Today is my mother-in-law’s birthday, and she is one of the most inspiring travelers I know. She’s been just about everywhere and the places still not ticked off her list are sure to fall soon to her voracious travel appetite. I travel for a living and I’m STILL trying to catch up! It has me thinking about volunteer vacation opportunities specifically geared toward those who have already seen and lived a lot–and have a LOT more to see and live. ElderHostel has an entire category of service learning trips geared toward their clientele, from archaeology digs, caring for rescued animals, and surveying wildlife in remote locales to feeding the hungry, tutoring disadvantaged kids, even historical memory and preservation projects at Auschwitz. The range of interests engaged is enormous, and the trips are peopled by like-minded colleagues (so you don’t have to spend every night around the campfire discussing acne and Junior College final exams). The organization’s commitment to lifelong learning is something we can all rally around and take to heart. Since 1974, they have been creating spectacular experiences around the world for their “Road Scholars” that unite experts in the field and communities with in-country teams that provide unique access to connect to the culture and local institutions and projects.
There are, of course, plenty of other organizations that cater specifically to service travel-minded retirees–what, and where, are some of your favorites?