Last year, before I took the leap into starting my own business I had a hankering to do some solo travel and have always wanted to go to Africa, so settled on volunteering in Ghana, West Africa which would provide me with the solo travel experience but also afforded a little bit of structure and stability having a volunteering organisation behind me. The experience was fantastic and one that I would highly recommend to anyone who is thinking of helping out abroad. I have yet to meet someone who came back from volunteering who DIDN’T find it a worthwhile and enjoyable experience.
Many couples are now shying away from the typical lazing-on-a-beach honeymoon and vounteer-honeymoons are becoming increasingly popular for the couple that wants to ‘give something back’ as well as have an amazing holiday experience. I recently met with Aileen Cussen from Enterprise Ireland who not only volunteered instead of the typical honeymoon…but also decided to have the wedding there while she was at it! Herself and her (now husband) Ian weren’t into the whole big-Irish-wedding and when they decided to spend their honeymoon volunteering in a community development project in Uganda, they said why not integrate the wedding itself into the experience. And what an experience it was, from what Aileen told me the whole town turned out for their wedding and threw them the most amazing and unforgettable ceremony.
For their volunteering, Aileen taught in the local school and Ian helped with building projects and work in the community. They worked on putting some structure into the community and also provided them with some solar-powered battery chargers to use after they were gone.
But it wasn’t all work and no play – It was one of Ian’s dreams to see the mountain gorillas of Uganda and he had his wish when they went on a guided gorilla tour and got right up close and personal with the giants. They also had a week break in a resort hotel to give them a taste of the traditional honeymoon too!
Tell us about your honeymoon plans or what do you think about volunteering for your honeymoon??