132 children. Killed.
I can’t even talk about it. This week’s news is so heart wrenching. I know many of you feel the same way. It doesn’t matter if it’s at a Pakistan school or in your own community, the loss of so many young, innocent life, so brutally, is painful.
It may ache to think of this tragic incident. It may make us mad as heck to think about the cold-hearted act. But it won’t do any GOOD.
Instead, I would like to share something with you, that may do some GOOD when tragedy hits.
After another senseless attack just last month, I read something that resonated. A man reflected on his friend, Rabbi Kalman Levine, who was one of four killed while innocently praying in an Israeli synagogue. The friend said the rabbi would have advised this about finding meaning in his murder, or other tragedy:
“He would say when you observe this type of act, you need to increase the force of good in the world. Do something good you wouldn’t have done otherwise,” he said. “It’s the only way we’ll defeat the forces of evil.”
THIS is something we as individuals, who may feel helpless, can do. Try to make the world a better place with little moments.
I especially believe this is important while we travel. We are giving everyone around the world an impression of Americans. Do they want to be our friends? Can we help make the world beyond our familiar borders a little less evil?
One meaningful, and adventurous way to make your trips meaningful and help is by voluntourism. It’s not only important to giving back, but how you help can be a bridge between cultures… and intellectually interesting on a personal level.
I report on voluntourism opportunities for the tv show “Travel Detective” on PBS member stations. Above is a family farm in Mexico where I helped in a garden…and the accommodations for volunteers.
You’ll see some more of my stories in the upcoming season: I’ve profiled some interesting ways to give back to another country, while seeing another part of the world. Above, I was working on an archaeological dig in Malta, preserving Roman baths. It was amazing.
You can do it too. No matter what your passion, there is surely a volunteer trip for you.
How about working on a winery in New Zealand? How about helping preserve an endangered species’ habitat? Many times no experience is necessary. But – many times you do have to pay for your place to stay or contribute in some way. It isn’t always – “help out and you will have a free vacation. “ But you would be paying for a hotel anyway , right? By the way, the accommodations aren’t always 4 or even 3 star, but are you going for the experience or to be pampered? If pampering is your answer, this is not your kind of trip.
Here are some resources to help you begin researching some ways to volunteer on vacation.
Around this time if year, when we try to find good in the world, it’s nice to think we CAN do something that impacts others in a positive way. As we are thinking ahead to New Year’s resolutions, this might be anactivity for you to consider.
And although I believe in being modest or even anonymous in one’s charity, this just may be a time when you want to take photos for friends back home to spread the word #payitforward