If you’re thinking about volunteering abroad, but the thought of traveling solo has you thinking twice, consider this amazing fact: The United States alone may send 20 million volunteer travelers on projects worldwide by the year 2020. The UK, the EU, Australia, and Canada also are seeing millions of its citizens travel for volunteer opportunities.
Nearly all of these individual travelers are alone when they begin their journeys.
Want to know why they go? Each year, more and more people travel globally to work in developing countries, teaching English, renovating community centers and temples, planting gardens, and much more. These travelers see themselves as citizens of the world: it is their mission to improve the world, and by doing so, experience personal growth.
Want to know who they are? Twenty-five percent have some college experience, while 50 percent have bachelor’s or master’s degrees and higher. Nearly 70 percent are employed, and 10 percent are retired. A whopping 84 percent of volunteers list alleviating poverty and a desire for cultural immersion as their primary reasons for traveling abroad.
Want to know where they’re going? Here are the Top 10 international destinations for volunteers:
- Africa: 17%
- East Asia: 12%
- South America: 9%
- Mexico: 8%
- Western Europe: 8%
- Eastern Europe: 7%
- Central America: 6%
- Pacific Islands: 5%
- Australia: 4%
- Middle East: 3%
With age as well comes a reason to serve others. If you’re under 25, you’re in the discovery process. If you’re 25 to 50, you’re searching for a meaningful life outside of your daily routine of work and family. And if you’re over 50, you’re seeking to develop or maintain your life purpose, perhaps hoping to leave a legacy.
Or, perhaps you simply want to travel abroad. Only you know the reason why you’re interested in a volunteer vacation.