Posts Tagged ‘Globe Aware’

Travel for Good///Travelocity and Voluntourism

Sometimes I just make things harder than they need to be. Who among us can’t say THAT, right? I beat the virtual bushes of the Internet trying to find blog subjects that turn me on, and hope they might light a spark among someone else as well…and there is so much that goes on right underneath my nose.

I recently booked a trip through Travelocity to do a volunteer stint in Idaho next week (more on that later). Travelocity is a search engine I use fairly often when booking stuff. Then this morning I grabbed a t-shirt to put on as one of many layers to go out to shovel some more snow…and it was a shirt I’ve had for a few years: Travelocity—Travel for Good. I had forgotten about their green travel and voluntourism programs until the reminder was literally on my chest.

Travelocity has a Travel for Good portal as part of their site ( where you can find eco-friendly vacation options as well as volunteer vacations through their partners (really great partners such as Earthwatch, American Hiking Society, Cross-Cultural Solutions, and Globe Aware). They even go so far as to offer voluntourism grants of $5,000 (two awarded per quarter) to volunteer travelers to make making a difference accessible to more of us.

The green travel section has carbon offset plans, lists of eco-friendly green hotels, and links to find a hybrid rental car.

I feel a little foolish that a resource I already make use of has been quietly doing good, as their motto says: “One Trip at a Time”…but if I’m going to feel foolish, it’s good to also feel good and proud that the choice I made in the travel marketplace is aligned with what is most important to me.

Bike to Work

Today is Bike to Work Day, in fact the whole week has been Bike to Work week, encouraging us all to pump a little less pollution out into the skies and pump a little more blood through our veins. Don’t let it stop today, take advantage of the season and your own pedal power—you definitely won’t regret it.

There are lots of bike-based volunteer options out there as well…think about getting involved with on eof these or similar projects near you:

Community Cycles helps reclaim discarded bikes and get them “out of the waste stream” so others can enjoy the physical and community benefits of riding. It is based in Boulder, Colorado, but there are probably programs around you that have a similar empowering way to explore your own passion and help others as well.

The Volunteer Trail Safety Patrol works with volunteers to operate the volunteer bike patrol helping support and protect trail users and natural resources (plants, wildlife, trail quality) in San Francisco’s East Bay trail network.

Community Cycling Center in Portland, Oregon has volunteer opportunities for all of its two-wheel community programs, the most beloved being the “bike drives” where donated bikes are collected, repaired, spruced up, and given to kids from low income families.  Is there a program like this in your town? There certainly ought ot be–maybe you can start one?

There is a bicycle project open to volunteer sin South Africa (as a week-long volunteer vacation stint) through Oasis Overland that gives you the chance to support user-generated transportation in small communities. It helps small communities save time and reduce carbon emmissions.

Charity Guide has a web page dedicated to creating volunteer opportunities to get discarded bikes to the homeless. It’s a volunteer effort where you can make a difference with just a few hours of work in your community.

You can volunteer to do bike path and trail mainteneance, making sure everyone has safe access to biking in a region, like this volunteer project in Marco Island, Florida.

Every one of the big Bike-a-Thons, AIDS Rides, Rides for a Cure, and other one-day or multi-day, high mileage rides (including the Amgen Tour of California, going on right now, May 16-23…get involved next year in this statewide, Tour de France-style elite race to raise money and awareness for cancer research) is run by volunteers. These huge, super-organized charitable fund-raising efforts are Herculean tasks of volunteers along every step of the way. If you don’t want to ride in the saddle yourself and log mileage for a cause, make it happen for those who will. It is all in service to amazing charities, and both sides of the equation are required for success.

And when the bike is simply done, unrecyclable, can’t function as a bik anymore…there is still a great opportunity before it gets put out to pasture. Globe Aware has a volunteer vacation program in Siem Reap, Cambodia, where the week’s work includes building wheelchairs for victims of landmines form old bicycle parts, and delivering them directly to patients. Talk about changing a life!

There are so many more–this doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface–so today, on Bike to Work Day, even if you didn’t pedal into the office–use the day to be inspired to find a way to make a difference.