tom is travelling

Research into volunteer opportunties

I wasn't initially looking for volunteering opportunities at all to tell the truth, I was just looking to get far away from London and everything that comes with London.

But I can''t afford to just go and spend a year out if that means paying for food and accomodation along the way. I chose to research opportunities where I could volunteer or contribute in some manner to a community in return for food and board, preferably for a longer term stay.

I was willing to spend some money on food and acommodation myself. I've come to understand that if you're going to volunteer somewhere then having to pay rent, at least for the first few months, is not the most outrageous expectation. Whilst you are being trained at an organisation you are probably more of a hinderance than a help to the organisation so you will come at an expense to them.

I found 3 really great websites that allow you to directly contact organisations running projects and arrange a way to volunteer with them. These websites are making volunteering an affordable opportunity:

This website has got hundreds and hundreds of awesome projects all, unsuprisingly, based in Latin America. If you"re looking for environmental / marine conservation projects this is definitely your site. Other opportunities include education programmes, hostel work, I even saw a position to become a "Volcano Boarding Guide", which is genuinely someone who surfs on lava. Totally. Frickin. Radical.

Diggers and dreamers has a directory of sustainable communities in the UK. When I say sustainable communities I obviously mean hippy communes. I love it. Reading about what the communities are trying to do is pretty inspiring stuff. Many of these communities are either rickety farms where people are growing their own food sustainably or they"re a bunch of people living in a gigantic old mansion raising funds by hosting events. I couldn't believe all of this stuff has been going on in the UK under my nose for so long without me realising sooner! follows a similar format to the difference being on the opportunities are from all across the world, not just Latin America. Barely any of these volunteer opportunities needed you to put up any of your own money. It's where I found GEMS, the organisation I'm lucky enough to be going to work for from September.

You can browse and for free, they do ask for a small one off fee of about £20 to access the contact details of the organisations. Once I''d found GEMS on I was more than happy to pay the fee to contact GEMS, I'm grateful that it"s going towards keeping that website up and running.

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