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10 Reasons You Should Go For Volunteer Traveling

10 Reasons You Should Go For Volunteer Traveling

Traveling in general is amazing, but no travel experience can compare to a volunteer travel experience. Volunteer traveling is one of the most diverse, hands-on, and bold approaches to discover any country. With the options to sight-see and explore throughout your volunteer duties, volunteer traveling is educational, rewarding, and incredibly fun!

1. You’ll Get Behind The Scenes 

When you choose to become a volunteer traveler you are giving yourself the opportunity to see the world in a different light. Whether you decide to work with animals, children, or the environment, your travel experience will be about the rewards of hard work, not luxury. Getting up close and personal, you may even find yourself locking eyes with a cheetah, rubbing elbows with an elephant, or sharing stories with the children of a local orphanage. Seeing the lifestyle of other countries first-hand will have you walking away with a greater appreciation for the conveniences of your everyday life.

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2. You’ll Have A Taste Of The Unknown 

From my experience, concrete plans are unheard of while volunteer traveling. You may be in the middle of cleaning a horse stable and discover that three lion cubs have escaped from their enclosure. Sometimes your everyday life can become predictable, but after volunteer traveling you’ll realize how much more fun life can be when you let go of strict agendas and live in the moments. Volunteer traveling will help you embrace daily obstacles by finding life lessons, rather than life deterrents.

3. You’ll Have A Rounded Cultural Experience 

Most organizations encourage volunteers to get out and active by having one or two days a week for exploration. Going on group excursions can quickly transform you from a volunteer traveler to a tourist. With a bus ride taking you to a relaxing local beach or to something as extreme as skydiving, you will return home feeling as if you had not just visited a new country, but as if you had lived there as well. After volunteer traveling, you’ll find yourself breaking your regular daily routine to incorporate a new-found lifestyle; like getting active and pro-active.

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4. You’ll Make Lasting Memories 

Just like a tourist, volunteer traveling offers great opportunities for beautiful photos. However, when volunteering you don’t always have a camera on standby. Sometimes you just have to drop what you are doing and attend to what is a priority. I remember feeling sad because I didn’t have my camera while sent on a detour to find a missing animal. Looking back, I’m appreciative that I didn’t have my camera with me. If I had brought my camera, I may have missed some amazing memories while hiding behind a lens. From that experience, I’m now more present in my everyday life and less focused on finding the perfect moments, but rather creating them.

5. You’ll Gain Life-long Friends 

When you participate in volunteer traveling, you’re almost guaranteed to be surrounded by like-minded people, unlike the diversity a hotel or hostel may bring. Having the privilege to meet people from all over the world can help you broaden your global network. The friends you meet from volunteer traveling will not just increase your social circle, but also open doors to any future travel plans by providing a safe haven no matter your location.

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6. You’ll Feel Safe 

When you are a volunteer traveler, you are a part of an organization that stands for something. No matter the organization you decide to go with, you will have a representative guiding your every step. Unlike regular traveling, volunteer traveling prepares you as best as they can, with as much information as possible before your departure. After volunteer traveling you will become more confident for your next adventure, having gained a strong set of survival skills.

7. You’ll Stay On Budget 

Traveling along, you inherit many unexpected expenses from overpriced restaurants, shopping, and the dreaded theft. If budget is a priority for you when traveling, volunteer traveling is great way to stay on track. Although the lump sum up front can feel overwhelming, costs usually always includes the necessities: food, accommodations, security lockups, and airport transfers. Plus, there’s always something fun and free to do at your volunteer location during your days off. When you arrive home, you will begin to notice all kinds of priceless opportunities right under your nose, like a walk along the beach or a conversation with a friend.

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8. You’ll Build Up Your Resume 

Any travel experience can be a great asset to give yourself, but when you volunteer travel you can actually add it to your resume. Whether you are transitioning into a new career, looking to earn extra credits for school, or exercising the goodness of your heart, volunteer traveling is a great way to make yourself stand out. It could even help you potentially land your next dream job.

9. You’ll Push Your Limitations 

Unlike a vacation, volunteer traveling can really push your limitations. Stepping outside of your comfort zone, you may discover that lifting a bale of hay is not as hard as you may have thought it would be, and talking with children is not as intimidating as you had imagined. You will begin focusing on getting a job completed for the benefit of others, rather than quitting from the temporary discomfort you may face. Volunteer traveling will leave you wanting to try that much harder in your everyday life. You will begin to trust your capabilities, no matter the initial struggles. Don’t be surprised if you return to your home country wanting to explore new avenues after taking a trip like this.

10. You’ll Learn About Yourself 

When you’re volunteer traveling, a lot of mixed feeling can come up about the life you lead. Hearing the lives of other volunteers can have you questioning your life goals, your social circle, and even you career. You discover a whole new side of yourself that you had buried deep down. Being in an unfamiliar country with new people who know nothing about your history can really allow room for self-discovery and personal growth, like painting on a blank canvas. When you arrive back to your home country you will find yourself stronger, confident, and ready to blossom into your own identity.

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Last Updated on March 25, 2020

How to Live Longer? 21 Ways to Live a Long Life

How to Live Longer? 21 Ways to Live a Long Life

When it comes to living long, genes aren’t everything. Research has revealed a number of simple lifestyle changes you can make that could help to extend your life, and some of them may surprise you.

So, how to live longer? Here are 21 ways to help you live a long life

1. Exercise

It’s no secret that physical activity is good for you. Exercise helps you maintain a healthy body weight and lowers your blood pressure, both of which contribute to heart health and a reduced risk of heart disease–the top worldwide cause of death.

2. Drink in Moderation

I know you’re probably picturing a glass of red wine right now, but recent research suggests that indulging in one to three glasses of any type of alcohol every day may help to increase longevity.[1] Studies have found that heavy drinkers as well as abstainers seem to have a higher risk of early mortality than moderate drinkers.

3. Reduce Stress in Your Life

Stress causes your body to release a hormone called cortisol. At high levels, this hormone can increase blood pressure and cause storage of abdominal fat, both of which can lead to an increased risk of heart disease.

4. Watch Less Television

A 2008 study found that people who watch six hours of television per day will likely die an average of 4.8 years earlier than those who don’t.[2] It also found that, after the age of 25, every hour of television watched decreases life expectancy by 22 minutes.

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Television promotes inactivity and disengagement from the world, both of which can shorten your lifespan.

5. Eat Less Red Meat

Red meat consumption is linked to an increased risk of heart disease and cancer.[3] Swapping out your steaks for healthy proteins, like fish, may help to increase longevity.

If you can’t stand the idea of a steak-free life, reducing your consumption to less than two to three servings a week can still incur health benefits.

6. Don’t Smoke

This isn’t exactly a revelation. As you probably well know, smoking significantly increases your risk of cancer.

7. Socialize

Studies suggest that having social relationships promotes longevity.[4] Although scientists are unsure of the reasons behind this, they speculate that socializing leads to increased self esteem as well as peer pressure to maintain health.

8. Eat Foods Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids decrease the risk of heart disease[5] and perhaps even Alzheimer’s disease.[6] Salmon and walnuts are two of the best sources of Omega-3s.

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9. Be Optimistic

Studies suggest that optimists are at a lower risk for heart disease and, generally, live longer than pessimists.[7] Researchers speculate that optimists have a healthier approach to life in general–exercising more, socializing, and actively seeking out medical advice. Thus, their risk of early mortality is lower.

10. Own a Pet

Having a furry-friend leads to decreased stress, increased immunity, and a lessened risk of heart disease.[8] Depending on the type of pet, they can also motivate you to be more active.

11. Drink Coffee

Studies have found a link between coffee consumption and longer life.[9] Although the reasons for this aren’t entirely clear, coffee’s high levels of antioxidants may play a role. Remember, though, drowning your cup of joe in sugar and whipped cream could counter whatever health benefits it may hold.

12. Eat Less

Japan has the longest average lifespan in the world, and the longest lived of the Japanese–the natives of the Ryukyu Islands–stop eating when they’re 80% full. Limiting your calorie intake means lower overall stress on the body.

13. Meditate

Meditation leads to stress reduction and lowered blood pressure.[10] Research suggests that it could also increase the activity of an enzyme associated with longevity.[11]

Taking as little as 15 minutes a day to find your zen can have significant health benefits, and may even extend your life.

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How to meditate? Here’re 8 Meditation Techniques for Complete Beginners

14. Maintain a Healthy Weight

Being overweight puts stress on your cardiovascular system, increasing your risk of heart disease.[12] It may also increase the risk of cancer.[13] Maintaining a healthy weight is important for heart health and living a long and healthy life.

15. Laugh Often

Laughter reduces the levels of stress hormones, like cortisol, in your body. High levels of these hormones can weaken your immune system.

16. Don’t Spend Too Much Time in the Sun

Too much time in the sun can lead to an increased risk of skin cancer. However, sun exposure is an excellent way to increase levels of vitamin D, so soaking up a few rays–perhaps for around 15 minutes a day–can be healthy. The key is moderation.

17. Cook Your Own Food

When you eat at restaurants, you surrender control over your diet. Even salads tend to have a large number of additives, from sugar to saturated fats. Eating at home will enable you to monitor your food intake and ensure a healthy diet.

Take a look at these 14 Healthy Easy Recipes for People on the Go and start to cook your own food.

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18. Eat Mushrooms

Mushrooms are a central ingredient in Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s GOMBS disease fighting diet. They boost the immune system and may even reduce the risk of cancer.[14]

19. Floss

Flossing helps to stave off gum disease, which is linked to an increased risk of cancer.[15]

20. Eat Foods Rich in Antioxidants

Antioxidants fight against the harmful effects of free-radicals, toxins which can cause cell damage and an increased risk of disease when they accumulate in the body. Berries, green tea and broccoli are three excellent sources of antioxidants.

Find out more antiosidants-rich foods here: 13 Delicious Antioxidant Foods That Are Great for Your Health

21. Have Sex

Getting down and dirty two to three times a week can have significant health benefits. Sex burns calories, decreases stress, improves sleep, and may even protect against heart disease.[16] It’s an easy and effective way to get exercise–so love long and prosper!

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Featured photo credit: Sweethearts/Patrick via flickr.com

Reference

[1] Wiley Online Library: Late‐Life Alcohol Consumption and 20‐Year Mortality
[2] BMJ Journals: Television viewing time and reduced life expectancy: a life table analysis
[3] Arch Intern Med.: Red Meat Consumption and Mortality
[4] PLOS Medicine: Social Relationships and Mortality Risk: A Meta-analytic Review
[5] JAMA: Fish and Omega-3 Fatty Acid Intake and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease in Women
[6] NCBI: Effects of Omega‐3 Fatty Acids on Cognitive Function with Aging, Dementia, and Neurological Diseases: Summary
[7] Mayo Clinic Proc: Prediction of all-cause mortality by the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory Optimism-Pessimism Scale scores: study of a college sample during a 40-year follow-up period.
[8] Med Hypotheses.: Pet ownership protects against the risks and consequences of coronary heart disease.
[9] The New England Journal of Medicine: Association of Coffee Drinking with Total and Cause-Specific Mortality
[10] American Journal of Hypertension: Blood Pressure Response to Transcendental Meditation: A Meta-analysis
[11] Science Direct: Intensive meditation training, immune cell telomerase activity, and psychological mediators
[12] JAMA: The Disease Burden Associated With Overweight and Obesity
[13] JAMA: The Disease Burden Associated With Overweight and Obesity
[14] African Journal of Biotechnology: Anti-cancer effect of polysaccharides isolated from higher basidiomycetes mushrooms
[15] Science Direct: Periodontal disease, tooth loss, and cancer risk in male health professionals: a prospective cohort study
[16] AHA Journals: Sexual Activity and Cardiovascular Disease

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