The concept of doing something for nothing might seem strange to many but in fact, volunteer work, especially abroad could broaden your horizons in ways you would never have imagined. I found this out first hand while working with animals at the Lilongwe Wildlife Centre, Malawi in Africa, over a period of a few months.
Here are just a few good reasons, which I think justify doing something for nothing:
- Life runs away with you.
In my opinion, it’s the ultimate sadness when you hear about people who have always wanted to do something, or go somewhere and for some reason or other just aren’t able to do so, any more. Whether it’s due to health / physical difficulties or because of various commitments, such as having a partner and kids to support, or simply just getting too old for whatever it was they would have liked to do. Your time is now, there really is no time like the present – if you want to do something, then try and make it work and then just do it before circumstances dictate otherwise.
- Follow your passion.
Whether you would like to work up close and personal with wild animals, get involved in education outreach programmes around the globe or help with the daily running of an orphanage – it is possible. Ask yourself what really makes you tick. If you had to get out of bed every morning for the rest of your life and work for nothing, what volunteer work would you happily do that for? This should give you an answer as to where your passion truly lies.
- See the world.
Having never been there before that visit, Africa was a whole new experience for me and I am sure that I will go back there, some day. A whole new world of people, culture, food and environment is out there just waiting to be experienced – give yourself an adventure. What shall it be? India? Brazil? China? … What are you waiting for?
- Back to basics.
Most volunteer work placements involve working in underprivileged areas around the world. There is nothing quite like visiting regions of extreme hardship and seeing the positivity and happiness with which most of these people conduct their lives. This is truly humbling. I will definitely return to London with a whole new appreciation for the availability of food, electricity, education and the generally good standard of living. A placement abroad is a great way to put things into perspective and to gain a new insight into life and realise just how lucky you are.
Feeling antsy and bored with life? A beach holiday with cocktails just won’t do it for you? Volunteer work in another country could be just the adventure you need. You’ll return feeling refreshed, feeling good about yourself and with a more positive outlook on life that you did not have before your trip.
There are a huge variety of volunteer placements which you could get involved with. Whether your interest is in animals (at conservation and wildlife sanctuaries), children in war zones (at aid camps), disease (hospitals and clinics) or indeed anything else – the answer is likely just a short internet search away.
So if you think doing something for nothing isn’t as crazy as it sounds anymore, just go for it!