Travel is more than rest and relaxation for me. It's how I learn, grow, and find inspiration for my sometimes dull life at home in Toronto. Every trip I take has a profound impact on me, but I want it to have a profound impact on the people and places I visit too. These five simple ways I travel consciously -- both environmentally and socially -- are easy for any traveler to implement and are guaranteed to make every holiday more beneficial for you and your destinations.
Visiting Tanzania in September changed my perception of what it's really like to go without. The people we met survive with the bare necessities. A roof over their heads, basic clothing and just enough food to survive. Yet, we witnessed such joy and hope in them, and for this, I fell in love with Tanzania.
As a Canadian, it's hard to believe it's possible for teachers to successfully educate 104 children of different grades in a single classroom. Where children sit on a dirt floor, have an empty stomach, don't have sufficient school supplies for their needs. Children excited to be in school, no matter how far they had to walk under a blazing sun.
Retirement years mean different things to different retirees. Some want to spend those years playing miniature golf in Florida, others want to fulfill lifelong dreams. Travel, giving back with their expertise, and becoming involved in their community in a significant way are just some possibilities. Life expectations at this stage can be very different from your partner.
Travelling provides us nourishment to feed the mind, body and soul. For the soul specifically, voluntourism allows travellers to experience the world and make a difference at the same time. From helping children in South Africa, to rebuilding Fiji communities brick by brick, or even helping sea turtles thrive in Costa Rica, volunteering abroad promises to be an experience you'll never forget.
National Seniors Day happened in Canada on Saturday and we didn't do anything about it. Countless moments and opportunities squandered to say, "Wait, I should call my grandparents," or "I should go to that senior's home and say hello to some residents," or even say some kind words to a senior on the street. We didn't do any of it. Did you?
I always liked David Cameron. Maybe it was because we're both fans of the rock band, The Smiths, but also (and more importantly) because he tried to use the privileged position of prime minister to appeal to the better angels in our nature with the "Big Society" initiative of his early government. The Big Society ideal was first referenced by Cameron in 2009. In a nutshell, the Big Society philosophy recognizes that a country and its communities are built as much by passionate volunteers, community groups and service organizations as it is by departments of the government.
Some Boomers lost their way along the hippy highway over the last fifty years. They took a right turn into casinos and consumerism. Seared in my brain is watching a load of Boomer casino goers unload from a bus and waddle away. Poker chips in hand as they sink into the windowless abyss. Money (both having it and losing it) does things to people. Here's what it did to me.
As seniors age, much of their time is freed from the commitments of work and family and they start to look for ways to participate more actively in their communities. As the saying goes, doing good makes you feel good, and the seniors who continue to make a difference every day are true testaments to that.
Our planet is a very different place today than when your grandparents were born. Despite the copious amount of conservation work occurring on a daily basis by citizens, volunteers and environmental groups, biodiversity is continuing to be lost in Canada. We need to restore Earth's "factory settings."
I have been fortunate to be able to assist on the ground with disaster relief in communities across Alberta including the Slave Lake fire in 2011 and the Calgary floods in 2013, and I've learned that cash donations, even small ones, are by far the most effective way to help those recovering from a disaster.
April 10th to April 16th is National Volunteer Week, a celebration of Canada's 12.7 million volunteers -- that's nearly a third of the country's population. With such a passion for volunteerism, it's no wonder that Canadians, like employees in other parts of the world, are looking to their places of work for more opportunities to give back.
It's not surprising that young people are Canada's most active volunteers, representing about 66 per cent of those who give their time for a cause. Time is, after all, on their side. But our country's volunteering numbers might surprise you. In 2013, 4 out of 10 Canadians volunteered, putting in 1,957,000,000 total hours. This week, National Volunteer Week, we celebrate them, while also asking: How do they do it?
While these animals may not star alongside Leonardo DiCaprio anytime soon, nor likely to be chosen as supporting cast for the next Disney blockbuster, they're still in need of attention. These are threatened species -- some due to hunting, others to habitat loss from industrialization. Today, travelers are digging in to preserve their future, and giving them a much needed turn in the spotlight.
I'm sure each of us can remember a time when we've volunteered at a local event, donated to a cause that is close to our hearts, or simply did something selfless because it felt good. It may not seem like it, but every time we do, we are developing the leadership skills required to run a successful business and ultimately become a stronger leader.