December 18 – Try. What do you want to try next year? Is there something you wanted to try in 2010? What happened when you did / didn’t go for it? (Author: Kaileen Elise).

The one thing I didn’t get a chance to try in 2010 is the one thing I’m determined to try in 2011 – Voluntouring.Yes, you read that right, voluntouring.

I went to a slideshow in May that was put on by El Camino Voluntours, and I was totally impressed. Had I not been fully booked vacation-wise this year, I would have done it. But in 2011, I think that The Cheerleader I live With and I are going to give this El Camino thing a shot.

There’s just something about travel with a purpose that I love. It’s not about guilt or anything, I think to me it’s more about ‘why the hell not?!’  Why NOT go and help someone build a home, or build a whole freakin’ village? Why NOT travel abroad and help construct rain catchment systems, or assist on a nature reserve? See the world in a new way, not just from behind the high walls of a four-star resort.

I have been super stoked on these guys ever since I came across them. I like them because not only do they help in these really cool projects, but they also follow-up and assist with maintenance long after the building crew has left. I love the support they give, and I so appreciate their sense of responsibility.

And hey, they DO take you on a bunch of fun excursions after your project is complete, so not only do you get to work hard and do something right for a stranger in a strange land, you also get to have a lot of fun and experience things in places where your rental car wouldn’t take you. Hmmm… maybe I’d be better leaving the words to Chris Bruckshaw who founded El Camino…

El Camino VolunTours Mission Statement:

To connect people in developed countries to people in developing countries and to promote peace and understanding between the two. To make it a very simple process to volunteer abroad and to have every person who takes an El Camino VolunTour return home a changed person. To be the gateway to volunteering abroad and to change the world in a positive way.