the places they will go? What it means is that travelers, vacationers, travel bloggers, and even business trips collectively can make an enormous dent in poverty and needs in the world today.
So what are some ways we can change our plans to make this difference today?
- Choose hotels that have a reputation of giving back to community. These are rare but worth checking out. In our town there are places to stay that help the elephants. Those who stay at these guesthouses can elephant trek alongside the elephants in their natural habitat and the money goes to help breed the elephants. www.naturelodgecambodia.com
- Plan a volunteer day into your trip. There are many volunteer opportunities in each country you visit. Get online and see what is available near you.
- Buy from places that give jobs to those in need. Research the stores that sell items which support women freed from sex trafficking or hill tribe people seeking work outside of the opium fields.
- Have money to give? Visit organizations in country that help meet needs and choose one to give to. These visits can bring an interesting perspective to your trip. On warning: be careful in visiting orphanages as some crooked owners have been know to keep kids skinny and unclothed in order to increase donations. This also requires a bit of research.
- Other ideas? Please share in comments so collectively we can make a difference.
So back to the question “why do people around the world crave justice?” No matter where we live, we are all created. Created to love, have compassion, help others, and like our Creator, we have a heart for justice. To see those needs met. Can you think of a better way to spend your time on a vacation? Not only do you get to enjoy the sites but you also get the warm fuzzy’s of knowing that you did your part to give back to those who helped you. Want a secret to happiness? Check out this article to read more about what giving back can do for you! http://philosiblog.com/2014/01/17/those-who-are-happiest-are-those-who-do-the-most-for-others/
What will you do? Please do share this blog so others can join in the community of change. Do prepare before your next big trip to give back in a way thats meaningful and long term. Do let me know ways you know of giving back to communities in need!