Starting With An Amazing Trip
I have done a few volunteer build trips in the past, but the trip I took in the summer of 2015 was much different than the rest. I went to Zambia, Africa in mid-summer to help build a small house for a family in need. It was an amazing trip. I had never been to Africa before, and in my opinion, this was the ideal way to see this amazing country. After a flight through South Africa, another flight to Zambia, and then an eight-hour car ride I finally arrived in the village we were to do the build in.
While I could go into long details about the build itself and why the build portion of the trip was so rewarding – I think the reason this trip stood out from the rest was the reflection period I had after the build week. I am an adventure sports junkie and simply love anything outdoors. I have set many goals for myself when it comes to athletic endeavors, one being summiting the seven peaks of the world (tallest peak on each continent). I decided to travel to Tanzania after the weeklong build in Zambia to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro (tallest summit in Africa).
Reflecting On The Work During My Hike
The hike itself took seven days and six nights. I went on this adventure alone, as in I was part of a small group that I did not know anyone else previously. For this reason, I had a good amount of time to myself. No technology and sunsets around seven at night provided many hours each night in my tent to just think – and my most recent event was the build the previous week. It was special to be able to reflect on what that week meant to me. Most of the time we are rushed back to the real world and our hectic lives and do not get the chance the reflect on the whole trip when it is so fresh on our mind. This week allowed me to really understand why I get so much joy out of volunteer build trips and exploring new cultures and landscapes. I would encourage everyone that does any sort of volunteering to take the time to understand what the experience meant to you. I would encourage you to not only stress in the importance of the volunteering portion but also the reflection period afterwards.
Combination trips (as I would like to name them) are a great way to do just this. Find your passion and incorporate that into your itinerary for the overall trip. Find a way to get out and explore a culture unlike your own. While the focus of volunteer trips is about getting as much production you can done in the time you have – it is also important to explore the culture you are in and experience the local people. Learning from cultures unlike the one you are used too can do so much to help spread acceptance and understanding. If you like to experience new cuisines – make time to venture out to local restaurants. If you are a sports fanatic – take time to go to local matches and see the passion of the fans. Or if you like the outdoors – go climb a mountain and see the beautiful landscapes that particular location has to offer. However you do it, just find a way to incorporate it into your itinerary and take the time to reflect back on the time before you spent volunteering to help those in need.
About the author: Danny grew up in Southwest Missouri. Growing up canoeing, hiking and biking the great Ozark rivers and mountains he grew to love everything outdoors. His family was one that chose National Park vacations over the traditional getaways which also helped foster a love for nature activities. After playing four years of collegiate soccer, Danny turned to other athletic activities to fill the missing void, such as marathons, and adventure races. He is currently training for the IronMan. He was brought to New York City from the Midwest for his other passion, Architecture, where he currently works for KPF architects, working on the large Hudson Yards development on the west side of Manhattan. He has traveled extensively in Europe, China and parts of Southeast Asia, Canada, Central America, Brazil, and Ecuador. Danny loves any chance to get out of the busy city, but even more so to help others see the amazing possibilities the outdoors has to offer.