As most of you probably know by now, we've decided to take a non-conventional summer vacation this summer. Melanie, Lucas, Sydney and I plan on spending July and August traveling, treking and taking in another country and culture. So how did this trip come about? Well, the truth is I was transitioning jobs and was thinking about taking some time off...you know, read some books, go to the gym and just generally enjoy some down time. Well, I had coffee with a friend and he wasn't much a fan of the plan. His 2 cents...if you're going to take time off, make it memorable, travel, get out of your comfort zone!
Well, I discussed the idea with Melanie, and she loved it...rather than send the kids to camp or take in another Bexley July 4th celebration, we'll spend this summer traveling as a family! Now that it was settled, we just had to decide where to go and what to do. Well, we knew we didn't want the experience to just be an extended vacation, with 5-star hotels and fancy dinners. Not only do we need to be a bit budget conscious, we wanted the experience to be both memorable and immersive for our kids so, instead, we settled on volunteer tourism where we'll have the opportunity to see another culture up close by living and interacting with locals and giving back.
We reviewed lots of volunteer groups and ultimately settled on IVHQ.
IVHQ has a great reputation, programs in lots of different countries and reasonable fees. We looked at lots of opportunities...Croatia, Tanzania, and all throughout South America...and as much as I wanted to go to Africa, we settled on Peru because of the diversity of volunteer opportunities, proximity to the U.S. (central time zone!), and language (Melanie majored in Spanish in college).
So...we're all signed up and ready to go. Keep an eye out here for more details as the trip comes together and watch for video blog posts from Lucas and Sydney documenting their experiences throughout the trip.