How to have the best vacation ever in Peru, reflections on vacations by Peru Country Manager Daniel Salazar:
I just came back from an amazing trip I will never forget. See, I went on a cruise to the Bahamas for my honeymoon. Just a few hours after I arrived I had two things in my head. The first, ” how amazingly beautiful those beaches are, and how comfy I was on that cruise.” The second, much more odd, “is that it?” I mean, it was awesome, but I felt like it could have been better.
One of the first questions people asked me when I arrive was “did you make any new friends?” I felt bad because that had never crossed my mind. I was there to relax and be pampered. I got that, but now I realize that getting to know others, being nice to them, that might have made my trip even better.
I am not complaining. I am just reflecting. Many struggling people here ask me all the time “why do volunteers come here to help?” “They are nice and they like to help others, ” I explain. But now I get it. Visiting a foreign land is great, enjoying the food, getting to know the culture, all that is awesome. But if on top of that you can get to know the people who live there, if you can even help them or make their lives better; that is a greater vacation.
Perhaps that is not a vacation. Perhaps spending time and money to get to know others living in a different world, especially when theirs is much tougher, is not to rest. But perhaps changing the focus from making ourselves comfortable to helping someone far away is just as good for us as a vacation. Perhaps investing on people is even better. After all, the return on the investment is both for them and for us.
At Global Volunteers you get to meet and serve people living in tougher conditions who actually want and ask for your help. You get to be good friends with some of them. You also get to visit countries you might have never heard of, get to see indescribable landscapes that tourism agencies ignore, get to try the local food, and get to experience the culture, but I already mentioned the best part. The best vacation ever in Peru may not be just relaxing, but also serving.
Low-income students in Peru are right now asking for volunteers who can help them practice their English. Orphaned and abused children are asking for volunteers to hang out with them. And a community who has built itself from literally just dust and rock is asking for volunteers who can help them in their projects. I recommend cruising; it’s awesome.
I also recommend serving with Global Volunteer s in Peru; my guess is that you might like it better. And I know you it will do you much more good. As one volunteer once told me “Macchu Picchu and the tour on the Amazon is great, but this [helping build stairs at a shanty town in Peru], this is even better; I will never forget it.” That is the best advice on how to have the best vacation ever in Peru.