Travel makes the world a better place. When humans are exposed to other cultures and ways of living, we open up and grow as individuals. With the freedom of travel currently on pause because of the COVID crisis, there are other ways to connect with the global community and make the world a better place.
While staying isolated (or at least 6 feet away) can help us all locally, there are more ways that we can help globally, other than by donating money to a charity. With the current travel bans in place, here are a few ways global travellers, wanderers and sun-seekers can connect and give back on an international scale, all from the comfort of your own home.
1.Find an International Pen Pal
Remember grade school days when you wrote to a pen pal in another country? How fun it was to check the mail waiting to receive a letter back from a friend you had never met before. This is the perfect time to reach out and connect with someone globally, someone who may be going through a tough time being isolated and needs a pal.
Fast-forward to modern day, there are so many ways to find a new friend around the world with sites like PenPal World and International Pen Friends. There is even a student letter exchange for younger writers called, Students of the World. With all of these websites, you can decide if you prefer contact through email, video calls or snail mail, but I have to say there is something whimsical about getting a physical letter in the mail these days.
2.Write an Online Business Review
With time on our side, make a list of your favorite businesses that you’ve supported while traveling and give them a positive online review. These can be any kind of small businesses like souvenir shops and restaurants, to tour guides and concierge services. Enjoyed that Eiffel Tower tour guide in Paris or that delicious pasta making class in Tuscany? Write a review!
Take some time to write about these businesses on Yelp or Google or on tour operators sites such as, GetYourGuide or The Tour Guy. Businesses that are fueled by tourism will be among the businesses that are hit the hardest by the current travel restrictions. Your review will create positivity during an unclear time and support their business when travel restrictions are lifted.
3.Donate Your Time
If you have a valuable skill set that others can benefit from, why not donate your time to projects around the world that could use your help? Consider donating your time to support a global charity (via Skype or email) if you have the ability to do so. For example, if you’re an architect, consider drawing up plans for a far-off project or as a writer, consider drafting a newsletter about the charity of your choice to get more exposure. Whatever your skill set is, you get the idea!
Don’t know where to start? There are many ways to find an international charity to assist, or maybe you already have a non-profit in mind and can contact them directly. However, there are also sites like, The Taproot Foundation that helps to connect nonprofits with skilled volunteers that would like to share their expertise pro bono. You could contribute invaluable knowledge to a charitable project in a developing country without even leaving your home.
4.Shop & Share Global Artisans
Artisans around the world are another group of people that will be hit hard by the current travel restrictions. These are the people that make most of their living by selling their work to tourists, like beautiful baskets or handmade jewelry. Some of these small businesses also sell their goods online, where people around the world can either shop to support them or simply share their website with others that may be able to support them. If you can’t afford to shop at this time, you can simply share their website on any social media platform or by email to give them exposure to a new set of potential supporters.
5. Donate Supplies
Product donations are a great way to support those in need around the world. Whether you have extra supplies hanging around, you are crafty and can make certain supplies or if you simply want to purchase items to donate. Any and all donations are welcome to charities in need.
In the current state of affairs, many people are sewing facemasks to donate around the world. But nonprofits accept other types of supplies too – from pharmaceuticals and basic hygiene products to clothing and education supplies. World Vision is an example of an organization that helps facilitate product donations around the world. This is a simple way to support others without breaking the bank.