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Volume 2 Issue 4 - So You May Know

The VolunTourist™ is a premium Newsletter for the Travel Trade. For those interested in discovering what is happening in the world of VolunTourism and seeking emerging practices, general information, and case studies, this is your Source.

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FEATURE ARTICLE 1
FEATURE ARTICLE 2

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So You May Know
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So You May Know...

If you are wondering what fuels my interest and passion for VolunTourism, look no farther than how it feeds my body, mind, AND soul.

VolunTourism - The New "Soul Food"

Growing up, as a child of parents reared in the Southeastern United States, meant that my formative years were influenced by such delicacies as: boiled peanuts, skillet cornbread, collards, butter & snap beans, fried okra, hush puppies (not the shoes), cornmeal-battered catfish, and pecan pie and watermelon during their respective harvest seasons. In some cases, it was as much fun to prepare the food as it was to eat it – shelling beans and pecans, picking okra, and so on. Ma Ruby’s kitchen table was the pilgrimage spot of many a traveler from Southern Georgia & Alabama as well as the Florida panhandle in search of “soul food.”

At this stage in my life, however, “soul food” holds an entirely different connotation. It isn’t so much about what I put into my body and mind as it is about how I engage my body and mind in an effort to grant access to my soul. The focus on body-digestion and mind-infusion has given way to a focus on soul-inspiration. Therefore, the type of food that I seek is far more subtle than the cuisine prepared on the surface of a gas-burning stove - Sorry, Ma Ruby.

And so it is with many persons entering the phase in their lives where delicacy is reserved for those moments when the soul is truly fed. We know this sense of purpose-fulfillment. We don’t need an interpreter to translate; our intuition shares this secret recipe with us and beckons for a regular inclusion in the diet. It is, of course, difficult to find in the realm of “everyday-ness.” Its sublime nature is not easily captured by “taste buds” that have been overwhelmed by electronic gadgetry and our “gizmo-holic” tendencies. But this doesn’t mean we fail to crave it.

Yoga and meditation are fast becoming deliberate elements in our daily regimen to feed the body and mind in an effort to tap into, and nurture, the soul. In the United States alone, according to this release from Yoga Journal, more than 7% of the population practices yoga. For those who practice meditation, the statistical evidence indicates that benefits accrue for the body and mind in varied manners including reduced stress in the performance of work-related tasks. But not everyone is inclined to practice yoga or meditate. Are there other options available?

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VolunTourism is certainly an option for those seeking sumptuous repast. The very nature of these experiences supplants all desires for a gastronomic feast alone by courting the essence of our beings to dine as never before in the context of deep-seated personal feeling and appreciation for the culture and well-being of others. And when you begin to question what you thought was "truth," dinner has most assuredly been served.

Let's face it - We're Starving! Our souls are hungry and there are not many choices readily available in this world that offer direct compensation to our triune nature – body, mind, and soul – simultaneously. VolunTourism fulfills a nascent need - one long suppressed beneath a life characterized by the bombardment of body-mind stimuli.

The opportunity for all of us is to recognize that our technology and capacity as humans has reached a point whereby we can now craft experiences that generate the necessary food for all three bodies for which we have individually, and collectively, been assigned to care. VolunTourism does good for body, mind, and soul. Subtle, though the feeding process be, for the latter of these three, the hunger is momentarily surfeited and happiness reigns supreme. This is what we have been clamoring to discover; and a transformed consciousness, one that has really tasted soul food, is a prize worthy of returning home with us.

Fortunately, the waiting period has come to an end. Now it is simply time to eat!

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VolunTourism:
A seamlessly integrated combination of voluntary service to a destination and the best, traditional elements of travel—arts, culture, geography, and history—in that destination.

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