Tag Archives: volunteer

Unconference for Social Good

Unconference for Social GoodI’ve just finished the third Unconference for Social Good. Holding events like this can be incredibly rewarding and incredibly scary at the same time. There is so much uncertainty about whether people will come, how the day will go and many other issues. It’s a lot like starting a business. While there are some general processes to follow, for the most part you just make it up as you go. Here are some of my insights after doing three of these events.

The Birth of the Unconference for Social Good

These events all started just by talking to as many people that would listen about putting on an event around social good. After discussions with about 20 people, two co-conspirators emerged to make the first event happen: Mike Simoens and Mike Bowerman.

We tried an open and collaborative approach for the first event, but that meant getting bogged down in meetings and trying to accommodate too many divergent ideas. In the end, three people did most of the work, so keeping a lean and small administrative team proved to be much more efficient for following events.

The Unconference format means that no expert speakers are required because the audience proposes …

What does it mean to be a Good Human?

If you are reading this blog post, I think it’s safe to say that you are from a wealthy country and are probably looking to find more meaning and fulfillment in life. Finding purpose and a way to contribute to the world has certainly become the predominant focus of my life. The problem is that I still don’t know what that really means.

What are we trying to maximize?

Imagine that life were a quest to be the best we could be. What would we be trying to maximize?

Despite our actions, I would say that we are not trying to maximize such factors as:

  • number of hours of television watched
  • hour spent behind a desk in a cubicle
  • number of Tweets or Facebook updates
  • how fat we can get
  • total trash produced
  • volume of fossil fuels consumed
  • the size of our house
  • the speed of our cars
  • the number of stamps in our passports
  • the number of marathons we run

Those kinds of metrics seem somewhat foolish to mention as ultimate goals of being a good human, yet those types of activities end up taking a massive amount of our attention. Why is that?

What are Good Factors to

Interview with RTW traveller and long-term expat Tal Gur

In this interview, Tal Gur of BelowZerotoHero.com shares some insights into how travelling around the world has made him a better person. He also talks about how he has managed to build a largely passive income to fund his adventures. After six years in Australia and a 3 year round-the-world trip, Tal has now decided to set up a homebase in the US with his wife.

Interview with Tal Gur

Tal Gur of BelowZerotoHero.com

Please tell us about yourself?

I am originally from a Israel, though I feel at home in many places.

In 1996, aged 21, I took a long motorcycle trip in Australia and immediately fell in love. Years later I went back to complete my Masters degree in Information Management Systems and adopted Australia as a second home.

In 2009, after six blissful years in Australia, I packed a small backpack and left on a 3+ years ‘Round-The-World trip. I’m now in the process of adopting the U.S. as my new and third home. 🙂

What are your main websites about?

I own quite a few websites but the two main ones are Below Zero to Hero and Passively Free.

The first one has been crafted in the purpose of …

A Week in Chiang Mai – Photo Diary

Here is a selection of photos to show a little about what our life is like in Thailand. We tend to get into a routine and do the same things on a regular basis. Our life is simple, but very enjoyable. There isn’t a day that goes by that we aren’t grateful for the opportunities we have. We live in amazing times.

Visa Run to Myanmar

Every digital nomad knows this story well. After two or three months you have to travel to another country to renew visas for another short stay. Fortunately, visa runs are well established in Thailand and there are tours specifically for getting a new stamp in your passport. A day trip to Myanmar from Chiang Mai costs less than $20 with lunch and some sight-seeing included. Now we are good for another two months in Thailand.

Myanmar border

Visa run to the Myanmar border.

Great Thai Food

One of our favourite restaurants in Chiang Mai is Imm Aim (formerly Pun Pun). We go there 4 or 5 times a week because the food and atmosphere are great. I love small family run restaurants and the open garden is so relaxing. Imm Aim is a must try for …

Interview with Long-Term Traveler and Blogger, Dave Dean

The best part of working on this site and doing so many interviews, by far, is the opportunity to meet and connect with people in person. I was fortunate enough to meet up with Dave Dean three times this year. His inspiring fundraising work with OneGirl is a perfect example of what all of us can do if we set our minds to making the world a better place. In this interview, Dave provides some details on his travel lifestyle and how he earns a living,  He also gives some great advice on making money with a travel blog and how to get freebies and sponsorships. Enjoy the interview!

Please tell us about yourself?

I was born and grew up in New Zealand, graduated with a History/Political Science degree and fell into working in IT. At the age of 22 I left for the UK, living and working there for three years while developing a travel addiction every chance I got. For several years after that I tried to juggle my career with regular travel stints, failing miserably to achieve the balance I desired. Finally, a little over a year ago, I ditched the cubicle for the final time in …

Interview with Travel Blogger, Author, Volunteer and SEO Consultant – Shannon O’Donnell

In this interview, Shannon O’Donnell, author of The Volunteer Traveler’s Handbook offers some great advice for those looking to do good on their journeys. Shannon funds her travels as a SEO consultant and more recently as a travel speaker. She also talks about her annual travel costs, homeschooling, SEO freelancing, and more in this monster interview. Enjoy!

Please tell us about yourself?

I am a rarity in the United States in that I am a native, born-and-raised Floridian—I grew up in St. Petersburg and lived there until I left for college, at which point I moved about two hours north to attend the University of Central Florida in Orlando. When I entered college I decided to pick a “useful” major rather than my passion, so my degree is in Advertising and Public Relations but I used my four-year scholarship to take advantage of all the acting, theatre, and foreign language classes I could also fit into my schedule.

After graduation, I immediately moved to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career, and it’s at that time that I began to learn about SEO and started consulting and writing on the internet. Those early years when I lived in LA, I …

Making a Difference in Bangkok – Interview with Dwight Turner

It’s easy for a new university graduate to go abroad and spend all their free time partying and socializing. That’s what I did when I first moved abroad. There is so much to see and do in a foreign country that it’s easy to get caught up in an exciting new lifestyle. Then there are people like Dwight Turner, who realize that they have the power to make a meaningful difference in the world. Dwight is the perfect example of what I call a JetSetCitizen. In Bangkok, Dwight ended up creating his own non-profit that helps refugees in Bangkok which he runs in his free-time. He dedicates countless hours of his time with no salary to providing food, housing and education for 13 families who would be other be subject to prison and other depravities in Thailand. We need more Dwight Turners in the world. I hope you get inspired to take action from this interview. It would be great to get some more donations to Dwight’s charity.

Dwight Turner Bangkok

How did you end up in Bangkok?

Basically, I studied intercultural communication at the State University of Sacramento. I really loved it and had great professors. One of them, an associate …

33 Months of Location Independence – A Personal Update

Next February will mark three years since we sold our business and left Japan. It seems like such a long time since we first made the one year plan to change countries and careers back in 2009. Here is an update on what is happening in our lives and some of the lessons learned over the past few years.

Location Independent 33 Months

Travel Plans

Today, we’ll be headed back to Asia for the winter. We will spend most of our time in Chiang Mai again, but also have some shorter trips planned to Singapore, Malaysia, Laos and possibly some other nearby countries. This will probably be our last trip to Asia for a while, as we haven’t been to Europe for a couple of years and we still haven’t made it South of Mexico.

New JetSetCitizen.com Website

This website has finally gotten a redesign. You’ll notice (I hope) that the site is simplified to make it easier to navigate and find past content. It is not 100% finished yet, but I wanted to get it up before I leave. I’ve lost the count of the Twitter shares, but everything else seems to have went well in the migration.

I’ve been blogging for four …

What Are You Fighting For?

So many of us go through life without really considering what will give us a sense of fulfillment and accomplishment. We have been conditioned to go to school, get a good job, buy a big house and lots of material possessions. All we have to do is work for 40 plus years until retirement to finally enjoy life.

What if that is not enough? Do your possessions make you happy? Or, do they just take away your time and money from what is important? Personal satisfaction and life fulfillment are not found at the shopping mall or on TV.

In a previous post, I outlined some of the key characteristics of an excellent life. I believe a big part of finding more meaning and fulfillment in our lives comes from contribution. This animation presents a simple question to ask yourself to ensure you are doing what is most important to you. I hope you enjoy it.

If you enjoyed the video, I would love for you to share it on your own blog or through the social media icons on the left.

Travel AND Make a Difference in the World: The Muskoka Foundation

A travel focused lifestyle can be incredibly rewarding and life-changing. It is great to experience exotic cultures, unwind on tropical beaches and party in funky bars and clubs. However, something more is needed. Even paradise can get boring if you are not working on something meaningful and challenging. Wouldn’t it be great to travel the world and make a real contribution to the communities you visit? The Muskoka Foundation was created to offer those volunteer opportunities. This guest post is a short introduction to their organization.

DO GOOD Muskoka Foundation

The Muskoka Foundation

The Muskoka Foundation is a non-profit foundation based in the USA. Their vision is to have a world where ethical and responsible traveling is a standard part of every traveler’s itinerary, with the hope that it will create a fleet of intentional explorers that leave a wake of positive change.

The foundation was founded by Jay Shapiro and Alice Gugelev, who are overlanding-enthusiasts. When they were living in South East Asia they were unable to find volunteering opportunities suited to overlanders that wouldn’t cost any volunteering fee. Right there and then was the birth of the vision and the foundation.

The Muskoka Foundation

The name “Muskoka” itself is the name of a region in …