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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 January 17, 2019

8 Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Bring Peace and Happiness to Your Life

8 Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Bring Peace and Happiness to Your Life

In life, we all need to be conscientious of what we are doing. You don’t need to live a life of stress if you don’t want to. You can achieve peace and happiness in life by carefully building mindfulness exercises into your life’s routine.

Exercising mindfulness isn’t rocket science and as importantly, you can do it. It will, however, take a few tries to get into the groove of things but once you get it, it is like riding a bike, you will never lose it.

Trust me. It’s in your best interest to learn and put these mindfulness exercises into practice. In this article, I will share with you 8 mindfulness exercises that will help you to boost your energy, vitality and live a more peaceful and happier life.

Why Is It Hard to Live A Peaceful And Happy Life?

Our Habitat Has Become Too Technological

The world has accepted the idea that technology is often the cure for all evil. We have accepted, as a society, that everything technological will make us live a better life without fully investigating the many side effects that modernity brings.

There are a number of technological side effects that have a tremendous impact on your life that the media rarely tells you about.[1] Some of them include self-harm, economic inequality, having less sex, and even suicide. The global community is becoming less happy because of technology.

How can anybody live a peaceful and happy life when they are depressed? Technology advancements, ladies and gents, is a major reason for why we are living a poor life because it has infiltrated our lives too much.

According to my research, Americans spend an average of 8 hours a day looking at the computer screen — The average screen time spent on smartphones alone is about 20 hours per week. That’s a lot! No wonder why living a happy and peaceful life is so difficult these days.

Too Many People Don’t Want to Unplug

Americans check their phones an average of 80 times during vacation.[2] Some admit to checking their smartphones 300 times every single day. In countries like Brazil, India and China, the situation is no different.

The reality is that people are constantly plugged into technological devices and this behavior is literally making people all over the globe fight an inner war with themselves, which consequently makes them very sad. As we know, war is the enemy of peace which won’t make anybody happy.

Listen carefully:

We have a global anxiety epidemic because people don’t want to unplug from their smartphones and most people aren’t doing anything to fix it. It is a sad state of affairs but very real. This obsession with technology is turning us into perishable robots who live terrible lives.

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The era of anxiety is here to stay. There is little doubt about it. We can, however, fight back with the best remedy of all — We call it mindfulness!

Thank God there is an antidote to this whole technological madness. Without further ado, let’s go straight to the mindful exercises.

8 Mindfulness Exercises to Start Practicing

There are tons of mindfulness exercises available for you to engage with out there.[3] In the paragraphs below, I will include the best ones I’ve personally tried or have seen my close friends and family members try.

Are you ready for it? Let’s go!

1. Pray Daily

You should pray on a daily basis. Why is that you may ask — Well, because science has told us to do so.

When people pray, they feel peaceful, almost eliminating anxiety. Worries become secondary, and often gives people energy and hope to cope with the difficulties of life.

Prayer can make you more confident and focused. Prayer also helps you with self-control, helps to control pain, and can protect you against illnesses and disorders like cancer and high blood pressure. At least, this is what researchers from Harvard Medical School have said.[4]

Pray. You won’t regret it.[5]

2. Pay Attention to Your Inner Thoughts

A lot of people allow themselves to be influenced by their negative thoughts. Be different and resist believing in them. It is a bad habit that can lead to unhappiness.

By the way, if you do feel this way, chances are high that somebody other than you put these thoughts into your head.

Here is my secret to combat this cancer — look at things objectively. I bet that if you look at things as they are, you will realize that most if not all of your negative thoughts are only inside of your head.

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If you pay close attention, you will quickly realize that these voices aren’t worth your time. Believe me — Ignoring them and looking at things with objectivity is often the best course of action.

This article can guide you to beat negative thoughts:

How to Stop Automatic Negative Thoughts When You’re Overwhelmed

3. Smile Often

Smiling will slow down your heart. It will also relax your body because when you smile, your body releases endorphins which in itself has a number of positive benefits for you as a person.

Smile often! You may want to smile early in the morning, during the day, and late in the evening. It is amazing what happens to you when you decide to smile instead of being grumpy.

Surrender your problems to a nice smile. You will notice two things. First, most people just don’t which makes them live a miserable life. Second, if you decide to smile often, you will eventually smile unconsciously which is the ideal.

The moment that you smile unconsciously, you then know that you are truly happy.

4. Organize Your Working Desk

A messy desk will make you less productive and can agitate and overstimulate you. You don’t want that.

When you clear your desk, you engage in deep inner-thinking and your systematic decision making ends up becoming therapeutic.

Most people realize that they are most creative when their creative space is clean and organized. The former often makes people more aware of what they are doing which lends to less stress and more productivity.

Organizing your desk will also make you more energetic and focused because order often decreases chaos which is a condition that often slows down daily progress.

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5. Celebrate Your Friend’s Victories

I love this mindful exercise. One of the best ways to live a happy and peaceful life is to celebrate the victories of others. When you do that, you automatically make your friends in a better mood which makes you in a better mood, as well.

Happiness is contagious! We might as well celebrate others as much as we can. If you find out that your peer has won an award, celebrate with him! If your friend is the recipient of a local charity award, celebrate with her!

What is also awesome is that when you celebrate with others, they often celebrate with you in return. This, ladies and gentleman, will make you feel fantastic. You can’t go wrong with this one, period.

6. Listen to Your Spouse/Partner

God put someone in your life for a reason. You might as well listen to him or her.

I listen to my wife everyday. In fact, I often ask the following question to her, “Amanda, what are your thoughts about…” or “What am I missing about…” It is shocking what I hear back from her. Without her having much context and perspective, by the art of observation in my own nonverbal behavior and the behavior of others, she accurately gives me incredible insights which helps me out with living my life to the fullest.

I’m a firm believer that spouses are supposed to engage in interpersonal communication every day. I most definitely do and will continue doing it. You should do the same.

7. Give Yourself a Break from Technology

You can’t be in total equilibrium if your computerized devices control your life. You must get away from technology on a daily basis.[6]

How do you do that? This is my formula:

First, take this smartphone control test. It is only ten questions but this test will place you somewhere in the human robot cycle continuum.

If your score is between 25-30, take a break from the computer (or smartphone, pad, laptop/desktop) every twenty minutes and stop being on a computerized device after 8:00pm.

If you score between 30-35, still take a break every 20 minutes but stop being on these devices at 5:00pm.

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If you score more than 35, you need to take action immediately.

Limit computer use as much as possible throughout the day. Give yourself as many breaks from the computer as possible. Are you ready for the challenge?

8. Go Exercise

Go exercise at least three times a week. I don’t care if you need to workout early in the morning, late in the evening, on the weekends or during work days. Working out is absolutely imperative for you to live happy and peaceful life.

The stresses of the modern world are too much for you to neglect this important mindfulness exercise. When you go to the gym, you burn calories, focus on activities one step at a time, your mind relaxes, anxiety decreases, you sweat and often think about topics unrelated to your work place among many other benefits.

You must exercise at least three hours each week for optimum results. Why? Just take a look at all the benefits of regular exercising:

12 Benefits of Regular Exercise You Should Know

The Bottom Line

It’s in your best interest to learn and put these mindfulness exercises into practice. Now that our habitat has become too technological and many people just don’t want to unplug, engaging in daily prayer, celebrate your friends’ victories, and listening to your spouse are among the best ways to be mindful about what you are doing and how you are living.

It is possible to live a happy and peaceful life. It only depends on you.

Go exercise! Take a break from technology and invest in you! Life is too short for distractions.

More Resources About Mindfulness

Featured photo credit: Lesly Juarez via unsplash.com

Reference

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