Picking a Green Hotel and More Eco-Travel Tips

Eco travel has always been in my blood.

I grew up in the woods of New Hampshire and have always had a love for nature, animals, and adventure. From a very young age I had the joy of experiencing some of North America's most special and beautiful places.

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About The Author

The Green Divas's picture

The Green Divas share low-stress ways to live a deeper shade of green through a weekly radio show, podcasts, videos and blog posts. Working with talented partners and credible sources, the Green Divas produce content on a variety of topics relating to a healthy green lifestyle. Visit The Green Divas website to learn more, and check out The Green Divas on FacebookGoogle+, and Twitter too!

#BarbieSavior is Funny, But Perhaps Damaging Too

#BarbieSavior and Privilege

Look, I get it. I think the whole #BarbieSavior meme that has taken Instagram by storm is pretty hilarious–pretty dolls posed in the worst possible ways mocking “savior” voluntourism situations, clearly motivated by the plastic needs of the plastic character to assuage her own guilt and show the world how fabulous she is. (The photo in this blog, BTW, is NOT from BarbieSavior…it’s just Barbie)

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About The Author

Andrew Mersmann's picture

Andrew is the author of Frommer's global guide to volunteer vacations, "500 Places Where You Can Make a Difference" (Gold Medal Winner from Society of American Travel Writers: Best Guide Book 2010). He spent more than a decade on the editorial team of PASSPORT Magazine. He has volunteered and led teams on service projects around the world, and is honored to be on the boards of directors for the Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation (AARBF.org) and Mentor Artists Playwrights Project (mentorartists.org). Mersmann has been a featured speaker, interview guest, or moderator on several travel talks, from the New York Times Travel Show, Smithsonian Associates, and the 92nd Street Y-TriBeCa to Oprah and Friends, Animal House, and The Focus Group on satellite radio as well as on NY1 television. Past participant at the Clinton Global Initiative and judge for Condé Nast World Changers Conference, he blogs about volunteering and service travel at www.ChangeByDoing.com. As part of the evox television team, he is dedicated to audience engagement, so if you're not engaged, he needs to be thumped on the head (gently)...or at least told (nicely). Twitter: /ChangeByDoing

Mother-Daughter Bonding, and Rampaging Animals, in Kenya

I thought bringing my mother to Kenya would help us grow our relationship and friendship, and improve our mother-daughter bonding. I was right, but it was in a way I didn’t really plan… because really, life is never how you plan.

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About The Author

Nora Livingstone's picture

Nora Livingstone is the Co-Founder and CEO of Animal Experience International, a B Corp that matches animal lovers with beneficial and adventurous volunteer experiences around the world. She has volunteered with animals in more than 25 countries, including Croatia, Mongolia, Sierra Leone, and Guatemala. Nora holds a double major from Trent University in Environmental Studies and Cultural Anthropology and holds internationally recognized certifications for guiding, leadership, crisis intervention, and deployment during natural disasters. She carries a tiny plastic horse and stuffed mouse with her every time she travels.
http://www.animalexperienceinternational.com/
https://twitter.com/animal_intl
http://instagram.com/animalinternational/
https://www.facebook.com/animalexperienceinternational
 

Changers Profile: Dominique Callimanopulos, Elevate Destinations

This is another interview with somebody who has taken on making a huge change in the world while also creating a path for us to do the same. I met Dominique Callimanopulos in a simple desk-side meeting at my office where she had come to tell me a bit about her company, Elevate Destinations.

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About The Author

Andrew Mersmann's picture

Andrew is the author of Frommer's global guide to volunteer vacations, "500 Places Where You Can Make a Difference" (Gold Medal Winner from Society of American Travel Writers: Best Guide Book 2010). He spent more than a decade on the editorial team of PASSPORT Magazine. He has volunteered and led teams on service projects around the world, and is honored to be on the boards of directors for the Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation (AARBF.org) and Mentor Artists Playwrights Project (mentorartists.org). Mersmann has been a featured speaker, interview guest, or moderator on several travel talks, from the New York Times Travel Show, Smithsonian Associates, and the 92nd Street Y-TriBeCa to Oprah and Friends, Animal House, and The Focus Group on satellite radio as well as on NY1 television. Past participant at the Clinton Global Initiative and judge for Condé Nast World Changers Conference, he blogs about volunteering and service travel at www.ChangeByDoing.com. As part of the evox television team, he is dedicated to audience engagement, so if you're not engaged, he needs to be thumped on the head (gently)...or at least told (nicely). Twitter: /ChangeByDoing

Volunteer Opportunities - Youth Photography Projects

We’ve had a friend visiting this week, so of course we’ve snapped some iPhone shots of the dogs and a few landscape views. That’s about as deep as I get into photography much of the time, using it as shorthand to great memories, but I have always loved and respected those who use the medium as art, and cut to a deeper level of understanding, exploration, and enlightenment via images. There are some outstanding programs that put the potentially powerful and earth-shifting tool of a camera into the hands of under-served youth, helping with expression and discovering identity, community, etc.

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About The Author

Andrew Mersmann's picture

Andrew is the author of Frommer's global guide to volunteer vacations, "500 Places Where You Can Make a Difference" (Gold Medal Winner from Society of American Travel Writers: Best Guide Book 2010). He spent more than a decade on the editorial team of PASSPORT Magazine. He has volunteered and led teams on service projects around the world, and is honored to be on the boards of directors for the Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation (AARBF.org) and Mentor Artists Playwrights Project (mentorartists.org). Mersmann has been a featured speaker, interview guest, or moderator on several travel talks, from the New York Times Travel Show, Smithsonian Associates, and the 92nd Street Y-TriBeCa to Oprah and Friends, Animal House, and The Focus Group on satellite radio as well as on NY1 television. Past participant at the Clinton Global Initiative and judge for Condé Nast World Changers Conference, he blogs about volunteering and service travel at www.ChangeByDoing.com. As part of the evox television team, he is dedicated to audience engagement, so if you're not engaged, he needs to be thumped on the head (gently)...or at least told (nicely). Twitter: /ChangeByDoing

Changers Profile: Alexander Souri, Relief Riders International

Changers Profiles are interviews with  “Agents of Change,” folks who have done or are doing astounding work making a difference in lives or sometimes providing the structure and opportunity for us to make a difference. I hope you’ll find them as inspiring as I do.

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About The Author

Andrew Mersmann's picture

Andrew is the author of Frommer's global guide to volunteer vacations, "500 Places Where You Can Make a Difference" (Gold Medal Winner from Society of American Travel Writers: Best Guide Book 2010). He spent more than a decade on the editorial team of PASSPORT Magazine. He has volunteered and led teams on service projects around the world, and is honored to be on the boards of directors for the Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation (AARBF.org) and Mentor Artists Playwrights Project (mentorartists.org). Mersmann has been a featured speaker, interview guest, or moderator on several travel talks, from the New York Times Travel Show, Smithsonian Associates, and the 92nd Street Y-TriBeCa to Oprah and Friends, Animal House, and The Focus Group on satellite radio as well as on NY1 television. Past participant at the Clinton Global Initiative and judge for Condé Nast World Changers Conference, he blogs about volunteering and service travel at www.ChangeByDoing.com. As part of the evox television team, he is dedicated to audience engagement, so if you're not engaged, he needs to be thumped on the head (gently)...or at least told (nicely). Twitter: /ChangeByDoing

Taking a Stand for Thai Elephants

After a couple days of exploring Chiang Mai, Thailand, Danielle and I were whisked away on our volunteer experience to the Elephant Nature Park (http://www.elephantnaturepark.org/) for six nights and seven days. The park is approximately one hour outside of Chiang Mai and is home to elephants who have been victims of the brutal tourism industry and circuses. The park is a sanctuary for dozens of distressed and rescued elephants from all over Thailand.

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About The Author

Jade Budden's picture

Jade Budden is a University of Oregon graduate with a degree in international studies and political science. After graduation, she moved to San Francisco to explore new opportunities (including time working with evox!) and reveling in the post-grad life, which by the way, makes me wish I were still in college. In the past, Jade worked with an organization in London that helped smaller political parties in developing nations find a voice, organize, and act. Her passion is in working toward social justice and environmental preservation. 

 

Earth Day Volunteering - Sierra Club Outings

If you’re looking for a way to honor the planet and all the things living on it for Earth Day (April 22, though, doncha kinda feel like every day is Earth Day?), the Sierra Club has a whole slew of volunteer outings and responsible travel options for you to explore.

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About The Author

Andrew Mersmann's picture

Andrew is the author of Frommer's global guide to volunteer vacations, "500 Places Where You Can Make a Difference" (Gold Medal Winner from Society of American Travel Writers: Best Guide Book 2010). He spent more than a decade on the editorial team of PASSPORT Magazine. He has volunteered and led teams on service projects around the world, and is honored to be on the boards of directors for the Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation (AARBF.org) and Mentor Artists Playwrights Project (mentorartists.org). Mersmann has been a featured speaker, interview guest, or moderator on several travel talks, from the New York Times Travel Show, Smithsonian Associates, and the 92nd Street Y-TriBeCa to Oprah and Friends, Animal House, and The Focus Group on satellite radio as well as on NY1 television. Past participant at the Clinton Global Initiative and judge for Condé Nast World Changers Conference, he blogs about volunteering and service travel at www.ChangeByDoing.com. As part of the evox television team, he is dedicated to audience engagement, so if you're not engaged, he needs to be thumped on the head (gently)...or at least told (nicely). Twitter: /ChangeByDoing

Voluntourism in Nepal - Making a Difference in the Sex Trafficking Industry

Hi all! This is the first of a small blog series by Danielle, my travel partner, and me, Jade. We’re on our way to Nepal as you read this! Nepal is our first stop on our open ended SouthEast Asia Voluntourism trip. We’ll be working with some wonderful organizations pursuing our passions and doing as much good as we can along they way. Follow us!

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About The Author

Jade Budden's picture

Jade Budden is a University of Oregon graduate with a degree in international studies and political science. After graduation, she moved to San Francisco to explore new opportunities (including time working with evox!) and reveling in the post-grad life, which by the way, makes me wish I were still in college. In the past, Jade worked with an organization in London that helped smaller political parties in developing nations find a voice, organize, and act. Her passion is in working toward social justice and environmental preservation. 

 

Journeys Within Our Community - Impact Volunteering

Village communities in Southeast Asia get nurturing help from within and with the assistance of international volunteers via short breaks (a week or so) or longer stints for service (month or more) from Journeys Within Our Community. By working at the local level and focusing on community-determined needs like clean water, education, health, shelter, and emergency relief, JWOC starts projects small that then grow with outside support, gaining momentum and changing lives.

Tags: 

About The Author

Andrew Mersmann's picture

Andrew is the author of Frommer's global guide to volunteer vacations, "500 Places Where You Can Make a Difference" (Gold Medal Winner from Society of American Travel Writers: Best Guide Book 2010). He spent more than a decade on the editorial team of PASSPORT Magazine. He has volunteered and led teams on service projects around the world, and is honored to be on the boards of directors for the Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation (AARBF.org) and Mentor Artists Playwrights Project (mentorartists.org). Mersmann has been a featured speaker, interview guest, or moderator on several travel talks, from the New York Times Travel Show, Smithsonian Associates, and the 92nd Street Y-TriBeCa to Oprah and Friends, Animal House, and The Focus Group on satellite radio as well as on NY1 television. Past participant at the Clinton Global Initiative and judge for Condé Nast World Changers Conference, he blogs about volunteering and service travel at www.ChangeByDoing.com. As part of the evox television team, he is dedicated to audience engagement, so if you're not engaged, he needs to be thumped on the head (gently)...or at least told (nicely). Twitter: /ChangeByDoing

Subscribe to RSS - voluntourism
Woman on bike with basket wearing hat.
11/02/2016
Eco travel has always been in my blood. I grew up in the woods of New Hampshire and have always had a love for nature, animals, and adventure. From a very young age I had the joy of... read more
Barbie doll in the garden wearing pink sweatshirt.
09/21/2016
#BarbieSavior and Privilege Look, I get it. I think the whole #BarbieSavior meme that has taken Instagram by storm is pretty hilarious–pretty dolls posed in the worst possible ways mocking “savior... read more
Three Cape Buffalo in brown grass
08/10/2016
I thought bringing my mother to Kenya would help us grow our relationship and friendship, and improve our mother-daughter bonding. I was right, but it was in a way I didn’t really plan… because... read more
Dominique Callimanopulos and elephants
07/22/2015
This is another interview with somebody who has taken on making a huge change in the world while also creating a path for us to do the same. I met Dominique Callimanopulos in a simple desk-side... read more
closeup camera lens
07/08/2015
We’ve had a friend visiting this week, so of course we’ve snapped some iPhone shots of the dogs and a few landscape views. That’s about as deep as I get into photography much of the time, using it as... read more
Relief Riders International
07/01/2015
Changers Profiles are interviews with  “Agents of Change,” folks who have done or are doing astounding work making a difference in lives or sometimes providing the structure and opportunity... read more
elephants in Thai sanctuary
06/24/2015
After a couple days of exploring Chiang Mai, Thailand, Danielle and I were whisked away on our volunteer experience to the Elephant Nature Park (http://www.elephantnaturepark.org/) for six... read more
man on wall enjoying long view of city below
04/19/2015
If you’re looking for a way to honor the planet and all the things living on it for Earth Day (April 22, though, doncha kinda feel like every day is Earth Day?), the Sierra Club has a whole... read more
Bhaktapur, Nepal in the evening at dusk
03/31/2015
Hi all! This is the first of a small blog series by Danielle, my travel partner, and me, Jade. We’re on our way to Nepal as you read this! Nepal is our first stop on our open ended... read more

Pages

Woman on bike with basket wearing hat.
11/02/2016
Eco travel has always been in my blood. I grew up in the woods of New Hampshire and have always had a love for nature, animals, and adventure. From a very young age I had the joy of... read more
Barbie doll in the garden wearing pink sweatshirt.
09/21/2016
#BarbieSavior and Privilege Look, I get it. I think the whole #BarbieSavior meme that has taken Instagram by storm is pretty hilarious–pretty dolls posed in the worst possible ways mocking “savior... read more
Three Cape Buffalo in brown grass
08/10/2016
I thought bringing my mother to Kenya would help us grow our relationship and friendship, and improve our mother-daughter bonding. I was right, but it was in a way I didn’t really plan… because... read more
Dominique Callimanopulos and elephants
07/22/2015
This is another interview with somebody who has taken on making a huge change in the world while also creating a path for us to do the same. I met Dominique Callimanopulos in a simple desk-side... read more
closeup camera lens
07/08/2015
We’ve had a friend visiting this week, so of course we’ve snapped some iPhone shots of the dogs and a few landscape views. That’s about as deep as I get into photography much of the time, using it as... read more
Relief Riders International
07/01/2015
Changers Profiles are interviews with  “Agents of Change,” folks who have done or are doing astounding work making a difference in lives or sometimes providing the structure and opportunity... read more
elephants in Thai sanctuary
06/24/2015
After a couple days of exploring Chiang Mai, Thailand, Danielle and I were whisked away on our volunteer experience to the Elephant Nature Park (http://www.elephantnaturepark.org/) for six... read more
man on wall enjoying long view of city below
04/19/2015
If you’re looking for a way to honor the planet and all the things living on it for Earth Day (April 22, though, doncha kinda feel like every day is Earth Day?), the Sierra Club has a whole... read more
Bhaktapur, Nepal in the evening at dusk
03/31/2015
Hi all! This is the first of a small blog series by Danielle, my travel partner, and me, Jade. We’re on our way to Nepal as you read this! Nepal is our first stop on our open ended... read more

Pages