Have you ever wondered what life is like anywhere else but where you are? You’ve lived in the same house and grown up with the same people all your life. Days all look the same and nothing seems new…or exciting. You are looking forward to college just to get Out of Here. Good thing this planet has so many pockets of adventure and places of unforgettable potential. Where will you start and how will you get there? Here are some ideas for your next life trek with the added awesomeness of helping others:
1. Costa Rica
Costa Rica may seem like a far-off jungle of adventure, but it really is (and feels) as close as your backyard. A rich landscape of rain forests, coffee and banana plantations, butterfly fields, waterfalls, and bet-you-never-thought-you’d-do-this opportunities, it is the perfect spot to get involved with friendly locals who love where they live and who they are and need your help.
Did you ever daydream in history class and wonder how roads were made or who laid the stones of the first paths to wind through mountains and uncharted territory? What if you could still walk them today to find at the end one of the oldest surviving examples of an ancient way of life? Score some points for your next history project! Get your pack on and walk the road of the Incas, a trip that will take you back in time and make you marvel at the ability of people to survive anything, anywhere, while helping a local village plant a garden that will feed them for a lifetime, just like the old days.
You can hear the rumbling footsteps of one of nature’s most loveable animals in the distance. You may even feel a little like young Indiana Jones sitting in an open-air Jeep stalking packs of elephants and antelope, looking for hidden mud puddles of bathing hippos and undiscovered secrets your friends back at home won’t believe. You couldn’t be farther from the four walls of your room and all your unfinished homework, and Africa will live on with you in every tale you tell and paper you write long after the adventure is over. The real A+ will come from the locals whose school you helped build.
It’s hot. And humid. Even the air here smells different. Some call it the “Island of the Gods.” Rising before you are the greenest mountain peaks you have ever seen. Go ahead. Climb them. That ocean will make you want to invent a word to describe it. You can dive its turquoise waters or surf its southern tip to find out for yourself what makes this tropical paradise and its people so unforgettable. But before you head home, you will be welcomed by the local people whose classrooms you helped construct and see Bali friends and family as only an insider can.
Whether you are walking the Beijing streets riddled with artisans’ stands selling things you’ve never even seen before, or taking a ride down a winding country road that leads to the village where you can help children learn; whether you yourself are the student and are learning the fine art of Chinese cooking or calligraphy; you take will home with you more than you would have gotten out of your social studies video during 4th period. It’s a lifetime packed into one never-to-be-forgotten trip.