I’m so excited today to introduce you to Sadie, my first guest contributor (yippee!) who has identified a neat way to travel the globe for less.
She has been travelling the world on and off for the last eight years, and started to volunteer overseas for animal and environmental conservation groups five years ago. Since then, she has fallen in love with volunteering, and now looks for new opportunities everywhere she travels.
Without further ado, let me pass you over to Sadie, who can share her experiences of volunteering to help fund her travels.
Luxury and Volunteering?
Luxury is probably not the first word that comes to mind when you think about volunteering. Why would it be?
When you volunteer, often, the living conditions leave much to be desired, but there are perks. You just have to look for them.
I recently volunteered at the Tasikoki Wildlife Rescue Center in North Sulawesi, where volunteers are lucky enough to get two days off a week, and keen to take full advantage of it. The locals knew of the hard work Tasikoki was doing to fight the illegal animal trade, and they wanted to show their appreciation to the volunteers, by offering us excursions or resort stays at discounted rates.
I absolutely love scuba diving, and one of the top dive sites in the world, Lembeh Strait, is within a half hour drive of the rescue centre. Even better, Eco Dive in Lembeh offered Tasikoki volunteers a discounted dive rate. Let’s be honest, diving is not a poor man’s hobby by any means, so 20% off really helped and because of it, I was able to dive multiple days seeing obscure ocean creatures only found in North Sulawesi.
Eco Dive Resort also offered snorkelling discounts and discounted dive courses to all the volunteers, and local resorts also offered us discounted rates.
After being at the rescue center for a couple of weeks, some of the other girls and I were ready for some relaxation, so headed to Manado for the weekend to stay at the Tasik Ria Resort. Normally the rate foreigners pay at the resort is much higher than what locals pay but volunteers at Tasikoki get the luxury of paying the local rate.
On top of our cheap rate, we were treated like queens. The manager kept thanking us for volunteering at Tasikoki and made sure we had everything we needed. I was quite sad to leave the resort after being treated so well.
Elephant Nature Park
Besides getting discounted rates, there is another perk of volunteering that you will not get anywhere else.
You get to see first hand what other people are paying hundreds, if not thousands of dollars, to catch a glimpse of. People paying to visit the Elephant Nature Park for the day only had a short amount of time to see the elephants.
Is it great for them? Yes, but by volunteering within the park for a week, I got to live amongst the elephants. I was there when an older male passed away, and witnessed the herd mourning. Every morning I woke up and saw baby Chiang Yim and his mother right outside my bedroom door. It’s not a bad way to start the day!
Siyafunda Wildlife Conservation Centre
In Africa, I worked at the Siyafunda Wildlife Conservation Center. Volunteers had the luxury of seeing the animals before the safari trucks showed up and were able to sit and observe them in peace.
I’m not bashing safaris by any means, but the drivers are trying to show their guests as many animals as possible in a short amount of time. They can become very aggressive in their quest to get closer to the lions, rhinos, and cheetahs. Seriously, I once saw a driver mow over a tree with his truck to get his guests closer to a pair of cheetah brothers!
Volunteering can be hard work and lesser than living conditions, but the pay off is almost always more than worth it.
Sadie’s Amazing Adventures
So as you can see, Sadie has had some pretty incredibly experiences as a result of volunteering. For as little as $300-$350 per week including all meals and room, you too could volunteer at Tasikoki. The price reduces for longer stays, and at the time of Sadie’s departure an extra week could be had for less than $200 per week.
Feel free to pop any questions or comments you have for her below.
Maybe you have had a similiar experience, and would like to share. We would love to hear from you!