Traveling With a Purpose
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There's always a reward when you travel. Visiting another place allows us to bring home memories, knowledge and an expanded view of the world. The following vacation ideas however, expand on the idea of traveling with a purpose to include quantifiable achievements like volunteer work or obtaining skills and certifications. Snow globes and key fobs are great, but they can't compare to the following souvenirs.
Scuba Certification in the Bahamas
Brendal Stevens, the unofficial President for Life of the Bahamian Cays, has helped certify more than 5,000 Scuba divers during the last 25 years. A Platinum Pro Instructor, Stevens and his wife, Mary, bring groups of uncertified divers to their center on Green Turtle Cay, and over the span of a few days, transform them into Open Water Certified Scuba aficionados.
Upbeat, loving and endlessly patient, Stevens imparts all the technical and physical skills his students need to achieve certification, and can also train experienced divers in advanced skills like navigation, night diving, wreck diving and rescue. Stevens' "classroom" is the open ocean and enrollees learn in the company of whale sharks, dolphin, gentle groupers and even a school of wild stingrays Stevens has trained to eat from his hand.
It may not be as restful as the typical trip, but combining volunteering with a vacation is as meaningful as travel gets. Luckily, there are numerous services that help travelers combine their altruism and wanderlust. Websites like GoVolunteering and TransitionsAbroad contain info on how to do everything from working at a children's hospital in Costa Rica to conducting dolphin research in Slovenia or helping to build a national park in Seychelles. The sites even allow you to refine your search by geographical region, length of stay and the type of volunteer work that would mean the most to you.
It will strike most people as the Worst. Vacation. Ever. But those who get it, get it. A survival vacation is like a normal vacation, minus luxuries like food, clothing and shelter. The company DoCastAway specializes in organizing holidays on deserted islands around the world. They offer two modes of travel, Comfort Mode (Hello? Boring!), and Adventure Mode, which is where things pick up.
Adventure Mode travel seeks to simulate the conditions of a castaway experience. Participants forage for their own food and drink under the supervision of an experienced guide. The company's roster of locations includes some of the most remote archipelagos in the world, and their approach allows travelers to experience them in all their untouched glory.
Moroccan Writing Retreat
We're all writers here at TravelPulse, so we understand the frustration of having a great book lodged immovably in your subconscious. Luckily, we also know that traveling to a distant land can be a great way to get that literary masterpiece out of your head and onto the page.
Our dream destination for this purpose has to be the Stories from the Sands program, hosted by Linda Cracknell at the Cafe Tissardmine in the Moroccan Sahara. A 10-day adventure scheduled for February 12-21, 2016, this trip begins in the busy city of Marrakech, crosses the High Atlas Mountains and concludes with seven nights under the starry Sahara skies. Daily writing workshops are conducted to help nomadic novelists unlock the tales they're meant to tell.
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