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"New Year, New You — What Is "Voluntourism" and How Does It Benefit You?

​To vacation is great. To vacation and make a difference, to come away a changed person with a broader perspective... that’s noble, indeed.

“Voluntourism” is a word and an idea that is a compound, a composite concept. As a voluntourist you can experience a new place and, in doing so, transform the place and yourself in the process. Typically, this is abroad, but you can also be a voluntourist in the great PNW and contribute to local culture and sustainability.

You could visit a rural community to learn about beekeeping and issues of sustainability. You could occupy a historic mountaintop fire lookout for a week, working to restore the structure and educating the visiting public about the history of the place. Or, you could work on a trail crew, maintaining forest paths for hikers.

When considering what to do with your new year, consider making the world a better place. You could think of this as a win-win-win: an uptick in inherent value for you, your chosen cause and the world at large.

Book these opportunities today and give yourself room to grow into your ideal self.

BEEKEEPING CLASSES

Snohomish Bee Co. is a small business, dedicated to all things apiary. For aspiring keepers of the bees, they offer a course to become a certified beekeeping apprentice. Learn how to use smoke, wear appropriate garb, and handle swarms without getting stung. And, oh yeah -- all that sweet honey.

Learn more about their course offerings and enroll here.


Learn beekeeping skills.

FIRE LOOKOUT RESTORER

North Mountain Lookout is a special place full of Northwest History. Perched on top of a small mountain just north of the lumber town of Darrington, is an old L4-style cabin. It was used by volunteers in days of yore to spot fires in the hills and mountains of the Cascades.

Today, you can sign up for a one-week shift wherein you man the lookout, doing minor repairs and educating the public who hike to the top of this low-elevation mountain.

Learn more about volunteering and sign up here.


Build a trail.

TRAIL CREW WORKER

The WTA, or Washington Trails Association, is dedicated to building and maintaining hiking trails throughout the state. They host work parties throughout the year, but particularly in the spring before hiking season takes off in earnest.

Learn about how to join a trail crew, and see all of the volunteer opportunities offered by the WTA here.

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Managing Editor
Richard Porter