I’ve always had a passion for traveling, but even more so traveling with meaning. How do we make an adventure meaningful to not just ourselves but the people around us? The answer is simple: volunteer. Traveling is more than just exploring new places, it’s about the connections you make and the difference you can have in other people’s lives. Volunteering is what makes travel meaningful to me because you have the opportunity to work hands on with local communities and share your compassion for them and their home.
Trees are such an essential part of ecosystems!
One of the mini-adventures I’ve had since moving to Costa Rica in August is a reforestation project with a local high school. We traveled about 30 minutes outside of Turrialba, Costa Rica to a local farmer’s property. Here we hiked up the side of the pasture hill carrying crates of little tree saplings, fertilizer, shovels and machetes. Once we got to the area that needed to be reforested, the land owner explained how to plant the trees - and we started planting!
In total we planted about 80 trees in his property that will help bring a healthy ecosystem back to his pasture. The trees will also provide shade and protect the river that runs through the property.
After spending the day working in the blazing hot Costa Rican sun, we decided to go on a hike to discover a local hidden gem - a waterfall. The hike was about 3 miles down through the rainforest but well worth it! At the bottom of the hike there are two HUGE waterfalls with ice cold water ready to be jumped into.
These are the types of travel experiences that have the most meaning to me. The days where I have the opportunity to explore a new place, discover waterfalls, and plant trees to help the local community. Travel can bring people together to share experiences and adventures but it can also allow people to work together in volunteer projects that can make a difference in the places we visit.
This is how I like to travel, with a purpose & with meaning!
By Rachel Wilson