For many of us, 2016 was a doozy, but we here at Brit + Co are ready to hit refresh in 2017! Follow our Hit Refresh series through January for new ideas, hacks and skills that will help you achieve (and maintain!) those New Year’s resolutions.
Whether you’re looking for a fix for the winter blues or are already plotting out how to best use your PTO, planning a trip might be just the ticket. As if the feel-good vibes that come from thinking about your next great escape aren’t endorphin-inducing enough, we recently rediscovered a travel trend that has us feeling extra excited while chatting with Blake Mycoskie, the famous founder and chief shoe giver (70 million pairs donated and counting) of TOMS. Someone who loves to see the world while doing good, Blake broke down his top volunteer-travel (AKA voluntourism) spots for you to consider this year. Scroll on to be inspired by his five suggestions.
1. One Gun Ranch: Blake says, “This biodynamic farm in Malibu, where the primary goal is education, invites volunteers to help out in the garden and holds monthly classes on sustainable growing methods. Teaching people about food is so important. We don’t even know where so much of what we eat comes from.” Sounds like foodie bliss and a great opp for green-thumbs — or anyone who’d like to become one — to learn about sustainability.
2. Surfers Healing: Blake tells us that pro surfer Israel Paskowitz and his wife founded this organization for their autistic son, whose sensory overload issues were calmed by riding waves. “If you’re a good swimmer, you can volunteer,” Blake promises. Surfers Healing is based in San Juan Capistrano, CA, which makes it a breeze for the group to offer volunteer opportunities up and down the West Coast.
3. Jackson Hole Therapeutic Riding Association: This org pairs military veterans and disabled people of all ages with horses, totally changing their lives — and the volunteers’. Blake has witnessed it first-hand and couldn’t gush enough about the difference this amazing association makes. “When they get people in the saddle, amazing things happen with their minds,” he says.
4. Solid Ground: “A non-profit devoted to food justice and ending poverty, Solid Ground invites volunteers to jump right in at either of two community farms in South Seattle,” Blake explains. Volunteer opportunities range from planting seeds to harvesting and distributing vegetables. By getting your hands a little dirty, you can help get fresh crops from the farms onto well-deserving tables.
5. Maui Humane Society: The perfect fit for dog and cat lovers, “The organization’s Beach Buddies Visitor Program allows travelers to explore the island with one of the shelter’s dogs by their side. Equipped with a leash and a backpack full of gear, volunteers can take their dog for a hike in the hills, a jaunt through town or just spend a day on the sand,” Blake says. Um, amazing.
Have you taken a volunteer trip before? Tell us about all of the awesome work you did @BritandCo!
(Featured photo via Sunset)