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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.

Volume 5 Issue 1 Highlights



Tuesdays 10am ET/7am PT


David Clemmons, Publisher/Editor of The VolunTourist, responds to some of your questions and emails. (Additional questions and responses are posted on the VolunTourism.org Blog)

Volume 4, Issue 4 Reader Comments & Other Mail

Dear E-F,

Thank you for your email. I must admit this is not the type of email that I receive regularly; but it certainly falls into the UnXpected category. Your email has inspired me to deeply reflect on your thoughts and try to respond as accurately as possible.

I would agree with you that from one perspective you could look at the newsletter and feel that "from tone to style, it just wreaks of a novice desperately trying to impress." It is certainly a valid viewpoint, as it is your opinion.

What you might not be aware of, however, is that I take each newsletter as a great responsibility; the more so when I am trying to capture, in this case, what has happened over a twelve-month period and what is likely to happen over the next twelve months. I realize that this sense of responsibility could be perceived as you present it. And I honor your perspective. Fortunately, I can tell you that when each newsletter is completed, I push my chair back from my desk, express a silent thought of gratitude, take a deep breath, analyze whether I have done my best, and push the "send" button on my computer's keyboard.

There is a strange feeling that rises in the center of my chest when this series of activities is complete. It is a feeling of vulnerability, at least this is how I currently understand it. I don't know what more than 4,000 people in 137 countries will think, feel, or respond after that "send" button is pushed. It is a greater and greater risk with each passing newsletter. But it is a risk I have become more than willing to take.

If you are displeased with the effort and feel that you can contribute to improving The VolunTourist Newlsetter, by all means, please feel free to send along your thoughts. We can post them here in the UnXpected section of the website or in a blog post, etc.

Copyright © Soft Power Education, All Rights Reserved

After reading your email, I thought of a story from ancient India. A master was daily chastised and criticized by a man in a nearby village. His disciples anxiously looked at their master, completely dismayed that he would neither defend himself nor respond in any way other than to say, "Thank You," and smile.

One day, one of his disciples came to him wreathed in smiles and said, "Dear Master, I have wonderful news. Your critic is dead." The Master immediately began to weep. Confounded, the disciple asked, "Dear Master, why do you weep?" The master said, "Alas, my greatest spiritual teacher is dead."

With utmost sincerity then, I say "Thank You," and please continue to assist me and my team in putting out a better product by sending whatever critiques you feel will enhance and improve it.


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Copyright © The Abraham Path Initiative, All Rights Reserved

Dear C-P,

Thank you for your email. You may have tackled more than one book's worth of material here.

I have spoken before about the vulnerability of those who open the door for others to render service unto them. It has got to be one of the most difficult things in the world. So I am very keen on hearing more of your points on the "hero" being the resident who opens the door to the inflow of good will from a visiting voluntourist.

But this requires a great deal of effort in shifting perspective. And the truth may very well be locked up in the fact that many voluntourists may require several trips to begin to become aware of this realization.

Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote: "It is one of the most beautiful compensations of this life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself."

[Had Emerson known about the female majority in the world of voluntourism, he could have rephrased this. But, of course, grand thinkers like Emerson use "man" as an expression for "human" - thus, including women in the mix.]

You are definitely on to something that will require finesse, in the communication of the thought behind it, as it is difficult to "advertise" service with the uppermost thought that the giver is benefited in like, or, perhaps, greater fashion. Then, you will have to convey your message about the recipients. Obviously, you will have to balance your perspective as not everyone will look at the actions of residents as being akin to that of a hero.

Good Luck in your quest!

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Copyright © Voluntours, South Africa, All Rights Reserved

Dear Sebastian,

Thank you for your query and your interest in VolunTourism statistics and insider-information.

If you visit the Media page on VolunTourism.org, you will find the latest statistics that have been generated on the topic of voluntourism.

If you are interested in additional stats and information, I would suggest that you review the Research Forum hosted by Dr. Nancy McGehee from Virginia Tech University. In this section you will find statistical graphs and charts from researchers all of the world who have submitted papers on the topic of voluntourism and related subjects to Dr. McGehee. The statistics may be very specific in nature, but you may also find some that cover a broad spectrum as well. Or you may discover through reading some of the papers that some researchers have focused on a topic very similar to the one for which you are seeking information.

Hope this helps.

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Copyright © Karen Bolitho, All Rights Reserved

Dear P.G.,

Thanks for your email and for wanting to continue your subscription!

First, even before deciding on a destination, you will want to determine how much of the planning you wish to do on your own. Not everyone is ready to embrace the entire planning process. If it is your first time as a voluntourist, for example, I recommend that you travel with an operation that will handle all of your arrangements. Such entities can be found in the VolunTourism Trips section of VolunTourism.org, for example. This way, you will be able to concentrate on the experience and not be concerned about picking the next hotel or how to get from where you are to where you are supposed to be for your next stop.

If you have taken several voluntours, then you may be ready to organize the travel side of your activities and identify a service organization to handle the logistics of the voluntary service component of your trip. If so, I recommend checking with a website like Global Giving to review some of the projects that they currently fund in countries you have in mind for your destination. You may then reach out directly to these organizations through a web search and gather the contact information you need to begin the process of identifying a handful of groups for final review.

If you have a good social network - family, extended family, friends, business colleagues, etc. - take some time to share your intentions with them. You may come back with an additional set of options to review.

Hope this helps.

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