The Reality of Volunteering at a Yoga Resort

Travel can be perception. We have an expectation how a place will feel, what will happen once we get there. I’ve been quiet about my time at Blue Osa — only because I needed time to distill my experience. People make assumptions about me, that my life is all fantasy  — full of fun, fun, fun! I also harbour fantasies (other than the normal variety) and I had quite a few about volunteering at a yoga resort. Before I discuss realities, let me cover a few points first. One, the grounds of Blue Osa are truly magical, initially relaxing me. Because I was wound too tight from my lousy experiences in Europe; the setting was literally paradise. Two, I do yoga everyday minus travel days, so the opportunity to delve deeper into yogic philosophy was the perfect union (me + a yoga resort). Third, it was fascinating to use my writing skills in a volunteer-in-trade role, essentially writing for my bed and dinner. […]

By |November 24th, 2014|Costa Rica, Travel Tips|30 Comments

If I Were a Chick, This is How I’d Volunteer

So, maybe you’re interested in volunteering overseas, but have no clue where to start? Since I’m running to catch a train at the moment or having the worst sleep ever on one, why not let Mark Wiens give you a male perspective? Volunteering can be one of the most positively rewarding and valuable parts of travel. It’s an aspect that not only allows you to help out in a desired field, but to learn about a new culture, develop local relationships, and get to experience the real side of a country. However, in a world that’s filled with an overwhelming supply of information, it can sometimes be challenging to find the correct volunteer position. Here are a few things that I’d do to start volunteering if I were a chick. 1.  Spend Some Time Thinking About My Passions There’s no better way to use yourself as a volunteer than to focus on what you love best and what you’re most passionate about. The great thing is, with a bit of research, there’s volunteering opportunities in almost every imaginable area of interest. If you offer your time at a place where you are honestly excited to be helping out, your experience will surely be maximized and your positive attitude will outwardly show. 2.  Try to Develop a Few Personal Connections and Sources In my opinion the best way to get started volunteering is to ask around and develop some local connections. Sources can come from friends you already know, friends of friends, people you meet, or just getting plugged in to a place and asking around. When I traveled to the Philippines I contacted a number of couchsurfers and asked if anyone knew of an organization where I could spend some time volunteering in Manila (without paying any fees). Sure enough, within a few days a host had put me in contact with a friend whose father was the founder of a local organization that built houses for the needy throughout the Philippines. […]

By |September 7th, 2011|Travel Tips|6 Comments

A Love Affair Ends

Dear Volunteering, Alas, all things have a natural end. I’m sorry it had to come to this, but our time is over. It’s a myth that love affairs are riddled with happiness. Sometimes, you nearly made me cry. On the good days, you had me grinning ear to ear. Despite our rocky time together, I’ll [...]

By |February 17th, 2011|Savarsai|37 Comments

What I Do All Day

When you’re volunteering overseas it’s the opposite of pleasure travel. I eat the food given to me, sit on freezing concrete and pace my time according to a schedule. Since I’m working at a home for children, everything centers around them. Wake up call is 5:30 or 6:00 am Yeah, fantastically early. Even in my [...]

By |February 13th, 2011|Culture, Savarsai|22 Comments

The Future Picassos of India

India is teeming with art. Creativity is effortlessly encouraged in schools and even in the home I volunteer with. Everyday it confronts me from intricately carved Ganesh statues to kolams or delicate line drawings. Below are some samples of work done by the children. I plan to stow a stack in my backpack and devote [...]

By |January 31st, 2011|Savarsai|9 Comments

Republic Day Means Freedom

A fog permeated in my brain. Eyes half shut scanned my Timex. 6 am. Not my usual wake-up call, but instead of groaning bones and muttering complaints I only felt excited. Today is Republic Day across India. Although Mother India gained independence from nasty Britain in 1947, it wasn’t until January 26, 1950 that a [...]

By |January 26th, 2011|Savarsai|11 Comments