In a class I recently took at my university, our professor asked the class a relatively simple question. If you had all the money in the world and didn’t have to work anymore, what would you do? In a room full of 20 year old students, the answer was nearly unanimous: travel. When pressed further, different students shared stories of places they’ve been and places they hope to see. What no one talked about, though, was why they wanted to travel.
Although each person is different and has their own specific motives, I think each person’s inspiration to travel can be summed up into one overarching reason: stories. Stories can come in countless different forms. From travel blogs, to friend’s trips abroad, to Netflix documentaries, hearing about other people’s life-changing adventures travelling pushes us to go do it ourselves. Call it anything from emulation to a little bit of jealousy, there’s no denying that it’s a huge factor in people’s decision to travel. My own personal inspiration to travel and make the jump across the pond to spend my summer in London was most definitely inspired by stories my parents told me of their time living abroad in Germany and the Netherlands. Their stories of spontaneous weekend adventures, friends they made from every corner of the world, and immersing themselves in new cultures pushed me to follow in their footsteps and give a new country a try.
So, what am I doing during my time in London? I had the opportunity to intern for an incredible non-profit organization, Arms Around the Child, that works with children facing extreme adversity around the world. We currently support three different organizations in Ghana, South Africa, and India, each working to provide ways for children who have faced life-altering trauma to have a better, brighter future. In particular, I am working with the Volunteer Invest Programme, which works to find passionate, capable volunteers to contribute their time and talents to help the organizations Arms Around the Child supports.
In different ways, our volunteers are inspired by stories as well. They have heard about the terrible realities these children face and are inspired to go make a difference in their lives. When they return and share their stories, both their own stories and the stories of those they meet abroad, others are inspired to go out and do the same. What makes this so special is that the work they are doing is making such a positive impact, not only on themselves and the people they volunteer with, but also on the lives of all those around them. It’s a bit of a ripple effect, really, with one person’s passion and heart inspiring others to follow in their footsteps. Ultimately, they are bringing about more positivity and good to the world, which we all know is needed now more than ever. This type of travelling, travelling for a cause, combines getting completely engaged with new cultures and new people with working to make the world a brighter place.
Once we are inspired enough to get out there and travel, I believe travel itself inspires so much in us. It inspires us to see more, to embrace new cultures and experiences, and to be more appreciative of each other’s differences. It inspires a complete change in our perspective and the way we look at the world. It reminds us that we’re all really looking for the same things in the end, and that we can all do a little to help each other get there.
To learn more about volunteering through Arms Around the Child, check out our website here.
Author Bio: Evelyn Medai, 20, is a student at the University of Arizona and is currently interning at Arms Around the Child in London, England. She is passionate about humanitarian work, travel, and finding the perfect cup of coffee. You can read some of her other work on the Volunteer Invest blog.