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The Voluntourist's Dilemma

The voluntourist dilemma

A couple months ago, Pippa Biddle reached out about writing a piece on the Go Overseas blog. She's a writer whose work focuses mostly on issues of voluntourism, sustainable development, and travel. What you're about to read today is Pippa's attempt to answer three tricky questions about the voluntourism trend:

  • Does voluntourism have the positive effect on communities that we expect it to have?
  • What's the role of money? And how is it helping (or not helping) economies abroad?
  • Why do we still feel compelled to volunteer abroad? When is it a good thing?

I understand that this isn't an easy topic to discuss, and voluntourism and international development at large isn't black and white. What works in one country may not in another. Some of these criticisms apply only sometimes. Regardless, I hope that it will spark a healthy, intelligent, and respectful conversation about voluntourism. I genuinely want to hear your feedback and comments on the piece.

So, without further delay, I invite you to sit down, grab a cup of coffee or tea, and listen to what she has to say.

Start Reading

Chapter 1

Travel for what cause exactly?
What's it Costs Communities Abroad

Chapter 2

What's the role of money?
The Economics of Volunteer Travel

Chapter 3

The Voluntourist:
Why We Do it Anyway

Pippa Biddle

Pippa Biddle is a writer whose work focuses mostly on issues of voluntourism, sustainable development, and travel. She has been featured in The New York Times, The Independent, and Forbes, and is featured in the 2015 documentary "Volunteers Unleashed" (available on Amazon and iTunes). Pippa is on the Board of Onwards, a 501(c)3 organization that fights poverty through transformative adventure experiences.