May 28, 2012


The gecko's team had me report on "do-good, feel-good" vacations for its spring issue, which went out to seven million households. I had a blast for this assignment, interviewing:

  • Citizen scientists, one of whom unearthed a whole mammoth skull from a 25,000-year-old South Dakota sinkhole
  • A logging-town kid who grew up to lead service trips for The Sierra Club, which start at $315 for a week, including all meals
  • A retired military man who became a fish-identification expert for REEF and now undertakes research dives for aquariums, universities, the park service, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
  • My pal Charyn Pfeuffer who traded luxury-lifestyle coverage for a year of voluntourism projects around the world
  • Lillie Marshall, the seventh-grade Boston Latin Academy instructor behind, which encourages instructors eager to trade their briefcase for a backpack, but also to travelers who want to venture into far-flung classrooms
We also mentioned other affordable voluntourism options, like the American Hiking Society, Culinary Corps, HelpX, Idealist and WWOOF.

For further ideas, pick up a copy of The Frugal Volunteer (Dog's Eye View eMedia, 2012) by my dialed-in colleague Nola Lee Kelsey.

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