Tired of the same old type of holiday? Do you need a fresh idea for vacation? Maybe you would like to do something outside the box? Here’s a thought-the new version of an eco-vacation.
Eco-vacations have been around for quite a while, but the new trend is quite interesting, having less to do with witnessing the wonders and more to do with actually making a difference in the world.
Lately, I have had a desire to get more involved in my environmental pursuits, a little more hands on in the arena of wildlife and habitat protection (I like to day-dream of being in Africa and tagging leopards, or in the amazon banding macaws- stuff like that) so I googled some volunteer positions and found an entire community out there, though ‘volunteer’ can only be loosely applied because you pay for the privilege of assisting a research team in obtaining their goals, which are quite varied.
There’s an expedition to the Amazon on a riverboat-maybe that sounds intriguing? You could be part of a survey group counting macaws or tracking a specific troop of monkeys to learn how much territory they need and visit with one of the local indigenous people and here what their concerns are. It is not a ‘cruise’ though. Meals of local foods are prepared very well, but not five star dining type, conditions vary greatly, the days are full and you are expected to shoulder your duties. It’s a working vacation…not one of those write-off working vacations…but a real one. Be part of the decision-making; add your voice to the discussion of how best to solve an issue.
The research teams are not only grateful for help collecting and compiling data, but want to hear your ideas on how to solve the issue at hand, they consider and welcome your observations and many appreciate a fresh perspective. I enjoy the fact that all these expeditions involve some contact with the local peoples and cultures. It is a wonderful exchange between parties which helps researchers understand the needs of the community in regards to their environment and what the team can do to find the balance among all concerned.
There are many research teams throughout the world with a cornucopia of interests. Maybe your passion is sea otters? There is a team that studies the relationship of sea otters on the health of seagrasses and how it relates to the ocean’s well-being in Alaska. How about the Mongolian Steppe? Track radio collared wildlife and assist with capturing argali sheep and Ibex in nets to collect data and then releasing them back to the wild! (I used an exclamation point because I’m getting so darn excited!) Track beavers through German waterways and help determine how man and beaver can co-exist. Assist a bear rescue in Cambodia. Explore an active volcano in Nicaragua.
The links below will help get you started. They have a wealth of information on each expedition such as what to expect as far as what you would be doing, physical requirements or restrictions if any (age and so on) and ‘life in the field’….I like the sound of that! Life in the field. Yeah, I can do that!
They also have teams that build schools or create irrigation systems; so many things that make a difference in the lives of others, be they human or be they other animals. What a great opportunity to make a positive influence in the world we live in. Plus it has the added benefit of being completely different from any previous vacation- no same old, same old here. I do admit the relaxation portion may be lacking.
I really like this idea! Now I have to add some new things to my bucket list. Scratch some off- add some on! I love that!
Click on ‘projects’ and then ‘animals’ or on whatever subjects piques your interest. I am sure you will find something to get excited about.