Tag Archives: GlobeDrop

Why I Donate and Volunteer While Traveling

There is no arguing that donating items or volunteering your time is universally a good thing to do. I especially enjoy doing this when I’m traveling. For me, it’s a wonderful way to feel more connected to a destination. In fact, my favorite travel memories and connections have been when I volunteered or donated supplies to those in need. I am so fortunate to be able to travel and visit different parts of the world. It’s a small thing I can do and it goes farther than many realize.

cambodia habitat for humanity

My first travel volunteer experience was with Habitat for Humanity in Cambodia. It was truly so meaningful to me. I learned so much about myself on that trip. I had never been to Asia before and knew no one on my build. I had never seen that kind of poverty before. But working side by side these people living in poverty to build them a better home was truly so enriching. I will never ever forget the local people working on my build. They were such kind spirits that touched my heart. And, I believe they won’t ever forget me either.

india

But there are other small ways to give back that don’t take a week-long commitment. When I traveled to India I worked with an organization called Globe Drop to find a donation opportunity. I was able to purchase items in India for an orphanage of girls. The purchases helped the local economy and cost a fraction of what it would in the US. It was a win-win. All I had to do was take the time to buy the items and then go deliver them to the orphanage. A small amount of time that went a long way making these girls learning and living experiences better.

jamaica

Another small way I helped on another travel adventure was to collect and deliver children’s books to a foundation in Jamaica that help to educate impoverished children who would not otherwise have an education. People are always looking to give away books over time and, in many cases, they’d like them to go into good hands. I just took a little time to build up a collection and then contacted Rockhouse Foundation and asked if they would like them. They said yes so I packed them up in my bag and traveled to Jamaica. Again, the delivery just took a little time out my day and was so worth the cause.

peru1

My most recent volunteer/donation experience was in Peru. My friend and I found an opportunity to help orphan children with their school work and play with them for a few days in Cusco. To see their smiles every day brought so much laughter and joy to us. The same organization, Peru Trek 4 Good, that connected us to the orphanage also collects clothing and toys for poor people living in the mountains. My friend and I were able to bring three suitcases full of clothes, coats and toys to be delivered to a small Andean community as Christmas gifts – more than 200 parents and children. Again, so many people have things that they want to give away that others could really use. It was just a matter of collecting items, paying to get them to Peru and delivered to the organization. We were thrilled when we saw all the happy faces at Christmastime.

peru trek 4 good

This week I’m off on another volunteer adventure in travel. I’m excited to be participating in a new concept in travel – Impact Travel with Fathom. I will be cruising to the Dominican Republic and doing a few service projects over the days I’m there. I can’t wait to get my hands dirty and see the smiling faces of locals there. You really learn so much through these experiences and get more locally connected. I think Impact Travel is the way forward. You’re helping out others, raising awareness and empowering people to think about traveling and giving back.

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Filed under cambodia, india, jamaica, travel

Visiting Bangalore India

A Culturally Rich Experience that is Dirt Cheap

india2

At the beginning of the year I visited my sister in Bangalore India. Bangalore is pretty modern for an Indian city and is one of the fastest growing cities in the world. Known as the Silicon Valley of India, Bangalore is the country’s IT/start-up hub. I felt it was the perfect intro into India as I saw all sides of things. I absolutely loved it. India is the most colorful chaotic place I’ve ever visited and that was just Bangalore.

Transportation

India Rickshaw

Rickshaw rides in India are a must. You DO have to negotiate prices so beware but it’s still a very affordable way to get around albeit not the fastest or cleanest.

But guess who is in Bangalore too…Uber!! Can you believe it?! It cost me $1 for a 10 minute ride and $3 for a 30 minute ride. I kid you not! I have the credit card statement to back this up. Not only was it cheap, it made going from point A to point B so much easier because of their GPS App. Let’s just say, getting around in Bangalore isn’t totally straightforward.

Beauty and Fashion

India Henna

Other things I enjoyed on the cheap in India were a manicure for $4 and having henna on my hands and forearms for $10.

India Sari

Another cheap indulgence in Bangalore is getting a sari made. I had one made and so can you for approximately $50-75. Next visit I’m bringing other clothes to copy and have made – it’s so inexpensive!

sandals

My favorite shoes are sandals and this is one thing I definitely bought plenty of on Commercial Street for anywhere between $4-8.

Food and Booze

oldmonk

One of my very favorite types of dark rum just so happens to be Indian. As I stood in a liquor store baffled at which liquor I should choose, my sister’s friend asked “do you like rum”? Naturally, I said yes and he proceeded to lead me to the altar of Old Monk! I was in literal heaven gasping out loud. A bottle was $4. I’ve never been happier with a booze purchase.

Church Street Social India

Dining out is also super inexpensive in comparison to loads of other cities. Bangalore has plenty of posh spots like Church Street Social. A no-holds-barred brunch there for my sister and me cost a grand total of $12. It is my favorite breakfast on record…who couldn’t love bacon stuffed pancakes with eggs on top?! One evening we also hit up the trendy and fun Humming Tree where dinner & drinks for my sister and me was a whopping $25. Oh and there was live music!

Philanthropy

Orphanage supplies India

It’s a bit of a passion of mine to try to do some good while traveling. Even in small ways. GlobeDrop helped me out in my visit to India. I discovered GlobeDrop through Twitter and quickly became obsessed. They vet out organizations that can use supplies in locations all over the world. They make it very easy, putting you in touch with these organizations and you can decide from there what you’d like to donate. I chose the Ashanilaya Orphanage in Bangalore. The orphanage shared a link to all the things they could use for their children and suggested buying it in country to give back to the economy. Truth be known, I didn’t have room to tote all of the intended items around pre-orphanage visit, so this idea suited me. In addition, ALL of the things I donated cost me less than $100 USD and there is NO WAY it would have cost so little in the United States. Doing good felt great!

Girls of Ashanilaya Orphanage India

Culture

So now that I’ve proven how cheap Bangalore India can be, let me express how culturally enriching this trip was. As you can imagine, hiring rickshaws and getting services like manicures, henna and having a sari made means you have to mix it up with the locals. One lucky thing is that many Indians speak English but nonetheless it still isn’t your every day interaction and I loved it very much. Indian people want you to be happy with their services by in large and they have such a pleasing way about them. You also get a glimpse into how these small business owners dress and eat. How they are curious about you too. I found India extremely open, friendly and accepting of tourists. I cannot wait to return and learn more about this country and their culture.

A Bit about GlobeDrop

GlobeDrop aims to be a global trendsetter when it comes to responsible travel, volunteering and global giving. We created this web app to make it easier for those who like adventure travel and giving back to places they visit.

Instead of money, adventure travelers give back contributions are made through in-kind donation. This is to directly provide for the tangible necessities of the organizations and to boost the community economy by buying the items from local merchants.

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Filed under bangalore, india, travel