In Hebrew, it’s a mitzvah, in Spanish it’s buena acción, in Japanese it’s zenkō and in English Its pronounced good deed. No matter the language, no matter the country, the sentiment is the same. A good deed is a pure altruistic effort that shows ones selflessness and good will. What better way to show your good will then by taking a trip abroad. I know it sounds too good to be true right…well it isn’t.
I was recently introduced to an organization called United Planet that can make that vision a reality. United Planet, a Boston based nonprofit 501(c)3 accredited organization, is bringing relief to communities in need by sending their volunteers abroad. People are able to sign up to volunteer abroad in over 40 different countries. Their trips can be anywhere from (1) to (52) weeks….the choice is yours. What better way to use your vacation than to actually make a difference.
Here in the United States, for the most part, we are lucky. I know with all that is going on with our economy right now it may be hard to see. However, we still have schools for our children and, most of us have water when we turn on our faucet at home. We can walk into a hospital and receive medical care. Those are just some of the plights that United Planet is trying to help people in impoverished countries overcome.
Through their volunteers, United Planet provided over 600,000 hours of international community service work over the past decade. Their volunteers provided things like healthcare, education, construction, environmental conservation and more.
I recently learned of their group initiatives. United Planet is encouraging groups (students, friends, etc.) to travel abroad together. Instead of the same old vacation why not plan a group good will adventure through United Planet! Imagine you and your family or friends in an exotic local completely immersed in the culture. What better way to be completely aware of exactly what is happening in the world. It is hard for so many of us to imagine what life is like outside of “our own world”. I myself remember seeing pictures on the news after the Earthquake in Japan and couldn’t imagine that being my own reality. It is easy to distance yourself from what isn’t in front of you…like the saying “out of sight, out of mind”. Well why not become reacquainted with the world all while spending time with your own group of friends.
This past holiday season it seemed ugly sweater parties were the thing to do. Almost everyone had one or knew someone who had one. Maybe this year a new trend will emerge in good will vacations! Imagine the feeling you will have knowing that not only did you get to spend time abroad but you helped those in need by doing it. After all “Goodness is the only investment that never fails." - Henry David Thoreau.