Travelling with a Purpose
in Nicaragua

by Jessica Jennings

“I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.” ~ E.B. White

This quote has always struck a chord with me. Now I realize it is the true essence of what it means to be a voluntourist: a person who chooses to embrace both. If the term is new to you, a voluntourist is a new type of tourist who combines volunteering, philanthropy and cultural immersion with their vacation.

The opportunities to volunteer are endless. You can get involved with causes such as disaster relief, animal and wildlife activism, education, infrastructure building, environmental conservation, healthcare and on and on. Voluntourism is a massive and growing industry that provides travellers and communities a way to connect, to learn, to appreciate each other’s cultures and work towards a better future.

Living a privileged life as a Canadian, I strongly felt the need to do something meaningful, to rejuvenate my spirit and to witness first-hand my time and money directly making an impact on the world. When the opportunity presented itself to do just that, I jumped at the chance to make the most of my vacation time by giving back, while also enjoying some sun and fun in a country I wouldn’t normally have considered.

SchoolBOX. SchoolBOX supports the right of every child to a basic education in Central America.

Our main objective was to build the infrastructure of a school in an impoverished, rural community. It was also a personal mission. The intention for the family I went down with was to raise enough funds to build a library within the school in memory of a close relative, who was an avid reader.

Voluntourism is all about travelling with a purpose, rolling up your sleeves and lending a global helping hand to make a difference. Give a little, gain a lot.