Leaving More than you Take

Have you ever heard about volunteer travel experiences such as mine or others, and wondered what it’s all about? What it’s really like? What a day or a week is like and how you can get involved?

Women Travel The World, a great website dedicated to adventurous women travelers, features a story today by me, recounting my experiences with voluntourism at orphanages in India. If you really want a “day in the life” diary account, I invite you to check it out. Here’s an excerpt:

The village is remote, and it took forty-eight hours of exhausting travel to arrive at the ashram where the children live. By the time we arrived, all ten volunteers in the group were suffering from sleep deprivation and culture shock; the overwhelming throngs of people, the smells and sounds that awakened all the senses at once. The streets filled with bicycles, rickshaws, cars and cows with the constant, blaring beep-beep of the horns that rose above it all. Mostly, the frantic poverty that does not let you rest.

Nothing could have prepared me for what I felt when we turned through those gates. Dozens of children were lined around the drive in a semi-circle, waving and chanting “welcome” over and over. I climbed out and they swarmed all over me, reaching for my hands and touching my feet in blessing. In many ways they were just like other children I’ve known with homes and families of their own – except for their neediness, their raw hunger for affection, love, belonging. I was overwhelmed, lost in the sea of small bodies; smiling, barefoot children who asked nothing from me more than simply being there.”

friendshipRead the Full Article Here!

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About Shelley Seale

I'm Shelley, a journeyer and learner of the world, freelance journalist and author, yoga chick and dog lover. I pound the keyboard from home barefoot every day, and while my boss is demanding she also occasionally lets me have the early afternoon cocktail. I think not going into an office or collecting corporate paychecks are very good ideas, though not always profitable. I have written for National Geographic, USA Today, The Guardian, Texas Monthly and CNN, among others. Neither the New York Times nor Johnny Depp have answered my letters yet. I love yoga, indie movies, wine, and books, though not necessarily in that order. I believe in karma. Mean people suck. If I could have any dream job I would like to be a superhero. I have performed a catch on the flying trapeze, boarded down a live volcano and was once robbed by a monkey in Nepal. But, I don't know how to whistle. My mantra is "travel with a purpose."

Posted on January 28, 2010, in children, India, inspiration, nonprofit, orphans, shelley seale, travel, volunteer and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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