Category Archives: Volunteering

Be the Change

So you are trying to be the next Mother Teresa? 

My mom casually asked me in the car yesterday, I thought for a moment.  We were talking about Ecuador and the place I am going to visit after that where I plan on feeding the homeless.

Yep.  I stated. 

Not Mother Teresa, but I damn sure can try
Not Mother Teresa, but I damn sure can try

Truth is  I am no saint, I get frustrated and patience is not one of my virtues but I do love helping people.  I will never be Mother Teresa, but it is important to have goals. 🙂

I think that was one of the things that originally I loved about my job, I was helping those who were really hurt get back to their lives.

Quickly I learned that my job is not really one filled with service to others but greed and lots of it.  Greed is a deadly sin for a reason. 

I constantly knock my job, I hate it.  This is not a secret, and while I will not disclose where I work, I have no issues bashing the greed that is very prevalent in my industry.   I deal with it on all levels, every single day.  It is disgusting. 

It is sickening, it is debilitating and it damn sure has affected who I have become.  I am hateful, I trust no one, and I let the negativity I am surrounded from 8-5 Monday- Friday affect who I am when I am not at work.

I am done with that.thanks to a sandwich 

Let me explain, two weeks ago my mother signed me up to volunteer with her job to go feed the homeless.

At first, I was pissed that I was giving my Sunday away to go help others.

I contemplated backing out.  I may have even been pissy.

I really was agitated that I was going to have to take two hours of MY DAY to help others.

I am not proud of these thoughts, but sadly these thoughts were true. 

When we arrived at the Salvation Army we were met by the coordinator, and instantly I felt drawn to her.

She was happy, she was upbeat and she was so happy to be there.

We need you to make sandwiches, come with me.”  She waved her hand to follow her and she practically skipped to the sandwich area.  I started making sandwiches, that consisted of two slices of bread, one slice of meat and a package of mustard.  These sandwiches were going to be lunches, for those that have a job to get back on their feet.  The sandwich making was so routine that I found myself thinking about the simple sandwich & the coordinator.

“Why is she so happy, she really can’t make that much doing this?”

“I don’t work with anyone like her, she is perky”

“is this really all someone gets to eat?”

“What the hell is wrong with you Jen, why are you such a bitch?”

Then it was like a light bulb went off.  The coordinator’s life has true purpose.  She comes to this shelter and helps those in need.  She helps those that really need help.  She is what I originally set out in life to be, but have fallen off that course.

She is an example of what I should be. 

“Be the change you want to see in the world.”  

Now there is a lot of debate on this quote, but I am not here to debate that.  I am here to say that I need to live by it. 

I am not naive, I can’t change the world.  There are too many bad things that happen that I can’t change everything but I can damn sure change the way I behave, I can change my attitude.

and yes, eventually I can change my job and I will, when the time is right. 

Since I volunteered I have been back to the shelter once, I plan on continuing my volunteer work there every Sunday.  I am also volunteering from 2am-6am Christmas morning to help with a huge Dallas homeless project at the Omni.

Change doesn’t happen over night, I have found myself very agitated with people at work and the guy that cut me off on the freeway the other day, but every day I can focus on the positive and eventually it will be second nature again.

and to think this is all because of two hours spent making sandwiches.  Funny how that works. 

Have you had any life changing moments?  Comment below.

 

Volunteering on a Coffee Farm

I loved Guatemala.  This is not a secret.  In fact I am strongly considering going back next year.

Given I spent time on the coffee farm, I know there are people considering trying this project out so I wanted to share with you the truth (the whole truth) about volunteering with As Green as It Gets.

 

First know the views are breathtaking

Daily Views 8

So beautiful it can make you forget your are “working”

The work is hard, you will get dirty, and you need to have more than a “basic” fitness level

Hard working
Hard working
You will get dirty
You will get dirty
The walk up is HARD
The walk up is HARD

I want to blame the “altitude” as to why I was breathless on the hikes up the volcano, but the reality is I was out of shape. It was a very hard hike up for me. So if you go, exercise. I am not kidding. If you are an office junkie like me who sees the gym once a month, you will STRUGGLE.

This was the day we picked the coffee cherries it was hard but satisfying work.  I promise if you go and experience this, you will never regret it.

Just understand you will get dirty, you will have some serious exercise, and you will have breathtaking vies.

The hard work is worth it, especially to see the Farmers smile. 

Travel Thursday

There are a few things I am addicted to

1. Sweetarts

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2. Sea Turtles

Photo Credit: National Georgraphic
Photo Credit: National Georgraphic

3. Traveling

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So when I was trying to come up with ideas on what I can write about when i am not traveling it dawned on me that I should share my favorite travel related articles with you 🙂

Everyday I am looking for trip ideas, things I want to do, ways to make “extra” money to do what I want…. just anything travel related or to fund my travel obsession.

So today I figured I would share some of my favorite recent articles I stumbled across while surfing the internet for travel related articles

You might be a Travel addict if…

21 Signs You Are a Travel Addict by Katie Sorene

I read this article and found myself nodding away with each reason, I may not have a ton of passport stamps, but I know where she is coming from. I completely related to #s 1,4,6,7,10,11,12… You get my point

Before I turn 40….

40 Before 40

I am a list maker, lately I have had an obsession with 40 things to do before I turn 40 list… I am working on this list and I hope to debut my list soon, but I have been obsessed with what other people have said on theirs… this list was a fascinating one and needless to say forced me to add a few things onto my bucket list 🙂

Where I Should Have Gone…

52 places to Go in 2014

I read this when it came out earlier this year, but I stumbled across it when I was googling eco-travel in Ecuador. Also I am amazed to see Ethiopia on a must do list. Mostly because I remember seeing pictures of starving children when I was a child. While this country has a long way to go, it is nice to see Ethiopia on a list, plus African beaches are just beautiful…

If you want a last minute summer travel deal…

6 Places to Find End of Summer Travel Deals

In my office there are two reasons people come to me, they want advice on Disney or they want to know how to find last minute travel deals, we get a lot of PTO at my job and I am constantly amazed at how many people in my office have 25 or MORE days they have to use up in the last quarter of the year. Seriously my PTO is spoken for before the year even starts…

Slash those costs never pay full price…

Slash those costs

I am a huge budget traveler, I love finding cheaper travel options. I make very few dollars, so I need to stretch those dollars as far as I can. Most of these tips I knew, but I still think it is great to be refreshed… for example when I was looking to book my air to NYC… I checked all three airports. LGA was the cheapest, people often look just at JFK. Which is often the most expensive… just something to think about 🙂 Plus there is a reason why I say my favorite months to travel are Jan-March & Sept-Oct (also sorry I talk in airport code 🙂 )

Fundraising Volunteer Trips Abroad…

10 Ways to Fundraise

I am a huge advocate for volunteering abroad, it is way to get a glimpse into a culture that you don’t always see on the tourist trail. I won’t debate the “paying to volunteer” argument, because truly I see both sides, and I will say make sure you know where EVERY dollar you spend is going before you enter that credit card number… but some trips require $$$ and that may not be money you have. I am really hoping to volunteer with sea turtles soon, so I am always looking for ways to raise money. This article had some fantastic ideas.

This article gave me a great idea about hosting a Sri Lanka Dinner party, to raise money for a trip abroad to Sri Lanka. I just have to talk that over with “M” first. Sri Lanka has been on the very short list for quite some time, along with China and Peru. I also long to volunteer with sea turtles in Sri Lanka.

As this is typically the boring part of my year, this is when I spend more time reading, netflixing and just being plain bored so I can save for the following year’s trips. I am hoping to share more traveling tips with you in the coming weeks.  I will continue to share my favorite travel related articles with you, so if there is something you are interested in feel free to comment or email me!

Until Next Time,

XOXO

P.A.W. Cat Sanctuary & Humane Society

After time in Guatemala I started to research animal welfare in Latin America.  Wild dogs are all over the place in Antigua.  They are harmless for the most part but it made me wonder if it is a common problem.

Animals are not really considered members of the family.  When I was looking into organizations that I would love to volunteer I found P.A.W. Cat Sanctuary & Humane Society

I feel in love with the site, the mission and the animals.  So my next step was to look up reviews.  I did not find a single bad review.    I also have very high standards on locations to volunteer with.

I am a huge supporter of IVHQ.  I was planning on going to Costa Rica next year, but I am going to have to take a small break.  I looked up IVHQ’s Animal Programs and while I know they are fantastic, I am not quite ready to go back to Guatemala.

Plus if I go back to Guatemala I am going to the coffee farm.

Anyway, that experience was life altering, so I have been looking through places to volunteer for awhile now.

Last year I vowed to go back to Belize, and I decided that next year that is what I would do.

I emailed the Founder of the Sanctuary and received a very quick heart felt response.

We bonded over rescuing animals, I come from an animal loving family that rescued their pets.  I Madi Collins all about Midnight, Sable and Goldberg.

She told me about her recent rescues.  The sweet Lynn,

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Let me just say I am in love with this sweet face. She is about 3 months old, and needs a home. So if you know of anyone that may be interested in a rescue from Belize, tell them.

She also just rescued a tiny tortie named Melody, she said that she was just left inside the yard about 4 weeks ago.

It is clear that Madi Collins has a heart of gold, she cares for 80 animals and her mother.

So if you are looking for a new family member or maybe somewhere to volunteer consider this place. I know I am.

So I think I have found my destination next year everyone. I have stepped foot in Belize and the moment I got of the boat I knew I would be back.

I have found a true purpose of when to go back. I am not sure when next year, I am currently thinking I will stay at the Sanctuary in April.

If you are interested in joining me I say go for it. Belize is a beautiful country and I really believe this will be an amazing adventure.